The Pulsar is new to the Nissan range and it’s thought to be the replacement for the very popular and reliable Nissan Almera. This new hatchback was released by Nissan at the end of 2014 and the number of them visible on Irish roads is increasing steadily. When the Almera first hit our roads it was an exciting machine, but before they hung up its tyres the vehicle was becoming stale. The Pulsar re-invigorates this segment for Nissan. The pizazz that was once on offer in the Almera is back, but this time with a Pulsar badge.
There are two engines available to the Irish market. The petrol offering is a 1.2 litre DIG-T engine that offers 115 bhp. This engine is available with a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. According to Nissan, the manual will bring you from 0-100 km/h in 11 seconds (12 seconds with the automatic) and it has a top speed of 190 km/h. We tested the 1.5 litre diesel model with a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s not the quickest off the mark, offering 0-100km/h in 12 seconds and a maximum speed of 190 km/h.
The Pulsar has a McPherson Strut suspension set-up to the front and the rear uses Twist Beam suspension. This makes a comfortable drive that’s good over bumps and road imperfections. To add comfort to the driving experience Nissan has added Active Trace Control to the vehicle. This helps keep the car in check on corners.
With the Pulsar, Nissan does a good job in keeping a lot of the road noise insulated. In saying that though there can be some road and wind noise – it’s not overly loud though. The petrol choices are slightly quieter and they’re more fun to drive too.
While the interior does have a lot of plastic, Nissan gets away with not making it look overly cheap. The plastic look is nicely interrupted by the Nissan Connect infotainment system’s 5 inch screen. This system is easy to use and intuitive. Connecting to Bluetooth is easily done and the infotainment system offers some online access. The seats in the Pulsar are comfortable and obviously the higher the trim you opt for, the better the furnishings. There are three trims available – XE, SV and SVE. Thankfully the bottom trim does benefit from the 5 inch touch screen and air conditioning.
In 2014 the Nissan Pulsar scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP. Their highest marks were for adult and child occupancy scoring 84% and 81% respectively. Their pedestrian safety score was high too, scoring 75%. All Pulsar vehicles come with six airbags. Also available with this vehicle is Forward Emergency Braking. This system is becoming more common in cars now and it affectively automatically applies the brakes if it senses an oncoming collision.
This is where the Pulsar shines. Apart from being a nice-enough vehicle to look at, it’s very generous on the space front. Leg room and head room to the front and to the rear is excellent. It would offer more space than most vehicles in its class. The boot offers 385 litres which makes it larger than that of the Volkswagen Golf.