Car Reviews, Comparison

Face Off: Datsun Go+ vs Maruti Ertiga

The MPV segment is fast becoming one of the most heavily populated segments of the Indian market. The incredibly successful Toyota Innova has slowly moved up the price bracket and as a result, manufacturers are swooping in with compact, inexpensive compact MPVs to fill the void. The latest to join the fray is the new all new Datsun Go+. The Japanese MPV will go toe to toe with much bigger names such as Honda, Maruti and Chevrolet. We pit the Go+ with the popular Ertiga and see how the new kid on the block fares.

Design:

Datsun Go+:

The Go+ is an extended version of the Go hatch. The front end sports a large honeycomb grille surrounded on either side by well designed headlights. The rear features well integrated tail lamps and a neat, uncluttered bumper design. The boot sports an interesting design element where the Datsun logo sits atop a crest. Although Nissan/Datsun has done an above average job with the Go+’s styling, the manufacturer has not made any attempts at covering up its cost cutting methods. Things such as the numerous panel gaps, loosely connected exhaust pipe showcase the extreme levels of compromise the Go+ had to be put through to keep its prices as low as possible.

 

datsun go plus front three quarter
The Datsun Go Plus

All in all, the Go+ is a good looking albeit unexceptional looking thing. The MPV will not stand out in a crowd.

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga:

Maruti Suzuki has always had issues with porting designs from one body style to another (Think first generation DZire). This time however, the manufacturer has done a good job with the design transplant. Although the Ertiga sports similar elements to the Swift, the design has adapted to better suit the MPV body style. The compact MPV sports a cutesy front end with no distinguishing traits. The rear features well integrated tail lights that sport a wrap-around effect. The Ertiga’s exterior too is very plain jane in character.

2014 maruti suzuki ertiga
Front view of the Suzuki Ertiga

Despite the very neutral styling of the both the Ertiga and Datsun Go+, cost cutting is blatantly evident in the latter giving the Ertiga an edge over the Japanese MPV.

Winner: Maruti Suzuki Ertiga

Interior:

Datsun Go+:

The cost cutting continues on the inside as well with the Go+ completely missing panels in some places altogether. The lidless glovebox, lack of a proper music system and cheap plastics all hint at the primary goal of the Go+: to be a budget offering. However, for a driver, the Go+ is rather well equipped. Apart from the good engine, the Go+ comes with a digital tachometer as well as a distance to empty, average and current fuel consumption readouts. Extremely useful features lacking in its competition. The speedometer also has useful though crude markings for optimal gear shifts.

datsun go plus interior
The interior of the Go+

Datsun has made maximum use of the cabin’s space with a multitude of cubby holes for miscellaneous items. The front row seats feature the controversial single unit seats that allow for a child to sit between the driver and front passenger. Although Datsun maintains that this is a USP, in reality, this poses a major safety issue as there is no protection during the event of a crash.

The combination of cheap plastics and beige and gray colour scheme leaves much to be desired, However, when one keeps in mind that the Datsun GO+ has been designed to keep costs low, many of its shortcomings can be forgiven. Despite this, the lack of airbags, ABS or any other safety mechanism on any variant is a disappointment and only serves to strengthen the belief that manufacturers care more about market share than the safety of its customers.

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga:

The Ertiga is a slightly more premium offering than the Datsun. Like the Go+, the Ertiga borrows heavily from the hatchback it is based on. The Maruti MPV’s cabin is a mixture of beige and grey. Unlike the Go+, the Ertiga comes with a fully loaded infotainment system complete with steering mounted controls for the driver. The MPV also features electrically adjustable ORVMs, power windows, and a conventional glove box.

Interior suzuki ertiga
Interior suzuki ertiga

The Ertiga offers a lot more than the pocket friendly Go+.

Winner: Maruti Suzuki Ertiga

Under the Hood:

Datsun Go+:

The Go Plus is powered by a 1.2 L petrol engine that produces 67 bhp @ 5000 RPM and 104 Nm @ 4000 RPM. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 5 speed manual. Despite its large size, the Go Plus’ low weight allows the 1.2 L mill to deliver more than enough power for easy driving. The small engine and light frame means that the Go+ delivers an impressive 20.62 kmpl (ARAI).

Datsun does not currently offer the Go+ in diesel.

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga:

Suzuki offers the Ertiga in petrol as well as diesel. The petrol powered variant houses a 1.4 L engine that produces 94 bhp @ 6000 RPM and 130 Nm @ 4000 RPM while the Fiat sourced 1.3 L diesel engine churns out 89 hp @4000 RPM and 200 Nm of torque @ 1750 RPM. Maruti Suzuki offers a CNG variant as well.

Winner: Maruti Suzuki Ertiga

Verdict

The Datsun Go Plus is a budget offering. As a result, the MPV makes severe compromises on various fronts. Though the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is unquestionably the better car, the Ertiga is a better choice for more than just its features and design. The philosophy behind the Datsun Go+ is that of “cheap and best”, a philosophy widely followed by the Indian society. Citing lack of interest, the Japanese automaker has completely omitted basic safety features such as airbags and ABS. The former now being adopted as standard by a growing number of brands in India. Despite what many buyers believe, a car’s safety level is one of its prime aspects. Especially in our country. The recent NCAP tests and its horrifying results have showcased the kind of deathtraps our cars can be. While the apathetic nature of manufacturers and poor government regulations are mainly at fault, our outlook towards the entire situation is partly to blame as well.

If we as a community begin to understand the importance of safety and demand for better manufactured products, then the industry will slowly change its ways. Hopefully the automotive industry gains enough empathy to improve its own standards before our passive government finally wakes up.

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Psst! Weekend Warrior isn't really his name. Chirag is an automotive journalist for TurboZens, one of the fastest growing autoblogs in India. if you can't find him tearing up clubs (his backyard) every weekend, you can always try Google+