Datsun Redigo: Lighter, smaller, cheaper

by Shobha Mathur , 14 Apr 2016


The Datsun Redigo and Renault Kwid small cars have some things in common and a lot uncommon.

While both have been developed on the Common Modular Family-A platform from Alliance partners Renault and Nissan, they are completely different cars. This was not an engineering decision but a product decision taken at the start of the development of the platform.

For a start, the Redigo weighs 25kg lighter and will be 9 percent shorter in length compared to the Kwid.

While the Kwid is 3679mm long, the Redigo is 3430mm in length, says Gerard Detourbet, the creator of the platform and managing director of 2ASDU, Renault Nissan Technology and Business Centre India. The Datsun has a larger wheelbase at 2430mm compared to the Kwid’s 2422mm. The Redigo also stands taller at 1540mm versus the Kwid’s 1478mm.

Detourbet, it may be recollected, led the creation of the Kwid which represented Renault’s gutsy move in the Indian small car market. While Detourbet was voted Autocar Professional’s Man of the Year 2015, the Kwid won Autocar India’s Car of the Year 2016.    

With the market heating up in the compact car segment in India, Datsun’s new urban compact city car will take on the Maruti Alto 800, the Hyundai Eon and the Kwid. According to its developers, a key differentiator is its compactness, styling and roominess despite being a smaller hatchback, along with higher fuel efficiency and improved driving dynamics. The Redigo comes with an upright driving position, has more knee-room space, the front is lower than the rear, and the Redigo is taller than the Kwid due to its higher ground clearance.

It is understood that less metal has been used in the new hatchback; the Redigo’s dimensions, styling and more efficient packaging have contributed towards making it lighter. Interestingly, the Redigo’s design was conceptualised at the same time as the Kwid in 2012 and work on both the models started almost at the same time.

Different strokes for different folks

From the outset, it was to be a different car and not similar in looks to the Kwid, says Detourbet.

However, since the Datsun model shares the same platform some parts are common like the seats and latches but Detourbet says when you open the Redigo’s door, it will be difficult to pinpoint the similarities.

In terms of controlling costs, the design of components was discussed with the same suppliers at the same time as it was being done for the Kwid to lower production costs and ensure the best design. Designs were modified in sync with suppliers to maximise optimum utilisation of assets of the vendors as well for both the hatchbacks. Not surprising then that the suppliers for the new Redigo are the same as the Kwid and range between 200-250. 

Koji Nagano, executive design director, Datsun, says while designing the Redigo the proportion of the car was very important. “We pushed the headlights backwards, every corner is squeezed so that the tyre is sitting on the corner in the front and rear. This makes it look very stable on the road and the gap between the front fender and the tyre surface is very close, so that is also a good point for maintaining stability.”

Besides the proportions of the hatchback, considerable focus was laid on the graphics on the front wheel and headlights that are consistent in the Redigo. These, it seems, will create awareness about the newness of the Redigo amongst consumers in the market right from the start.

Datsun is betting big on the Redigo and will be hoping that the car does the same trick on the sales front as the Kwid did for Renault India. Armed with an aggressive price tag of around Rs 2.50 lakh or a little less than the Kwid’s launch price of Rs 2.57 lakh, the Redigo is ready to go in the Indian market. Over to the Indian car buyer now. 

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