The new Nissan Pulsar is the brand’s answer to the VW Golf
, Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra that are parked in millions of garages across the UK. The C-segment saloon is the overdue replacement for the Almera, with the Pulsar name used to great effect in foreign markets. Yet this is a car designed and engineered for Europe.
It looks like an old Megane met a Qashqai in a dark alley…
The looks are clearly Nissan corporate: that grille, the blistered wheel arches and the taillights that look 3D-printed from a Qashqai. It’s not quite as fresh to the eyes as we’d hoped, and that rump looks very Renault, with that flat-topped roof.
The wheelbase is 2700mm, longer than any other C-segment offering, with the overall length 4385mm. Nissan has played up the rear-seat space, comparing its 692mm with D-segment cars.
What’s under the bonnet?
Two engines will be offered at launch: one petrol and one diesel. The petrol 113bhp 1.2-litre turbocharged four-pot that we recently drove in the updated Juke
has been confirmed for the entry-level Pulsar. It’s a stellar powerplant that’s also used in the new Qashqai as well as the Renault Megane
, the latter of which the Pulsar will be battling against for sales.
The engine will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission, or the optional ‘X-Tronic’ Continuously Variable Transmission that we’ve tried in the Nissan X-Trail
. A second petrol engine – the 187bhp 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder, again used in the Juke – will arrive for the Pulsar in early 2015.
There’s also a diesel Pulsar, with its 1.5-litre four developing 108bhp and 192lb ft of torque. On paper, that stacks up well against diesel opposition: the VW Golf 1.6-litre oiler has 104bhp/170lb ft of torque and an official 74.4mpg.
Nissan claims CO2 ‘below 95g/km’ for the Pulsar, achieved with the 1.2-litre. That sounds feasible as in Juke, the next-biggest car to use that engine, the official CO2 figure is 129g/km.
When can I get one – and how much?
The Pulsar will be made in Barcelona, Spain, where it already builds the next London taxi – the NV200 – as well as other commercial vehicles. To stand a chance against its highly accomplished opposition, Nissan will have to price the Pulsar from around £13k for the 1.2-litre, and although it’s yet to confirm pricing, it seems perfectly feasible as the Juke with the same engine starts at £13,420. The Nissan Pulsar hits UK showrooms in Autumn 2014.
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