Three years and three cars after Datsun made its entry into India, the brand is yet to make a mark in the minds of the Indian buyer. Its most recent offering, the Redigo, is quite an appealing car, thanks to its spacious interior, good fuel economy and a low price-tag. However, performance from this light-weight hatch was adequate at best. Now, the Redigo is available with a 1.0-litre petrol engine which should improve the hatchback’s performance. Does this rival to cars like the Maruti Alto K10, the Renault Kwid 1.0 and the Hyundai Eon 1.0 deliver?
On the outside
The 1.0-litre engine is available only on the Redigo’s top two variants – T(O) and S – with only the fully loaded variant getting a driver-side airbag. Save for the 1.0-litre badge on the boot, there’s little that tells you that there’s a bigger engine under the hood. As before, this Datsun’s tall-boy stance, radical looks, high ground clearance and the swept-back headlamps are some of the bits that make it stand apart.
On the inside
As with a lot of the updated Datsun and Nissan models, the interior of the Redigo 1.0 uses a lot of dark-grey plastics and fabrics. This is a welcome departure from the beige theme in the older cars, as it conceals panel gaps in the cabin quite well, and also looks more modern. New to the equipment list is central locking and remote locking for the doors.
Like the 800cc variant, you sit nice and high, the large glass area makes the cabin airy and gives you a good view all around. However, the thick A-pillars hinder visibility at intersections. Headroom and legroom are really impressive, even at the back, and the high-set seats make getting in and out of the car easy.
However, Datsun is yet to address the cabin’s weak points. The glovebox is too small, a lot of the painted sheet metal is left exposed, and you don’t get internally adjustable ORVMs. The Redigo makes do with a rudimentary audio system, unlike the Kwid that gets you a touchscreen infotainment unit. Also, the only real safety feature on board is a driver-side airbag, that too only on the top-end variant; the introduction of ABS would have been nice.
From behind the wheel
The 1.0-litre engine in the Kwid is the same unit that you find in the Kwid 1.0. It makes 68hp and 91Nm, and that 14hp bump in power certainly helps the car’s performance. Thanks to the extra grunt, the car is easier to drive, you can overtake with more confidence on highways, and power delivery is smoother than the 0.8 version. In terms of refinement, the Redigo lags behind the likes of the Kwid 1.0 and Alto K10; there’s a lot of road and wind noise at highway speeds.
Thankfully, the increase in power and performance hasn’t hurt fuel efficiency much. Where the Redigo 0.8 delivered 22.7kpl, the 1.0-litre variant delivers an ARAI rated 22.5kpl.
The gearbox is a five-speed manual that has short throws, but feels a bit sluggish when you change gears.
Ride, although a bit on the firm side, is quite good. The suspension absorbs small bumps without a fuss, and the high ground clearance also comes in handy when tackling big speed breakers and potholes. Although the hatch rolls and wallows a bit around bends, it’s never disconcerting. Even the light steering is easy to twirl, so it’s easy to drive in the city. It’s just that it never weighs up at speed and translates little feedback from the front wheels. Its lightweight construction also results in a lot of swaying around from cross winds.
Is it worth the money?
The Redigo 1.0 litre is a bit late to the party, especially since it has to face established rivals like the Alto K10 and Kwid 1.0 litre. But, this version is undoubtedly the pick of the Redigo range, as it’s easier to drive, and won’t increase your fuel bills by much either. It isn’t without its faults. The cabin still feels rudimentary, and there aren’t many storage spaces. But, these aside, it remains a capable city car.