By on 2022-09-13 -
Nissan Pulsar - Used
FOR me, the Nissan Pulsar was one of the top cars in the small family class during its four year production run.
That's a big claim I know, but very few others can match it in a number of ways, and of course, Nissan reliability has long been renowned.
The big cabin has loads of space - easily managing five adults with plenty of rear legroom. Others make claim to be five seaters, but only the Skoda Octavia beats this one.
Nissan was sensible when getting back into this class, which has so many good cars like the Ford Focus, VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra.
Instead of trying to compete with them, it designed the Pulsar to be bigger, more comfortable and to have more equipment for your money.
The handling and roadholding are excellent, although I would like a little more feel from the steering, and that ride quality really is as good as the best of the rest.
The range of engines might seem limited but it does have something to suit just about everyone, with two turbo petrols and a good 1.5 turbo diesel borrowed from partner Renault.
The base petrol is the 1.2 Dig-T, which comes with 113bhp and can reach 60 miles an hour from rest in 10.5 seconds. Its official economy figure is an excellent 56mpg.
The best performer is the 1.6 Dig-T, which boasts no less than 187bhp. That's good enough for a very good sprint of 7.6 seconds and it can still sip the fuel at the rate of 49mpg driven very carefully.
Finally, the 108bhp 1.5 dCi turbo diesel majors on economy - as you would expect - and rates a superb maximum of 78mpg, while still reaching 60 in 11.1 seconds.
I have driven all three models and they're all very enjoyable and easy to live with.
But the 1.6 petrol's performance makes it an absolute hoot and it would be my choice.
The engines are all sweet and willing, spinning towards the red line effortlessly, and the 1.2 petrol showed that very good ride over one of my favourite local circuits through country lanes and B-roads.
It soaked up the worst I could throw at it and did the same at slower speeds in town, treating speed humps with disdain.
Yet they all feel taut and sporting through the corners, with very good roadholding and grip, and good handling balance too.
As well as the class leading interior space, the boot is also a good size, although there's quite a high lip to lift things over.
Nissan claims the Pulsar is one of the best equipped cars in its class and looking at the kit on offer it's easy to see why.
The mid-range Acenta comes with cruise control, electric heated mirrors, all-round electric windows, stop/start, remote audio controls on the steering wheel and 16-inch alloys.
Also standard are a fully adjustable steering column, Bluetooth, five-inch touchscreen colour display, six airbags, automatic lights and wipers, climate control, keyless entry and starting, leather covered steering wheel and automatic emergency braking.
The Pulsar slipped under the radar for many people, but a car with such a wide range of abilities and big interior space should have been a top seller.
Sadly, it wasn't, but there are still many out there at decent prices which could offer great family transport for many.
Pay about Â£7,650 for an '18 18-reg 1.2 Dig-T Acenta, or Â£9,850 for a '19 68-reg 1.5 dCi Tekna.
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