PLACES

You’re trendy, young and re­ally want a new car. Ex­cept you can’t put a de­posit down and no­body wants to fi­nance you. Are you doomed to bum lifts from your friends or wait for taxis for the rest of your days? Ac­cord­ing to Dat­sun, you aren’t. En­ter the ne

CityPress - - Trending - The GO has the funki­est ex­te­rior styling of the low-cost hatch­backs, as well as great in­te­rior space

Iconic brand Dat­sun re­turns to our au­to­mo­tive shores with its new bud­get hatch­back, the GO, which is aimed at “the ris­ers” – young, tech-savvy, street-smart, first-time car buy­ers with plenty of swag. When I at­tended the un­veil­ing of the GO in Jo­han­nes­burg in June, Dat­sun promised the car would en­ter the mar­ket at less than R100 000. And they man­aged to do just that, but not with­out the sacrifice of a few spec­i­fi­ca­tions that I think are rather nec­es­sary, like power steer­ing in the base model, the GO Mid at R89 500.

Some peo­ple read­ing this have had their lives saved by ABS brakes and an airbag. Mine has. Un­for­tu­nately, you won’t be saved by th­ese in the GO, as nei­ther of two avail­able de­riv­a­tives are equipped with them yet.

Apart from the lack of this safety equip­ment, the GO is not bad. It has the funki­est ex­te­rior styling of any of the low-cost hatch­backs and great in­te­rior space too, no­tably in the rear. Its boot of­fers best-in-class space of 265 litres, which (ac­cord­ing to Dat­sun) can hold 12 cases of beer, 30 shoe­boxes or R1 500 worth of gro­ceries (de­pend­ing on where you shop).

It has higher than av­er­age ground clear­ance, which helps when trav­el­ling on our pock­marked roads and en­ables you to oc­ca­sion­ally park on the pave­ment.

The front seat has a uni­tary con­struc­tion, and although no one is say­ing it out aloud, I can al­ready see three slim peo­ple sit­ting up front (de­spite the fact that there are only two seat­belts).

The bet­ter-equipped GO Lux (R99 500) also fea­tures a stan­dard mo­bile dock­ing sta­tion for your smart­phone, and air-con is stan­dard in both de­riv­a­tives. I would have pre­ferred the safety equip­ment in­stead, but if you’re 20, be­ing cool is prob­a­bly more im­por­tant.

There are some other niceties worth men­tion­ing, like the “follow me home” head­lights that stay on after you’ve left your car and you’re dig­ging for your keys at the gate.

At the Gaut­eng launch, we had a chance to drive the GO around Boks­burg. Its 1.2 litre en­gine is peppy, and due to its com­pact di­men­sions, the GO is easy to ma­noeu­vre around town and has good all-round vis­i­bil­ity.

The seats are built to support the spine and felt rather comfy. Our par­tic­u­lar model’s (power) steer­ing felt vague and my co-driver re­marked that the sus­pen­sion was too soft.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see if the GO will make “the ris­ers” of South Africa bite, but the fact that buy­ing a GO re­quires no de­posit, nor a bal­loon pay­ment, is a huge sell­ing point.

Each GO comes with a three-year/100 000km war­ranty with road­side as­sis­tance. Main­te­nance and ser­vice plans are op­tional.

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