In 2016 Datsun revived the brand in South Africa, the first product offering, the GO, was met with a mixed bag of reactions. Journalists questioned the lack of safety features and the public who needed an affordable car voted with their pockets. In 2018 there was a facelift, which saw additional features being added to the GO, primarily safety features. This update included driver and passenger airbags, structural improvements to the body and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment unit. And now we have the new transmission option, the GO CVT.
This round the key change is a CVT ‘automatic’ gearbox. The GO CVT is an expansion of the current line, research done by Datsun revealed that 15% of new cars in the entry-level market were purchased with two-pedals as opposed to three. What some may view as a niche option Datsun views as potential for market growth. And this makes sense. Most drivers at the wheel of an entry-level vehicle are first-car owners, downsizers or rentals, all of which could be more comfortable and confident behind the wheel without the worry of gears to shift.
What is a CVT gearbox?
Before we carry on, let’s clarify what CVT means in this whole equation. Datsun follows with the words ‘automatic’ after CVT as a token of how the gearbox works, it automatically changes gears. A CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) however is not the same as a traditional automatic gearbox; it essentially is a single gear that runs on a band of optimal power to rev output. This gear continually searches the band to remain in the sweet spot of revs, which can sometimes lead to CVT gearboxes being on the noisier end of the spectrum. So now that we have that covered let’s continue.
Datsun claims the CVT gearbox offers improved fuel economy, rapid and seamless acceleration, remains in the ‘right’ gear and is quiet. Fuel economy we can’t comment on as it’s a launch, the ‘right’ gear is a matter of opinion and quiet it’s not really. CVTs are noisier by nature, that said of the cars we’ve driven fitted with CVT gearboxes the Datsun GO CVT definitely is one of the quieter versions around.
Big improvements for the CVT version is power, getting 7 kW extra over the manual variant to bring total power availability to 57 kW. Before you scoff and ask ‘how much of a difference is an extra 7 kW?’, it’s enough to make the difference when you only started with 50 kW. Torque remains unchanged at 104 Nm, substantially more than the competitors in class. Engine is the same 1 198cc three-cylinder petrol as before.
Safety features + new technology
The GO range now has dual front airbags, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, and vehicle dynamic control which monitors wheel speed, steering wheel input and lateral acceleration to detect if anything is going awry and intervene if it can. You’re also getting reverse parking sensors, which helps in dark parking lots where the lights are at the mercy of Eskom and follow-me-home headlamps which stay on for a set time once you’ve locked the car when dark.
Technological upgrades for the interior include a seven-inch touch screen unit, with voice recognition, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
GO CVT first impressions
From launch impressions it’s safe to say things have improved on the GO, Datsun claim they’ve improved structural safety in the roof, side-collision protection and seat strength, however there are no figures or tests to back this up as of yet. The GO CVT does feel sturdier on the 14-inch alloy wheels, less flimsy behind the wheel than before and the CVT gives a responsive enough drive with a definite sweet spot on the throttle pedal of least gearbox noise to power delivery. There is no doubt the sales for the GO CVT are going to do incredibly well, besides the ease of the two-pedal drive there’s the added incentives of safety features and technological features. Did we mention that you get a year subsidised insurance on purchasing a new GO? Yes, please.
Datsun GO Pricing
|Datsun GO Lux CVT||R184 200|
|Datsun GO+ Lux CVT||R194 800|