Long-term test (Introduction): Datsun Go 1,2 Lux

A facelifted Datsun Go was recently added to the CAR garage and colleague Marius Boonzaier and I (we’re the youngest members of the CAR team) have been appointed its custodians. I was rather excited while waiting for the Datsun to arrive, not only because it’s my first long-termer, but also because my car isn’t the most economical. On a good day, my W140 Mercedes-Benz S320 consumes 16,0 L/100 km. 

The Datsun, on the other hand, is averaging 7,07 L/100 km, which makes a massive difference to someone used to the thirsty German. Still, with a claimed consumption of 5,20 L/100 km, we were hoping to achieve a better average figure. The consumption should improve, though, as the Go undertakes a few longer trips. 

Our model arrived sporting a few accessories, including a boot spoiler (R1 269), black door side mouldings (R438), chromed exhaust tip (R189), boot garnish (R492), roof rails that are purely aesthetic (R1 228) and 15-inch al loys (R5 978). While these trim bits certainly help the Datsun stand out from the hatchback crowd, they have pushed the price up to R175 894.

While the recently facelifted Go competes with ostensibly more established rivals that have been around for longer, it counters with solid standard specification: electric windows and mirrors, air-conditioning, central locking, two airbags, ABS (finally), rear parking sensors and the inclusion of a touchscreen with Apple Car- Play functionality. 

Being a small city car, the Datsun is great for zipping through busy traffic, its 1,2-litre three-cylinder thrumming away as you do so. This agility makes it a doddle to pilot in cramped car parks and side roads. Initially, the gearchange action felt notchy and reluctant at times but, as the miles have gone by, this has faded away and swapping cogs in the Go is now easier and smoother. The ride is pleasant and road irregularities don’t upset the car or its passengers excessively. Through corners, the Go exhibits some body roll, a trait common to a car of this class. 

Inside the well-specced cabin, space is acceptable. The only gripe is the lack of general storage options but the boot is more than up to the job of carrying a fortnight’s worth of groceries. 

So far, the Datsun has been a pleasant surprise, something on which both Marius and I agree. It will be interesting to see what the next five months hold for the little Japanese hatch. 

After 1 month
Current Mileage: 
1 893 km
Average fuel consumption:
7,07 L/100 km
We like: 
plenty of equipment; pleasant three-cylinder engine
We don’t like: 
fuel economy not as good as expected

 Long-term test (Update 1): Datsun Go 1,2 Lux
 

A strange smell, along with damp carpeting in the cabin of our long-term Datsun Go, prompted myself and fellow intern, Marius Boonzaier – with whom I share driving duties – to do some further investigating. After arranging for the Go to be inspected at Nissan Milnerton, the car was booked in with the friendly customer-service staff. The symptoms turned out to be the result of a leak caused by a faulty air-conditioning part. 

Aside from the trickle, a few other foibles plagued the Go and we asked the dealership to investigate. The most alarming of which was surface rust that emerged around the hinges soldered to the sides of the hatch. Fortunately, this is not the case with the attachments bolted to the tailgate. 

What’s more, when opening the hatch, the gas struts stiffen towards the end of their travel, requiring a considerable amount of force to extend the lid upwards so that even tall people can clear their heads to load and unload the luggage bay. 

Now, while this isn’t necessarily a hardship, rather worryingly, the soldered hinges appear to flex. We were concerned they would eventually tear free from the bodywork, hence asking Nissan Milnerton to assist. The service adviser assured us the above-mentioned problems are not normal and would be inspected by the workshop as soon
as possible. 

That very afternoon, I got a call from the dealership, assuring us the repairs would be carried out under warranty as soon as the warranty claim had been approved. Pleased with this news, I collected the Go. 

Weeks then went by without us receiving any confirmation on the warranty approval, despite contacting Nissan Milnerton repeatedly. Breaking with our tradition of anonymity when having long-termers serviced or repaired, editor Terence Steenkamp even emailed the service adviser, but did not receive a response. 

Going against standard practice, he asked Nissan/Datsun SA’s media relations manager to intervene. The dealership then swiftly made contact, requesting that we return the Go for repairs. While this mess was ultimately addressed, private vehicle owners do not have the luxury of requesting that a contact at a carmaker’s head office intervenes on their behalf to find a resolution. Next month, we’ll report back on the dealership’s service and the quality of its work. 

Despite the largely negative report this month, there is a crumb of comfort in the form of the improved fuel economy. While 6,43 L/100 km is still adrift of the Go’s claimed figure, it is much better than last month’s figure of 7,07 L/100 km. 

 After 2 months
Current Mileage: 
3 265 km
Average fuel consumption:
 6,43 L/100 km
We like: 
touchscreen usability
We don’t like: 
dealer experience; quality issues

 

 Long-term test (Update 2): Datsun Go 1,2 Lux

A road-trip in the Go was overdue. Thanks to its boxy shape, the boot swallowed two bags with ease. I punched the destination into my smartphone and used Apple CarPlay for the journey to McGregor.

I noticed something peculiar during the drive: the trip computer’s distance-to-empty figure increased. That suggests the Go is more frugal while cruising than during in-town commuting. We made it back to Cape Town after completing more kilometres than the Go initially said was available on the tank. The consumption dropped to a 6,27 L/100 km best. – Marius Boonzaier

 

After 3 months
Current Mileage: 
6 605 km
Average fuel consumption:
 6,27 L/100 km