As it turns out, the answer is yes. The Datsun GO has been a controversial little thing since its local launch a few years back. Most motoring press crucified the car, and at the time it was justified if you were concerned about safety. The thing is, even though the car wasn't great during a crash test, the buying public didn't seem to care; the low price tag, insurance and fuel consumption were good enough that any other issues were happily overlooked. No matter what the press or seasoned journos said about the car, the sales figures were steadily climbing. Since inception the Datsun GO has undergone a few changes, the most important was to address the safety issue, and then more recently it received a pretty decent refresher in the looks (and every other) department too.
The latest incarnation of the Datsun GO is the CVT model, and if you're not quite sure what that means, here's a short description pulled from Wikipedia: "CVT - A continuously variable transmission, also known as a shiftless transmission, stepless transmission, pulley transmission, or, in case of motorcycles, a 'twist-and-go', is an automatic transmission that can change seamlessly through a continuous range of effective gear ratios." Now it must be mentioned that out of all the transmissions, the CVT probably has the most haters of all. Fans of fast stuff think it sounds like the clutch is slipping, especially when you want to get anywhere in a hurry. Luckily with the Datsun GO CVT, the car has a low weight and a decently punchy engine and so the feel of the CVT isn't bad. On the launch some had mentioned that the revs felt all over the place and that the drive wasn't as smooth as it should be. I did feel similar, but not really enough to annoy me, and what I found out during a week with the car was that this was corrected rather easily. What I have managed to find out from living with the car is that if you fine-tune your driving style, particularly with the accelerator pedal, then you can eliminate that feeling and actually enjoy your journey a lot more.
With a CVT, when you mash your right foot flat, the revs climb to the highest possible position on the tachometer and the speed slowly climbs up match the revs, and when you're up to the speed you want you back off the accelerator and the revs will drop from a scream back to somewhere in the middle of the rev range. With the Datsun GO CVT it's much the same, buuuuuuuut if you adjust your driving style a little you can have a much more rewarding drive. Instead of mashing your right foot and waiting for the speed to catch the revs, you can sort of feather the throttle and the revs will rise to a decent RPM without it feeling like the engine wants to bite you and then back to a normal range and the car will pull off much faster and smoother. It sort of flattens the curve (not in a spreading virus kind of way) and makes it 100% possible to make a Renault Kwid look like it hit reverse in a TLGP. There's at least one Kwid owner out there who's not gonna race a Datsun GO anytime soon. It took a couple of days to perfect this, but soon it became muscle memory and a no-brainer.
Once I had the driving style down, I found the little Datsun GO CVT to be a great runaround. It's actually a decent-looking car, especially in Vivid Blue as seen here, but to make me properly happy with it (if it were mine), I'd arrange a bit of an introduction to terra firma with some suspension tweaks and I'd add in some aftermarket JDM-style 15-inch wheels. I spent almost two tanks of petrol driving the GO CVT, I drove lots of back roads, short cuts, short drives and even took the car on a bunch of longer runs. The furthest trek was to the Emerald Speed Fest, a decent 100km away. It was highway most of the way, and also rather wet and miff out, but I still had me a pleasant drive. I hooked up my Country by Krutch playlist on YouTube Music and had Dierks Bentley telling me about Becky from South Alabama through the infotainment system via Android Auto, I set my right ankle into cruise position (I have built-in cruise control thanks to a fused ankle joint) and enjoyed the drive at a constant 120-ish. The best part is that the Datsun GO CVT was showing me fuel consumption figures of just 5.2-litres/100km, in fact, it was never above 5.9 at any time. The rumbling 1200cc 3-cylinder creates 57kW and 104Nm of torque, which it clearly uses pretty damn well.
The Datsun GO CVT is a good option if you're needing an automatic car in this segment. It's no longer the GO of old; it looks better, is better equipped and has ABS and dual airbags. It's gonna set you back just R187 900 and that gets you a 6-year / 150 000km warranty too. The competition in this segment is getting rather interesting, the A and B segments are starting to include some really good little cars that make either a great entry into a the world of driving or brilliant downsizing options for those who are changing lifestyles. Shopping around will do you good.