Datsun redi-GO 1.0 AMT Review

Overview

Automatic transmissions are gaining popularity in India as our roads are becoming more congested with every passing day. In order to offer its buyers the convenience of an automatic transmission in a budget, Datsun launched its most affordable car, the redi-GO, with an automated manual transmission (AMT). The redi-GO shares mechanicals with the Renault Kwid and the 5-speed AMT paired with the 1.0-litre engine isn’t an exception either.

The redi-GO AMT may feel like a totally different car to drive compared to the manual, however, there are no tell-tale signs to differentiate it from the rest of the range. In fact, it retains that angular, tall boy design and that bold front-end including the hexagonal grille, curvaceous profile and the lean taillights contribute to make the redi-GO stand out in a sea of budget hatchbacks.

Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)

The redi-GO shares the 5-speed AMT with the Renault Kwid, but the carmaker says that the redi-GO’s AMT is calibrated differently. The one thing that certainly separates the redi-GO’s AMT from the Kwid’s is that you get the traditional gear lever instead of the dial-type gear selector in the Kwid. With the gear lever, you also get the option of selecting gears manually, which is not there in the Kwid.

The option of shifting gears manually from the floor-mounted gear lever makes driving the redi-GO AMT simple for new drivers and gives more experienced drivers the option of shifting manually as well. One thing to keep in mind is that the manual shifts don’t reduce the time of gear shifts, they’re there just to help you stay in your preferred gear, depending on the driving conditions.

Road Test

The redi-GO AMT is made purely for inner city driving and in that regard it’s got a lot to offer. Despite the rudimentary gearbox, it does well when it comes to keeping up with traffic and when you are not working it hard, the drivetrain is refined and unobtrusive. However, things aren’t as effortless as you up the pace. On the highway, the motor gets vocal at normal cruising speeds. Sure, you can easily maintain speeds of up to 100kmph all day long but you will have to mash the throttle when overtaking, especially with all the seats occupied.

The first thing that you notice while driving the redi-GO 1.0 AMT is the transmission’s eagerness to upshift. Feather the throttle and it shifts from first gear to second at around 15kmph, which is okay. It shifts to third at around 25kmph and to fourth between 30kmph and 40kmph; the shift from third to fourth being sooner than what an experienced driver would anticipate. It’s a great strategy for extracting the best economy from the engine but does hamper drivability in certain situations like fast-moving traffic.

Engine

Since there are no mechanical changes compared to the redi-GO 1.0, the redi-GO AMT continues to offer a comfortable ride at city speeds. The steering is feather light at slow speeds which makes it easy to park and turn in the city.  This new AMT version, however, is exclusive to the bigger 1-litre model which makes 68bhp of power and 91Nm of torque from its 999cc, three-cylinder motor. Now these figures may sound like you would need to push the Datsun hard to get anywhere, but in reality it doesn’t take that much effort to get up to speed although you won’t be going anywhere rapidly.

Verdict

The redi-GO AMT is not a bad car in any way. Unfortunately, it’s just bettered in several areas by its rivals. The redi-GO though really shines when it comes to space and driving convenience. Sure, it’s low-grade cabin and lack of features are sore points but there’s little doubt this automatic version is a superior choice for budget car buyers compared to the standard 1-litre model.

The redi-GO AMT is expected to be priced at around Rs 4 lakh which should make it more affordable than the top variants of both the Kwid AMT and the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 AGS.

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