Car news

05 April 2014

Datsun's On-DO is a budget sedan for Russia

Spun off a Russian car, wears a Japanese badge: the On-DO is a Lada wearing different clothes

Amaan Ahmed
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There's been news of a budget sedan that Datsun's been working on for budget-conscious markets, including ours, and now, there is a Datsun budget sedan. Only this, the weirdly-named on-DO, is to be sold in Russia, and not in India.

First, the name. Datsun says the word 'Do' is of great significance to the Japanese, because it means "way", or "moving", hinting at personal mobility for all. As for 'On', that, in Russian, means "He". Roughly put, the On-DO means "His way". Feminists will, as usual, not be chuffed.

Why? Why would Datsun not bring it here? To answer that question, you need to look at the car, for that would tell you two things. One, at 4337mm long, the on-DO is not a pert-butt sedan. Russia does not have a sub-four metre tax cap rule like ours, and so, their cars can afford to be fairly sizeable. And two...well, look at it. It sports the new Datsun family look upfront, which is nice, but the moment you move beyond the A-pillar...oh dear. Viewed side-on, the on-DO goes from 2014 to 1997 faster than you could say "Lada", which makes the car that the on-DO is based on.

The Renault-Nissan group owns a majority stake in Lada, a company that's like the Maruti Suzuki of Russia. The Granta (the car that the on-DO is closely related to) was the highest-selling car in Putin-land last year. What Datsun has done, is simply taken a Granta, given it some new body panels and stuck its own badges on it.

The car is powered by the same 1.6-litre, 87bhp petrol motor that's seen on the Granta, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. Its considerable length means the on-DO has a generously-sized 530-litre boot, and the interiors look roomy, but it doesn't possess a segment-busting feature list.

Datsun will sell it for 400,000 Russian rubles, a price at which the On-DO will undercut the already dirt-cheap Granta noticeably. Anyway, we do know that Datsun will also make a small sedan for India. What kind of a name will it have? Any suggestions, dotcommers?

Tags: datsun, ondo, on do

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