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FleetPoint Test Drive The Nissan Pulsar
by Neil Thomason
March 11, 2015
VERDICT: The Pulsar offers a comfortable, no-thrills ride with good handling and enough room for a family of 5 with belongings in tow. At the same time, the 1.2 litre engine is under-powered and the cabin has...
FLEETPOINT RATING: Three star rating
PRICE: £ 12,940
Quiet cabin, comfortable ride, spacious interior Dull to drive, gutless engines, some safety kit optional

Max Power:
85 (115)/4500
Max torque:
Top speed:
6.1 sec
The Pulsar hatchback is packed with technology to keep you safe on the road, including the Around View Monitor, which gives you a bird's-eye view of your vehicle and makes parking simple, and Moving Object Detection, which warns you of anything moving behind the car before it's too late.
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The Pulsar is a very quiet drive, especially at motorway cruising speed. The 1.2 litre, 113bhp turbocharged petrol engine delivers a zesty urban drive, however there is a lack of power when it comes to motorway driving.

The 6 speed manual gearbox is smooth and the 1st, 2nd & 3rd gear ratios combined with the turbo give a nippy feel but the engine does need to be pushed hard beyond urban speeds.

The Visia model we drove comes complete with a plethora of safety features including six airbags, ABS, EBD, ESP and Brake Assist, active Trace Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, disc brakes both front and rear and a whopping 2700mm wheelbase. When all of this is combined, what you get is a sure footed ride, direct steering and great stopping power when needed. The brakes were smooth but they weren't as responsive as I'm used to and you really had to jam your foot down for them to jolt awake, as opposed to just tapping for gradual slowing when approaching lights. On top of this, there is also quite a bit of body roll when cornering and the car can feel a bit unsettled on rough road surfaces.

Faster 1.6-litre turbo versions of the Pulsar are on the way later this year, but even this extra power won’t necessarily turn the Pulsar into an entertaining drive. Instead, decent ride quality and light controls are the order of the day here.
Where the Pulsar really excels is in the amount of space it offers drivers and passengers. In fact, from looking at the car from the outside to getting in, it has a bit of a TARDIS quality to it.

Whereas it may look like an ordinary hatchback from the outside, in terms of space the Pulsar blows its competitors out of the water and is more comparable to a Mondeo and Passat than a Focus or Golf.

The interior is surely the largest in its class, with it offering a nice and high driving position and the rear comfortably accommodating two large adults. The absence of a transmission tunnel even means that if you're forced to sit in the middle you still get plenty of leg space. On top of this, the boot offers 385 litres of space to play with.
Running Cost
Manufacturer figures claim that the 1.2 DIG-T engine delivers 56.5mpg and 115g/km. On our test we didn’t quite achieve those figures, however we did manage to achieve a figure closer to 48mpg... so it's not exactly a gas guzzler and provides economy and value for money in this regard.
If performance is your thing, then the Nissan Pulsar doesn’t exactly get the pulse racing, however if you are looking for an economy model that provides a sensible blend of space, comfort and value then you can do a lot worse.
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