Budget brand of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Datsun, has launched an AMT version of its entry level hatchback, the Datsun Redigo. The Redigo 'Smart Drive Auto’ in Datsun-speak, has been launched at a price tag of Rs 380,600 ex-showroom, all India.
The AMT unit, which also does duty in the Renault Kwid, comes mated to the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol motor in the Redigo and offers a creep function for easier driving in congested traffic, as well as a manual mode to overcome the lack of a physical clutch in tricky situations like climbing steep slopes.
The car remains absolutely identical to its manual counterpart, albeit the Redigo now gets a minor feature update in the form of a single-DIN Bluetooth stereo system with voice and music playback functions in the top T(O) and S variants of the car.
Driving the Redigo AMT around the busy streets of Delhi on a weekday last week made us clear that the AMT gearbox offers acceptable shifts for the most part, while there remains the presence of a strong head-nod under hard acceleration, which is a trait of most AMTs in the market. The Redigo is quite roomy on the inside and is reasonably comfortable with its high-set seats.
The car comes with remote central locking, front power windows and LED DRLs in its the top trim.
According to Jerome Saigot, managing director, Nissan Motor India, “Datsun Redigo Smart Drive Auto combines the convenience and flexibility of dual-driving modes with best-in-class ground clearance, cabin space, boot space and head room. In line with our commitment towards our customers, we are launching the new Redigo Smart Drive Auto at an attractive introductory price and rich features in its segment.”
Speaking to Autocar Professional, Saigot also said that with the AMT offering, the company is aiming to tap interest of the entry-level buyer in the urban cities now, while the brand has mostly been strengthening its presence in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns until now. “We will now gradually move up the chain in terms of our brand presence in the country. We have close to 270 Nissan-Datsun outlets until now, while 130 standalone Datsun outlets. Going forward, we aim to increase the number of these Datsun-only outlets to 150 by the end of FY2019.”
Eyeing crossover launch
As Renault-Nissan, the company is also looking to be with the times and offer products in the growing crossover segment, which is surging ahead with almost 19 percent YoY growth in the country. “We are closely looking at the compact SUV segment and we will soon be introducing a product in that category”, Saigot said. Apparently, Nissan is expected to showcase the Nissan Kicks crossover for India at the upcoming Auto Expo in February.
“We are also giving serious thought to the Indian government's electrification roadmap and we will be developing products on electric architecture as well. We already have the Nissan Leaf, which can be a good proposition for the Indian market. Electrification of our offerings under the Datsun brand will only be based on the affordability factor and while we are going to update these models to adhere to the upcoming BNCAP safety norms, we will eventually analyse the market and gauge the feasibility of an electric offering in the entry-level price band,” he concluded.
The Datsun Redigo is now officially available at the company's outlets and will be sold in five colour options – Ruby Red, Lime Green, White, Grey and Silver.