First drive: Datsun Redi Go AMT
Datsun’s hatchback on stilettos gets a new auto ’box. Does it make its case stronger?
AMT is the new buzzword in the compact hatchback market these days. Maruti has flooded the market with an AMT version of almost each and every hatch that rolls out of their assembly line. And in the compact hatch segment, where most buyers are on a shoestring budget, the AMT tech seems to be the apt way to ease your left foot. And it’s not taken other carmakers to jump on the bandwagon and launch an automated manual version of their hatch, of course with funky names.
In the case of the Redi Go, which is the current top seller for Datsun, there’s a new AMT too. They call it the Smart Drive Auto. In essence, the same tech that Maruti and the other are using, include the Redi Go’s sister, the Kwid.
Considering the Redi Go is fairly new in the market, there’s just an addition of the auto ’box and no change in the aesthetics of the car. The insides, too, remain the same, minus the clutch pedal and new gear knob. Unlike the Kwid’s AMT, this one gets a manual override, in case you feel the need to take the control in your hands. And yes, there’s also a creep function in this one, which eases out your stress in the stop-go city traffic.
The AMT tech isn’t a very sophisticated sort of tech when you talk about shift quality and briskness of the system. For a buyer, who’s looking for a basic auto, the Redi Go’s AMT will fit the bill. But for slightly enthusiast drivers, the AMT will take its own sweet time to change a cog and the preprogrammed mechanism will shift at a certain rpm, no matter what you want from the car at that point in time. With every shift, there’s a considerable amount of pitch, while the system clutches, changes and declutches. It takes its own sweet time to do the task of upshifting and shows no hurry at any point in time. Of course, if you need faster responses from the system, you have the choice of shift to manual mode and doing the task yourself.
The gearbox is mated to a 1-litre three-pot petrol engine that may not be the best one in the market when it comes to refinement, but does the job of hauling the tiny hatch well. It makes 67bhp and 91Nm of torque.
The Redi Go AMT is priced at Rs 3.80 lakh (ex-showroom). It is Rs 38,000 cheaper than the Alto K10 AMT and brings in slightly more cabin space and more road presence. But it lets you down on the finish quality and the quality of materials that go into the making of the car. The AMT does add convenience to the package and for lads who live in metros will appreciate an auto variant, as for the package as whole, the Redi Go does have a few rough edges as compared its rivals.
Spec: 999cc, 3cyl, petrol, 67bhp, 91Nm, 5AMT, FWD, Price: 3.80 lakh (ex-showroom)
Verdict: AMT adds convenience, but refinement continues to be an issue.