Nissan Pulsar 1.5

DCI Tekna

Nissan Pulsar, front, action
Nissan Pulsar, front, static
Nissan Pulsar, head on
Nissan Pulsar, front, action
Nissan Pulsar, side, action
Nissan Pulsar, side
Nissan Pulsar, rear, action
Nissan Pulsar, rear
Nissan Pulsar, interior
Nissan Pulsar, boot

REMEMBER the Nissan Almera? No, not many people do.

Well, it was a perfectly acceptable - if rather dull - family hatchback and it didn't quite catch the public's eye.

It's been gone a full decade now, and since then Nissan has had a runaway success with the Qashqai crossover.

But not everyone needs or wants an SUV lookalike or a people carrier and there's living proof the hatchback sector is alive and kicking ...witness the success of the Focus, Golf and Astra.

So Nissan two years ago made a bold return to the fold with the five-door Pulsar which uses the same engines and much of the running gear as the Qashqai. Cheaper than the Golf, it is well equipped, roomy and robust.

Two petrol versions are available - a 1.2-litre 113bhp economy model and a 1.6-litre 188bhp, sporty model.

Then there's the 1.5-litre turbo diesel which with 108bhp and a useful amount of torque is the car to appeal to families and fleet users alike for its zero road tax and high economy. Around the 50mpg mark on everyday journeys is within easy reach.

It was this model, in top line Tekna trim, that I drove. Even the entry version gets five-inch colour screen, cruise control and air con.

By the time you are up to Tekna level the compact, but rather upright standing Pulsar has such treats as heated mirrors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, surround camera system and lane departure warning. The price of the 1.5 DCI Tekna is £22,445.

Deceptively roomy within the cabin, the Pulsar is well finished with high quality trim, an attractive but practical facia and plenty of family-friendly pockets and storage places to carry necessary oddments.

The controls are light and well placed. Luggage must be lifted over a high sill into the boot, but dimensions are generous and up to 385litres of cargo can be carried, making it one of the roomiest cars in its class. Fold the rear seats down and this expands to 1,395 litres.

So, the Pulsar satisfies or exceeds demands on accommodation and economy, but how does it drive?

If you are expecting a comfortable car but not a sporty one, then you will be quite happy. While it scores well in terms of refinement and ride standard, even over undulating or pock-marked roads, it doesn't break new ground in athleticism or dynamics and the steering is a tad too light to be communicative.

Cornering is safe and predictable, and despite some body roll, adhesion is up to the class average.

The six-speed gearbox is reasonably light but the change has a long-throw action. Acceleration is slightly below the class average with 62mph coming up in just over 11 seconds. Top speed is 118mph.

Gear ratios are relatively high which benefits quiet, relaxed cruising but means inclines may force you to change down earlier than normal.


Nissan Pulsar 1.5 DCI Tekna

Price: £22,245

Mechanical:108bhp, 1,461cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 11.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 78.5

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 94g/km

Bik rating: 14%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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