Nissan redefined the C segment back in 2007 with the launch of the Qashqai. Moving away from the traditional family hatchback market they have had wild success in pioneering the Crossover segment.
Well now they are returning to the family hatch market and bringing back an old name whilst they are at it.
The all new Nissan Pulsar aims to be ‘spacious, stylish and packed with technology’ we tested the 1.2 petrol DiG Turbo model. In top spec Tekna trim our test model would set you back £20,345. However the basic Visia starts from £15,995.
Nissan have been doing rather well on the design front lately, the Pulsar is no exception.
Its bold, muscular looks are well defined and give it a beefy road presence. Large front headlamps frame the Nissan ‘flying V’ that flows up the bonnet – the now standard range look.
Side on you get large glass windows and some subtle style lines, whilst at the back you find some very Qashqai-esque rear lamps that cut into the quarter panels.
Overall the Pulsar is a smart looker, much better than the new Ford Focus. Not vastly overt it holds its own being fresh and up to date.
We enjoyed the plucky little 1.2 litre DiG-T engine in the Qashqai and the Pulsar is no different.
The 113 BHP unit provides plenty of low end grunt it is geared to maximise low speed acceleration and around town it is fairly nippy with a quick pick up, it’s rather impressive to say this diminutive engine can provide such low end poke.
At higher motorway speeds this initial fizz dies down, in gear acceleration is a little on the laboured side, you may have to change down a gear or two to quickly pass slower traffic.
Once up to those higher speeds kick it into 6th gear and you are practically in silence. Revs sit around 2500 RPM but the soundproofing is excellent.
In fact there is rarely any intrusion from engine or road noise, the Pulsar is that quiet you start to notice the smallest amount of wind noise from the door mirrors.
Steering is light to the touch, the center point is a little devoid of input which makes the initial turn in a bit soft, but you gain lock nicely the further you turn the wheel. Around town it’s a joy to use, but also stays put at higher motorway speeds with no correction needed.
Ride is very supple, it takes pot holes with nothing more than a dull thud. This Nissan is very well damped, there is minimal body roll in the corners but you do find a little bit of nose dive under braking.
We also drove the 1.5 diesel with 104 BHP and 260 Nm of torque. Power wise the diesel is nearly indistinguishable from the petrol, the only thing you notice is the increase in torque which helps the pace of things at higher speeds.
The diesel is also well refined with very little noise intrusion into the cabin, even under load.
Inside the Pulsar is very smart. Well laid out infotainment controls are within easy reach of the driver, you also get steering wheel controls as standard across the range.
Plastics are of a good quality up top and easy on the eye, you notice this drops slightly as you get to the door trim, but its no big deal.
Our range topping model benefitted from the full array of Nissan’s ‘Safety Shield’ gadgets. This includes lane departure warning, blind spot detection, moving object detection, forward emergency braking.
Acenta trim is the bare minimum we would recommend, if you want more toys and gadgets then pluck for the n-tec trim level, this gives you a reversing camera, Nissan Connect 2, smartphone integration and Google Send to Car.
Rear seat legroom is superb, knee room is measured at 692 mm, that’s greater than the average D segment car. Headroom is also well matched, a 6 footer shouldn’t have any issue due to the Pulsars high rear roofline.
All that passenger legroom doesn’t mean the boot suffers though, you get 385 litres with the seats up. This then expands to a whopping 1,395 litres when the rear seats are folded flat.
Nissan’s new pulsar is priced higher than the class mainstay – the Ford Focus. However the Pulsar is a fresh model to the market, arguably with more desirable looks, better legroom and a higher quality interior.
Its average driving dynamics are little to write home about, if you want something sporty and engaging you are best to look at a Mazda 3.
However if you dont fancy a crossover but need a well specced spacious family lugger, look no further.
Nissan Pulsar – Good looker, affordable tech, pricier than competition, spacious interior.