Preview: Can the Datsun Go-Cross help elevate the brand's position in India?
Datsun, known for making budget offerings like the Go, Go+ and the redi-Go, will enter the compact crossover space with the Go-Cross SUV. The Japanese car manufacturer showcased the Go-Cross concept at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. The car was also shown at the 2016 Auto Expo in India. The Go-Cross will be Datsun's punch at the burgeoning compact SUV segment in India. The Go-Cross will be positioned above the Go and the Go+ and will rival the likes of the Mahindra KUV100 and to some extent the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza.
The Datsun Go-Cross will be based on the new CMF-A platform that also underpins the Renault Kwid and the Datsun redi-Go. Datsun stated that with the Go-Cross, the company aims at elevating its presence over the other affordable offerings from its portfolio. The concept showcased at the expo looked near-production ready, however unlike other Datsun offerings, this one is yet to be spotted testing. This makes us believe that the production version will be ready only by mid-2017, with a launch scheduled for later that year.
The Datsun Go-Cross concept looks far more impressive than the company's existing lineup of products. During the global reveal, the company also stated that the design language of the Go-Cross previews the design direction for its upcoming offerings. The Datsun Go-Cross might be slotted in the sub-4m space to rake in the benefits of duty cut that the segment attracts.
As seen with the Datsun redi-Go where the production version strongly resembled the concept, we hope the Go-Cross too stays true to its concept form. The Go-Cross does share its overall look with the Go series, especially the Go+, however it gets its distinct bits in the form of LED DRLs, larger radiator grille with a matte grey finish and LED strips on the bumper.
The silhouette does look reminiscent of the Go+ but the detailing done on the side profile gives it a crossover touch. This can be seen with the matte cladding over the muscular wheel arches and the running board area. The concept also features dark finished roof rails, wing mirrors, larger wheels as well as raised ground clearance. While this one is a concept, it might not feature all these flamboyant bits in the production version. But overall, the Go-Cross concept looks handsome and does have the potential to strike it big in the segment.
Interior, features and options
Datsun has still not revealed the interiors of the Go-Cross but we expect the cabin to come equipped with some of the premium features that the segment offers, like a touchscreen infotainment system and middle row airconditioning. From its overall design, the Go-Cross might offer generous headroom and legroom for the occupants in the first and the second row. The third row might just be apt for kids or luggage. With the ever tightening safety standards and the time of its launch, expect all variants to be equipped with ABS with dual airbags to be standard across the range.
The powertrain option that is available in the Go series is the 1.2-litre petrol engine that makes 68PS of power at 5,000 rpm and generates 104Nm at 4,000rpm. For the Go-Cross, Datsun might look at using the same powertrain in a different state of tune. However, Vincent Cobee, global head - Datsun, mentioned at the motor show that the Go-Cross might not feature a diesel powertrain and instead will come equipped with a newly developed engine, which will be offered in addition to the existing options.
Considering its premium positioning, the Datsun Go-Cross is expected to be priced between Rs 5.5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. Datsun might look at manufacturing the Go-Cross at the Renault-Nissan plant at Oragadam near Chennai. The Go-Cross might help Datsun utilise the production facility more efficiently which has a total production capacity of 4.8 lakh units annually. In addition, Datsun can use the Indian facility as a global manufacturing hub and export the Go-Cross to South Africa, Europe and Russia. Will we see a Renault spin-off? Your guess is as good as ours!
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