Driving the Redi-GO 1.0L
1.0L engine is a tighter fit than the 0.8L. 3-cylinder motor churns out 67 BHP and 91 Nm of torque:
While the insulation on the firewall and under the bonnet are unchanged, the engine mounts are different from the 0.8L
. They are identical to the Kwid 1.0's
Ground clearance remains unchanged at 185 mm (unladen). It is a boon on bad Indian roads, but the exposed oil sump is a cause for concern:
The 1.0L engine is a bored-out version of the 0.8L unit and makes use of many plastic components (valve cover, intake manifold, oil sump etc.). This basically means that the block is new, along with the internals. It also has a maintenance-free timing chain (instead of the usual timing belt) that does contribute to noise from the engine. A year ago, the same engine was introduced in its French cousin - the Kwid 1.0. This 999cc, 3-cylinder, 12-valve motor makes 67 BHP @ 5,500 rpm and 91 Nm of torque @ 4,250 rpm, which is 14 BHP and 19 Nm more than the 0.8-litre engine (made at a lower rpm as well
). At 681 kilos, the Redi-GO has a power-to-weight ratio of 98 BHP / ton and torque-to-weight ratio of 134 Nm / ton. In comparison, the Alto K10 & Eon 1.0's power-to-weight ratios are 91 BHP / ton & 86 BHP / ton.
Fire the motor up and immediately, you know something's different. There are lesser vibrations at startup and the idle feels smoother than in the Redi-GO 800 (it's still not 4-cylinder smooth though
). There are some vibrations felt on the steering wheel, gear lever & pedals, accompanied by a little body shake. Once the car is moving, the steering and pedal vibrations are almost gone (you'll still feel some on the gear lever). The engine sounds like a typical 3-cylinder unit and you always hear that familiar thrum inside the cabin.
Engage first, pop the clutch and you'll feel a marked improvement in the way that the Redi-GO 1.0 drives. The car does feel a lot more eager off the line & it can even roll off from a standstill in 2nd gear! You won't stall it as easily as the 0.8L as the low end has definitely improved. You can easily potter around in town at 40 km/h in fourth gear, with the engine ticking over at 1,500 rpm. The accelerator also isn't as sensitive as the 0.8L's; this reduces jerks and results in smoother overall power delivery. I drove in Goan traffic and was far more comfortable in the 1.0L. It's just easier to drive in the city with the additional torque; plus, I didn't have to shift down to 1st as often as in the weaker 0.8L.
The mid-range is a lot more punchy. You can easily keep up with traffic and even avoid downshifts when climbing up flyovers. The 1.0L allows you to drive in a relaxed manner. There's no need to work the engine & gearbox hard. The higher seating of the Redi-GO, healthy all-round visibility and the superior 1.0L motor make the Redi-GO a fantastic city car.
On the open road is where the Redi-GO 1.0L shows its true potential. The 1.0L feels like a different car vs the older 0.8L. It was completely at home cruising down the highway. The car can cruise on the expressway at 80 km/h & 100 km/h in 5th gear at 2,500 rpm & 3,000 rpm respectively. Sustaining triple digits is easier and the engine doesn’t feel stressed out. In comparison, the Redi-GO 800 at triple digits is too busy. Overtaking trucks in the 1.0 is easier as well. You don’t even need to downshift from 5th gear when slowing down to 70-80 km/h; there’s lesser downshifts needed if you lose momentum & need to get back up to speed. You'll especially notice the improvement with passengers & luggage onboard (weight bogged the Redi-GO 800 down). Of course, end of the day, it's still a small 1.0L motor and you need to plan your overtakes out, especially on undivided highways. Performance after 120 km/h will start tapering off. Just as well since the Redi-GO feels best below that speed. Also remember that the car is a lightweight entry-level hatchback & the Kwid (on which it's based) got a poor NCAP safety rating. Keep the speedo needle in check on the expressway.
The gears are easy to slot with medium-length throws. There is a hint of a rubbery feeling, yet it is sure-slotting and you won’t miss a shift. The clutch has a short travel range and is light to operate.
The 1.0L has that typical 3-cylinder thrum and is far from '4-cylinder smooth', yet the engine is less restrained and more free revving in nature. Up to 3,000 rpm, there is some engine noise coming into the cabin, but it's not irritating. However, once you cross 4,000 rpm, it gets loud and after 4,500 rpm, its very loud! Wind noise starts coming in when the speedometer is close to 100 km/h, as does road noise. The insulation is budget grade, so one can hear many noises inside this car. That said, overall NVH is better than in the Redi-GO 800 as the engine is lesser stressed in the same driving conditions.
The Redi-GO has a CMVR-certified fuel-efficiency of 22.5 km/l. Despite its slightly higher kerb weight, the Kwid 1.0 is more frugal (23.01 km/l), at least on paper. The segment-leading Alto K10 is the most efficient of the lot with a figure of 24.07 km/l.
Ride & Handling
While the engine of the Redi-GO 1.0L is larger and more powerful, the car's suspension remains unchanged. We found the ride quality to be compliant at urban speeds. City commuters will not find any problem with it. The Redi-GO feels sorted for an entry-level car. We didn't feel uncomfortable on the highway either. The suspension handled most small to medium-sized undulations with ease and it was only the big bumps that made their presence felt.
The Redi-GO is meant to be an urban runabout. It simply does not feel planted at triple digit speeds. There is a good deal of vertical movement on hitting undulations at triple digit speeds too. A combination of the low kerb weight, puny 155/80 R13 tyres and short wheelbase is to be blamed for this. Hence, it's best to keep the car's speed under 90 - 100 km/h.
In the corners, body roll was much lesser than expected for a car as tall as the Redi-GO. That said, it is certainly not a vehicle that wants to be pushed hard. The grip from the stock tyres is more suited to sedate driving. If you get aggressive, they will give up and the car will understeer. A tyre upgrade will certainly improve the car's handling & road manners (we highly recommend it). Even so, it's best to respect the limits of this entry-level hatchback.
The steering is very direct and very light. This makes it user-friendly at slow speeds. The light steering, small turning radius (4.7 m), soft clutch and good driveability make the Redi-GO an excellent urban commuter. What is slightly disappointing is that the return-to-center action of the steering is weak, which means you have to manually turn the wheel back after tight U-turns.
However, while the steering is a boon in the city, it is just not suitable for highway driving. It does not weigh up as the speed increases and feels rather vague. In addition to this, the steering wheel is sensitive at highway speeds, causing sudden movements on small inputs. On the highway, this can get unnerving.
The 185-mm of ground clearance and short wheelbase are useful when you take the car on broken roads or even slightly off the road. We didn't scrape the undercarriage anywhere on our trip.
Unfortunately, there is no ABS available on any model. It should have been offered as standard on the 1.0L. The brakes perform as expected of a budget hatchback (read = they do the job, but just that). The braking ability is suited to a calm driving style. We did feel that the pedal requires to be pressed a little more than we would like before the brakes bite.
In other news, Datsun has introduced 'Datsun Care' service packages for the Redi-GO. These packages include the costs for routine maintenance, extended warranty and 24x7 roadside assistance. They can even be transferred to the new owner after selling the car - related thread
. Disclaimer: Datsun invited Team-BHP for the Redi-GO 1.0L test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.