AMT zone sizzles with new redi-GO

AMT zone sizzles with new redi-GO

The Datsun redi-GO is well-known as catering to the value segment as a multi-faceted automobile. The manufacturers, in a bid to offer the best for what money a car owner gives, have just come out with an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) version of the redi-GO, called the Datsun redi-GO Smart Drive Auto. The main intention surrounding the launch of this vehicle is clear from the company aiming to compete with other cars of the same segment. Without any major changes, Nissan - the parent company of Datsun - has carried the same legacy of the existing redi-GO in terms of its looks and features.

Concentrating only on offering the AMT, the makers have forgotten to even stick a badge outside the vehicle, which would have set the vehicle apart from an otherwise manual car. However, once inside, the major difference can be seen only with the gear lever which expresses the car to be the much-awaited automatic variant of the redi-GO.

No major changes

We had expected at least some modifications for the all-new AMT version of the Datsun redi-GO. Besides the new gear lever, we had expected some changes in the interiors, which included adding few controls in the steering wheel, reducing the plastic exposure, utilising the space in between the front seats, and at least an AC deck for the rear seat passengers. But, owing to the value nature of the car, it is understandable that there are no changes as expected.

There is no major change in the interiors, except that it is black, compared with the earlier grey. The same seating position, which gives a nice view of the road, and airiness in the rear seat with lots of leg space is same as the other redi-GO variants. Even on the exterior, there is no change, that can differentiate this car. As we have earlier mentioned, at least a badge bearing an 'AMT' sign, 'Smart Drive Auto' sticker or the like would have made a lot of sense. It's quite silly that even this basic feature has been omitted.

Improved music system
As we had mentioned in our earlier reviews of the redi-GO, the outdated audio system was a big letdown in the other variants of the car. The upgraded music system is now Bluetooth-enabled, which is good news for the buyer. The Multi-Information Display (MID) is up to the standards of automatic cars, and also has all the necessary features that this segment cars should have. The gear indication system works well for both automatic and manual mode. The fuel detection is also good, where it shows approximate travel distance with the existing fuel. Trip calculator and odometer is the common. And average mileage detection is another outstanding one in MID.

Auto drive

The driving part is where we have to look for any major difference in the all-new Datsun redi-GO AMT. It's the same traffic cutter hatchback, which is compact and deft in driving. The small radius steering-wheel holds good for tireless city driving. Even when we are taking a U-Turn, it seems tireless, with the job being accomplished with finger-touch, which shows the smoothness of the wheel. What welcome difference we felt was in the reduced engine noise. We were not sure if the low-decibel hum was from the brand-new car, or the makers have really worked on the notoriously loud engine noise that was known to fill the Redi-GO cabin. Compared with the other models, the AMT version is not that noisy.

The Datsun redi-GO Smart Drive Auto is powered by Intelligent Spark Automated Technology (iSAT), based on the car's 1.0L three-cylinder fuel-efficient engine.

However, the automatic transmission should have been fine-tuned, which would have made the car suitable for highway driving too. The slow response from the gear system will only suit city conditions, but for the wide expanse of a highway, it should have been made quicker.

Unlike its 'close relative', the Renault Kwid (with whom it shares the CMFA platform), which has a rotary dial AMT called the easy-R, with no scope for manual mode, the Datsun redi-GO AMT Smart Drive Auto carries a conventional actual AMT lever between the two front seats (mostly borrowed from the Renault Duster AMT), with Neutral, Drive, and Reverse auto modes, besides a on-the-go manual mode, along with creep function.

When the manual mode was tested, the gear down was slow, but the response was good for the torque. However, the company calls this the 'Rush Hour Mode', which provides optimum cruising speed of 5-6 kmph.

With all these features in the AMT version of the redi-GO, a tough competition is seen brewing for cars of the same segment in the market.

When the car was driven across the highway and the hills, it felt to be worked upon. As the car crossed 80 kmph, we felt a clear disconnect between the steering and the front wheels.

Though this will put down the confidence level for the car, it ensured safety and steady-driving. The small steering made the hilly terrain drive seem easy. Even through the hairpin curves, it was a breeze.

Though the makers claim the car to be a 5-seater, it's an overload to some extent.

When we tested the top speed, the car was satisfactory. As the automatic transmission is slow, the speed drops at every gear shift. At the most, we were successful to reach 100 kmph in 12 seconds, which is less compared with the manual version, where it takes 8 seconds. However, the light weight vehicle is not fit enough to bear the high wind speed, and we noticed some imbalance inside the car.

While the Datsun redi-GO is one the best VFM autos in the market today, its AMT variant is quite an attractive package for the customer as well. It's tailor made for daily use, which also helps beat the traffic with its compact body. It gives immense pleasure for those discerning for a stylish, yet affordable automatic car. While a central locking system with remote key and driver-side airbag may be enough, safety must be the priority before other features are offered.

With an ex-showroom price tag of
Rs 3,80,600, the Datsun redi-GO Smart Drive Auto is a feature-rich AMT model in its segment.

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