#30 Datsun mi-Do and on-DO – The Japanese motoring icon returns

Datsun originated in Japan as DAT-GO (the DAT-car) almost a century ago in 1914. The word DAT means ‘lightning-fast’ in Japanese but is also a reference to the first letters of family names of the three financiers who supported the business at the time: Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi.

Datsun on-DO

The DAT-GO was promoted using the same logic: Durable, Attractive and Trustworthy, or DAT for short. In 1933, Nissan’s founding father Yoshisuke Aikawa took over the business with a vision of “mobility for all”. The introduction of a light-weight, economical yet resilient car to meet the aspirations of young Japanese people in the early 1930s was named the ‘son of DAT’ (Datson) which later changed to Datsun.


Local engineering and mass-production made the founder’s dream a reality. The automotive company continued to produce vehicles for more than 50 years. During this time more than 20 million vehicles were delivered to customers worldwide. In 1981 the Datsun brand was phased out. The company was rebadged to Nissan as it begun a massive global expansion.  

Datsun 100A

One of its most famous Datsun models was the 100A (also known as the Cherry in some markets). The compact car was Datsun’s very first front-wheel-drive car. The 100A was available as either a hatchback or saloon. Powering the car was a choice of two engines; 1.0 litre a 49 kW (66 hp) and a 1.2-litre 62 kW (83 hp) unit. A 4-speed manual was responsible for shifting gears.

Datsun Go+

The Datsun 100A was a cheap and well-built compact car for the masses. The Datsun 100A later became the Nissan Sunny. Recently Nissan retuned the Datsun brand back to the market. The brand is now featured on low-cost models manufactured for emerging market.

Datsun Go

The latest Datsun vehicles have the great qualities visible on past models such as the 100A. This means they are well build, cheap and meant for the masses. That Datsun range expands further with the addition of two more models; the on-DO and mi-DO. The two models join Datsun’s other models namely the Go and Go+

D-Cut grille 

The mi-DO is a practical five-door hatchback while the on-DO is Datsun’s first modern four door saloon. Both models feature Datsun’s new confident “D-Cut” grille. The grille is flanked by dramatically elongated projector headlamps, which stretch to fender to create a look that differentiates saloon and hatchback. Both models, just like the Datsun 100A, feature front wheel drive. The Datsun mi-DO is 3,950 mm long compared to the on-DO at 4,337 mm.
Datsun mi-DO

The mi-DO and on-DO feature a 64 kW (87 hp) 1.6-liter power unit, which is slightly more powerful than the Datsun 100A’s 1.2-litre unit. Paired with the 1.6-litre engine is a five speed manual or a four speed automatic. Both cars offer smooth and comfortable urban driving, while multifunctional, practical features and generous ground clearance mean a worry-free road experience on even or uneven road conditions.
The instrument panel, with metallic accents, features a smooth and elegant look. Well-designed storage spaces throughout the interior provide a spot for just about everything. The mi-DO and on-DO have supportive front seats as well as comfortable rear seats and spacious legroom.

mi-DO’s rear 

Practical touches include 60:40 split folding rear seats to maximize luggage space. Both the mi-DO and on-DO comes fitted with a driver and passenger airbag as well as ABS. 

Spacious and versatile interior 


The mi-DO and on-DO reignite the Datsun brand to the world and continue with Mr Yoshisuke Aikawa’s philosophy of providing mobility to all. Although the mi-DO and on-DO are more modern compared to the Datsun 100A, they continue with the same trend of offering cheap, well-build and affordable to the masses.

on-DO’s rear 

Currently both models are available in Russia. They are expected to debut in India and South Africa at a later date.