An interesting fact about the Indonesian car buying populace is that they gravitate towards MPVs, just as Indians make a beeline for small cars. In fact, the demand for MPVs in Indonesia is such that global car makers such as Honda and Toyota develop MPVs to specifically target the Indonesian car market. Why, even Suzuki has entered the Indonesian car market with the Ertiga MPV, and Mazda with the badge engineered version of the Ertiga, dubbed the VX-1.
Japanese car maker Nissan's low cost brand Datsun is the latest car maker to hop onto the MPV bandwagon in the Indonesian market. Nissan has unveiled the Datsun Go+ in Indonesia, ahead of the 2013 Indonesian International Motor Show to be held at Jakarta. The Datsun Go+ sub-4 meter compact MPV is based on the same platform as the Go hatchback, which was unveiled in India just a couple of months ago.
The sub-4 meter length of the Datsun Go+ does seem to have the Indian car market in mind given the excise sops that the government here doles out to compact cars measuring under 4 meters in lengths and with specific engine capacities. The Indian connection is further reaffirmed by the Datsun Go+ MPV's petrol engine, which borrows the 1.2 liter-3 cylinder motor from the likes of the Go and Micra hatchbacks.
The HR12DE motor has been around on the Nissan Micra and the Renault Pulse for quite a while now, and the 3 pot motor has acquitted itself well in Indian conditions. While a diesel engine hasn't yet been announced for the Datsun Go+, the 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel unit, which is a straight fit into the Micra's engine bay, could eventually make its way into the MPV if and when Nissan decides to offer the Go+ with diesel power for the Indian car market.
Frugal engineering is the cornerstone around which the Datsun low cost brand revolves. Not for nothing has the low cost brand dug into the parts bin of the Nissan Micra while engineering the Datsun Go hatchback. A similar story pans out in case of the Go+ what with the MPV foraging into the parts bin of the Go hatchback. From the styling to the dashboard and interiors, the Go+ MPV shares a multitude of parts with its hatchback sibling, and comes across as a stretched version of the Go.
The headlamps, tail lamps and even the hatch lid of the Go+ MPV have been borrowed from the Datsun Go hatchback and the parts sharing stretches to the engine and 5 speed transmission as well. Nissan has managed to extend the body of Go+ MPV, while retaining the 2,450 mm wheelbase of the Go hatchback. The stretching has resulted in the Go+ MPV measuring 3,995 mm in length, just shy of the 4 meter mark. The MPV's width and height, at 1,635 mm and 1,485 mm respectively, mirror that of the Go hatchback.
The additional length has given Datsun enough space to squeeze in an additional bench seat, to take the total seating capacity to 7. From the looks of it, 8 adults are likely to be squeezed into many a Go+ MPV given the bench-like seat up front. Since the Go+ is a low cost product, safety aids such as ABS and airbags are not likely to make it to the MPV's higher variants. As the Go+ is a stretched version of the Go hatchback, a station wagon moniker would do it greater justice than the MPV tag it currently comes with.
The starting price of the Go+ MPV is expected to be close to the 4.5 lakh rupee mark given the extensive platform and parts sharing with the Go hatchback, which itself is expected to sport a sub 3.5 lakh rupees price tag. We've seen the Chevrolet Enjoy MPV, a low cost product with Chinese origins, managing to debut with a 5.5 lakh rupee price tag in India, despite its length measuring over 4 meters and it being rear wheel driven. In that light, the Datsun Go+ could easily become the least priced MPV in India.