Datsun has readied a two-pedal version of the Redigo. But how effortless is this new AMT version really? We drive one to find out.
When all you do in the name of driving is get stuck in traffic jams, you can’t help but feel that your left leg gets an undue workout on far too regular a basis. This makes buying an automatic car more sensible, and perhaps the more logical choice. And given the fact that the market is now flooded with affordable cars with automated manual transmission (AMTs), buying one won’t break the bank.
The latest on the AMT bandwagon is the Datsun Redigo. On the outside it’s identical to its manual siblings, which means that its style remains unchanged. Even the interior is more or less the same – except the new gear lever of course. The Redigo AMT retains the all-black dashboard of the regular models, but it now has red-and-black seat covers. As for the equipment, it now has a new single-din stereo with Bluetooth connectivity – which isn’t the most intuitive system around. Nonetheless, Bluetooth connectivity is a welcome addition. The instrument cluster is analogue with a huge speedo, but the digital tachometer has been replaced by a gear-indicator readout in the AMT version.
Since the Redigo and Renault Kwid share the same platform, the AMT version has the exact same specs as its French cousin. On offer here is a 1.0-litre petrol engine that develops 67bhp and 91Nm, but instead of you rowing the 5-speed gearbox using a clutch pedal, a hydraulic actuator does the job for you. How’s it to drive? Well, since we drove the car only in heavy traffic, which is where it’ll ostensibly spend most of its time, it worked quite well. There’s a ‘creep’ function that lets the car roll forward without any throttle inputs. The gearshifts are smooth, if not seamless. But it still feels a bit lethargic and jerky when taking off from a standstill. The downshifts are well judged, and the gearbox has an auto-blip function for rev-matching, which is a nice feature. Also, unlike the Kwid, the Redigo AMT has a manual mode – so you can shift gears yourself. However, the engine has to be in a particular rev range for it to accept your command.
The NVH levels are still pretty high inside the car. Even in normal driving conditions, you can hear the engine protesting. The steering is too light and feels almost disconnected when you hit triple digit speeds. The ride quality of the AMT version is satisfactory, but it does feel a bit firm on bumpy roads. As for the handling, there’s still a lot of body roll when you approach a corner enthusiastically – but, with a bit of restraint, you don’t have to worry. The brakes, however, are a matter of concern. They can at best be described as average, as there’s no bite and feedback from the system when you drop the anchors. ABS is still missing.
Although the Datsun Redigo has its issues, one has to understand that it’s primarily meant to be driven rather leisurely within the closed confines of a city. And, in that regard, it’s a comfortable little runabout. Moreover, even in its top-spec trim, it only costs only a few thousand rupees more than a regular 1.0-litre manual version. All in all, it’s a fair deal to save your left foot from unnecessary leg workouts.
- Datsun Redigo 1.0 AMT
Engine: 999cc / Inline-3 Cylinder / 12 Valves
Transmission: 5-Speed AMT / Front-wheel Drive
Power: 67bhp @ 5,500rpm
Torque: 91Nm @ 4,250rpm
Price: Rs 3.80 lakh (ex-showroom)
X-factor: An affordable, spacious and decently equipped city runabout.
• Stress-free drive
• Economical and spacious
• Jerky transmission
• Light steering and lousy brakes