Nissan Pulsar 2015 review
Nissan’s renaissance continues with the release of the new Pulsar, which boasts some much desired improvements on previous models, including top new advanced safety features, and a powerful new turbo petrol engine. An evolution from the somewhat tepid Almera (phased out in 2006), the Pulsar shares the same engine and on-board technology as the much-lauded Qashqai, competing with mid-size family hatchbacks such as the VW Golf, but now with the largest interior space in its class and easily winning out on value for money.
The first thing you’ll notice that the new Pulsar has over its 2014 predecessor is that the exterior has been tweaked to make it more aerodynamic. The new model hunches close to the road like a sprinter in the blocks, with a rear spoiler and Nissan’s distinctive mesh grille to add to its sporty credentials.
Nissan’s Design Studio enables you to personalise and view a 3D model of your car before you commit to purchasing, with smart customisation options to ensure that you receive the exact specification you want. You can select the ‘Style Pack’, which lets you customise features such as mirror caps and side sills in one of three colours, whilst the ‘Premium Pack’ gives you the same options for the front bumper and boot lid embellishments.
In terms of conventional trim, the Pulsar comes in Nissan’s usual four-tier range, rising from the Visia, through the Acenta, N-tec and up to the top-class Tekna. The higher trims will see you move up from 16-inch to 17-inch alloy wheels, whilst the 1.6-litre DIG-T model comes with 18-inch alloys that compliment the overall aesthetic of the car.
Nissan have subtly recalibrated the interior space in the new Pulsar, resulting in class-leading rear leg room and a general increase in space throughout the cabin. Passengers can sit back in comfort, with soft-touch materials, dual-zone climate control and high-backed seats designed to provide additional support.
Gone are the days of Japanese car makers being associated with low value interiors. The Pulsar comes decked out in soft leather, with elegantly stylised lines and chrome detailing that would not be amiss in a model from a much higher price bracket. Whilst the interior storage options are very much in line with the Qashqai, the boot space is something of a revelation, expanding from 385 to a hefty 1,395 litres when the rear seats are rearranged.
With so much technology available to assist on the road (see below), Nissan had some way to go to ensure that the infotainment system could match up. But, tech lovers will not be disappointed as all models from the Visia upwards provide comprehensive smartphone connectivity and 5-inch TFT display, with Bluetooth to ensure you’re wireless and a host of apps to entertain and help improve your overall driving experience.
On the road
Safety through advanced integrated technology is the name of the game for the new Pulsar, with a whole host of features to help keep your family safe from the moment you use the I-Key to unlock the car hands-free and press the push-button ignition to set off. All spec models come with the full gamut of standard safety features, including six airbags, ISOFIX tethers, TPMS, VDC and ABS.
Depending on which spec you go for, the latest model includes innovations such as: a 360-degree view monitor that gives you an eye on everything around you, forward emergency braking to warn if you’re too close to the car in front, lane departure warnings, blind spot warnings and moving object detection to help with low-speed manoeuvres. All of these features are centralised in a simplified, intuitive driver assist display that’s placed between the speedometer and rev counter.
The 2015 incarnation of Nissan’s Pulsar offers a nippy new turbo-charged 1.6-litre petrol engine alternative to the 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre turbodiesel models available previously. The 1.6-litre version will give you a real performance boost, with improved suspension, sharper steering, extra built in body shell and a stiffer chassis on top of the improved horsepower. The car is no slouch when it comes to fuel economy either, with the 1.5 dCi diesel generating 78.5mpg with a tax-swerving emission rate of 94g/km. The 1.2-litre petrol can go 571 miles on a full tank, whilst the 1.6-litre petrol and diesel models can generate 484 miles and a whopping 793 miles respectively.
And best of all, even with this extra power, it still gives a nicely quiet drive and is very comfortable, with class-leading leg-room.
As Nissan’s designers have outlined, this is car is targeted more towards the refined end of the family hatchback market, rather than the sportier Mazda 3 or Ford Focus side. With clever improvements to the cabin design, ride quality and fuel efficiency rate, this transition has been accomplished and then some.
With a starting rate of just £15,995, bags of interior space and a 5-star NCAP safety rating, the Pulsar is an ideal option for families looking to get the most for their money. Based on the highly popular Qashqai, the Pulsar has proved to be one of the few realistic alternatives and shows how far Nissan have come in making this market sector their own.