Datsun knows that it has its work cut out in the highly competitive entry small car segment. Buyers in this segment (usually buying their first car) are very demanding. They want fuel efficiency, space, a nice engine and a competitive price among other things.
The company is banking on the looks of the new Redigo to pull in customers into its showrooms. But will looks be enough to take on the likes of the Maruti Alto, Hyundai Eon and the Renault Kwid? All these cars are bumper hits in their own rights. Read on to know more.
The Redigo gets an unmistakably Datsun face and in-line with the Go hatchback and Go+ MPV. The big hexagonal grille and high mounted headlamps are easily the highlight of the car. The LED daytime running lamps find their place where other carmakers traditionally put the fog lamps. The side profile with its sharp creases and raising waistline give it a stylish stance. At over 1,500mm in height, the Redigo is the tallest small car in India (save the Tata Nano). At 185mm, its ground clearance can shame many a traditional SUV. No wonder Datsun is keen on marketing it as an urban crossover rather than a compact car.
The rear end of the car is devoid of any drama and the small lamps look rather out of place on an otherwise bold and striking design. A smarter set could have easily raised the aspirational value of this car considerably. Still, the Redigo looks smart and appealing from the outside.
Step inside the cabin and you will immediately appreciate the high-set seats of this car. They make getting in an out a breeze. You can simply walk into it rather than crouch and wiggle in, like you have to on its rivals. The other good thing in the front is the generous glass area, which really makes the cabin feel and look a lot bigger than it really is.
The dashboard design isn’t earth shattering, but its logical and well thought out. The big talking point is the big AC vent, which is fixed for rear occupants, and dedicated to rear passenger comfort. There are plenty of places to keep odds and ends but the glovebox is disapprovingly small and can’t hold more than a small 500ml bottle in it.
Rear seat occupants will enjoy the tall roof, which liberates acres of headroom. Even tall passengers who like sitting up straight will enjoy the rear seats here. The wide opening doors make ingress and egress easy. Knee-room is more than adequate and Datsun have raised the front seats for rear occupants to place their feet there.
That said, there is plenty of exposed metal though visible when you are in the back seat. Things like the exposed rear pillar and missing quarter glass, replaced by metal are things which most buyers will not appreciate. The boot at 222-litres is bigger than the Alto’s but surprisingly smaller than the 300-litres of the Renault Kwid, the car the Redigo is based on.
Engine, performance and gearbox
You get only one engine option to pick. It’s an 800cc petrol motor with 54bhp and 72Nm of torque on offer. This engine is also shared with the Kwid. The engine isn’t very responsive and needs to be revved to get the best from it. At lower city speeds smoothness is average but when pushed hard it does become rather noisy inside the cabin. The best way to drive this car is in a sedate and sensible manner. Being light on its weight though ensures that the Redigo is brisk in terms of acceleration. Datsun claims class-best figures for it.
At a claimed fuel economy of 25.17kpl, this is also the most fuel efficient car in its segment and one of the best in India at the moment.
The gearbox is par for course for this segment. The throws are accurate and light. The clutch is super light and very smooth as well, which should take the sting out of stop-go city traffic.
Ride and handling
The long wheelbase means that the Redigo will take most of the average sized potholes in its stride. It’s only the large expansion joints on flyovers and crevices on flyovers that make their presence felt inside the cabin.
The super light steering might be devoid of feel, but it means that you can turn this car even with your index finger (something we don’t recommend ofcourse). The light steering also ensures parking in tight spaces isn’t a chore.
Special mention must be made of this cars high speed stability. It feels very stable and rides unlike other small cars that tend to feel skittish as speeds mount over 80-90kph. In fact the Redigo’s high speed ride is so good you could be forgiven for thinking it’s from a more expensive segment.
The Redigo isn’t a sensational car but a sensible one. Few cars offer such a roomy cabin, fuel efficient engine and stylish looks at an affordable price point the way this baby Datsun does. If you are planning your first car then you should stop being a badge snob and seriously go to a Datsun dealer near you and have a look at the Redigo.
Images by Mohd. Nasir