Nissan have done a brave thing, they have resurrected the Pulsar name. Not only that they have stuck it onto the back of a hatchback they hope can take the fight to the European elite. Now the Pulsar name for me, being of a Max Power generation, conjures up images of the homologation special GTiR of the early 90’s, with its massive turbo, top mounted intercooler and big rear wing. The new car, I’ll tell you now, is a far cry from that, however it might have a few trump cards up its sleeve.
New Nissan Pulsar The Visuals
Nissan released pictures of the car a few days ago and it’s fair to say, visually the car hasn’t set the world on fire. The Pulsar is quite nondescript and when viewed from the rear has something of the Coneheads about it, all fat at the bottom and skinny at the top. It is by no means an ugly car though, resembling, I think, some of Korea’s latest offerings, but unfortunately it just doesn’t have the same clean cut lines of the European rivals Nissan are keen to take the fight too. Visually things aren’t all bad, when viewed face on with that V shaped grill and LED headlights Nissan’s new hatch looks quite handsome. I think that given a decent hit with the lowering stick (here’s looking at you Nismo) the Pulsar might become slightly less non nondescript.
However, looking past the visuals, Nissan hope the Pulsar’s technology will trump its opposition. As we have looked at before with Nissan’s smaller Note the company are hell bent on making their cars as effortless as possible for the driver, meaning the Pulsar has an array of new acronyms for us to get used to. On at least one of the models in the range standard features will include, Forward Emergency Braking, Moving Object Detection, Blind Spot Warning, and Lane Departure Warning, all these form part of Nissan’s safety shield. A new NissanConnect interface is also available, allowing for full smartphone integration. Nissan also hope to woo buyers by offering the most cabin space in the sector, this has been achieved in part by the Pulsar sharing its wheelbase with the much bigger Nissan X-Trail off-roader.
Under the bonnet
Unfortunately a decidedly underwhelming range of engines will be available from launch. They do however all feature turbo chargers, but just not to the same extent as the 90’s GTiR. Instead the turbos are small and there to create a balance of efficiency and performance. Expect MPG in the 50 to 70 range and CO2 to be below 95g per km. Power outputs range from 108bhp in the 1.5 litre dci diesel to the dizzying heights of 113bhp from the 1.2 litre DIG-T petrol. Early next year we can expect a slightly more interesting 187bhp 1.6 litre petrol to be added to the range. Personally though I would welcome the Pulsar receiving the Nismo treatment much like its stable mate the Juke.
All things considered there is no escaping that the Pulsar is not really a car to set the pulse racing… sorry that was an awful pun, but on paper one that appears to be true. The Pulsar is ok to look at, probably not hugely exciting to drive, and crucially with all the computer gadgetry inside devoid of any character. It is however likely to appeal to people who literally just want to get from A to B as effortlessly as possible and being a Nissan is likely to be very reasonably priced and last for a millennium.