Just after Nissan India's president Thomas Kuehl confirmed that a Datsun SUV is in the works, a Motorbeam reader has snapped a pre-production prototype testing in Chennai. It is speculated that it is the first time Nissan India's Vitara Brezza rival was snapped on the road, but the lack of the extra bodywork (the Datsun Cross is an enriched Go+) on this prototype leads to the possibility that it is the Go+ facelift expected this year in India.
The prototype wears the production-spec sheet metal styled with some influence drawn from the Datsun Go-Cross concept unveiled locally at Auto Expo 2016. The rear looks similar to the Datsun Cross that has been introduced in Indonesia. The exterior styling looks more of a crossover than a sleek SUV like the Maruti Vitara Brezza and Tata Nexon.
This styling is in line with the Datsun Go-Cross; it appears to focus on interior space to lure customers. Judging by the boxy rear-end, we think Datsun could offer a pair of foldable seats to accommodate more people. What it keeps in common with all other Datsuns on sale are the skinny tires, which dampen the butch looks one would typically associate with an SUV.
The Datsun SUV for India is reported to be based on the CMF-A platform that it will share with the future Renault RBC MPV, and measure under 4 meters. No diesel power is being planned for the Datsun SUV; instead, the chosen motor is reportedly the turbocharged version of the redi-GO's 1.0L 3-cyl petrol engine that will produce 80+ hp. Thanks to the turbocharger, expect the motor to have good low-end torque for quick city tractability, and excellent fuel economy owing to the small size of the motor.
A 5-speed manual could be a likely transmission option, while Datsun may work on an AMT version to cater to the rising demand in automatic SUVs.