Nissan Pulsar Review
The Nissan Pulsar is in the very competitive hatchback segment, but does it have what it takes to beat its rivals?
- Very spacious rear
- Safety Shield technologies
- Good fuel efficiency
- Lacks interior premium finish
Now you might remember the Almera, Nissan’s hatchback model which last saw the light nearly a decade ago. The manufacturer then changed the five-door model outlook with the Qashqai, which is now one of the best selling cars in the UK. But Nissan were keen to bring back a hatchback and released the Pulsar as a way to get back into the second largest segment in the UK.
On the Road
The Pulsar is available with a 1.2-litre DIG-T petrol and a 1.5-litre dCI diesel. The smooth petrol engine, mated with a six-speed manual transmission produces 115PS and is quite punchy, while the four-cylinder diesel which generates 110PS and has 260Nm of torque is well suited to the Pulsar. Nissan have also added a DIG-T 190PS 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine to the lineup for those wanting a bit more power, as it gets from 0-62mph in just 7.7 seconds and has a top speed of 135mph.
Fuel efficiency matters more now to drivers and Nissan have reflected this with figures ranging from 49.5mpg to 78.5mpg across the engines, with CO2 emissions from as little as 94g/km.
The Nissan Pulsar’s driving experience isn’t the most enthralling and we expected more from the hatchback. Steering is accurate and responsive, with the added Active Trace Control, which will give traction when accelerating out of bends and the longer wheelbase, it does make it feel well planted out on the roads.
But the ride isn’t too great at times, motorway journeys are fine but it doesn’t sit well on less than smooth surfaces and occupants can be jostled about a bit.
Nissan have produced a well insulated cabin, road and wind noise is kept to a minimum although the diesel engine can get quite noisy as it goes through the rev range. The better option if engine noise does irritate is the 1.2-litre petrol which is much quieter.
In the car
There is quite a mix of plastics in the Pulsar which lets the interior down slightly as it lacks a premium finish. The 5.8-inch touchscreen looks quite small in the centre console, but there is also a 5-inch Advanced Drive-Assist Display for the driver that sits between the dials in the instrument panel which shows navigation, speed and Nissan’s Safety Shield technologies.
Their revolutionary Around View Monitor will mean you will never have to worry about parking again as this nifty addition gives a bird’s eye view of the car as you park, direct to the touchscreen, which also features media and navigation.
Smartphone connectivity is available with Bluetooth, Aux-in and USB slots.
There are four trims available: Visia, Acenta, n-tec and Tekna. Standard equipment includes alloy wheels, electric windows, air-conditioning, a tyre pressure monitoring system and a Stop & Start system. Acenta adds automatic lights and wipers and the i-key system, while privacy glass and a colour reversing camera are just some of the extras available. Top of the range Tekna includes the Nissan Safety Shield system.
The best thing about the Nissan Pulsar is the space. With the longest wheelbase in class there is a huge, class-leading, 692mm of rear knee room, ideal for taller people. Boot space is also very accommodating holding 385-litres, slightly more than the Seat Leon and with all seats folded flat, it is also class leading with 1395-litres available to pack in luggage and bikes. The only minus point is that because it has a deep boot, then once the rear seats are folded the load space isn’t fully flat.
The Nissan Pulsar is priced from £15,995 and is in a competitive segment against the likes of the Ford Focus and the more expensive Volkswagen Golf. The spacious interior and Safety Shield technologies give it an edge over competitors, but it is lacking in the looks department. There is the option to personalise your Pulsar with the Nissan Design Studio if you want to make it stand out.
Running costs will be really good for the Pulsar, with CO2 emissions as low as 94g/km for the 1.5-litre diesel then Vehicle Excise Duty will fall into Band A so will cost nothing.
There are soft touch materials, gloss black and chrome detailing in the interior of the Pulsar but there is quite a lot of plastics which don’t make it feel as premium as it should from Nissan.
In terms of reliability, the manufacturer sits behind fellow Japanese rival Toyota and although there have been some issues with the Qashqai, it’s the all-electric Leaf which has proved to be a winner for Nissan.
The Nissan Pulsar scored the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP tests, rating highly for child occupant protection.
It comes with six airbags, Isofix, a tyre pressure monitoring system, stability control and Nissan have also added their Safety Shield system which includes Lane Departure and Blind Spot Warning and Moving Object Detection and Forward Emergency Braking. A self-cleaning camera is also available so the safety systems will always be accurate.