What's the used Nissan Pulsar hatchback like?
For a number of years, Nissan had been taking the SUV market by storm but had nothing to offer to challenge the likes of the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf. This allowed rivals such as Kia and Hyundai to slot themselves into one of the biggest car segments there is. So, Nissan had to respond, and the Pulsar was the result.
Nissan aims the Pulsar at new car buyers looking for value, so it undercuts established rivals on price and equips most models with a number of high-tech safety features. This is good news for used car buyers, because you're able to find premium car levels of safety technology for similar money to a Kia Cee'd and Hyundai i30
There are three engine choices in the Pulsar: the 114bhp 1.2 DIG-T turbocharged petrol, the 187bhp 1.6 DIG-T petrol and the 109bhp 1.5 dCi diesel. The 1.5 diesel is a little gruff and noisy when accelerating but quietens down at a cruise, while the 1.2 petrol is flexible and the 1.6 petrol is fairly nippy. The 1.6 also gets slightly sharper steering and altered suspension to make it better to drive, although those changes don’t make a huge amount of difference.
On the whole, the Pulsar is more for those who want an easy-to-drive a vehicle that's relatively hushed. It isn’t particularly engaging to drive and it has some foibles; it could do with more feel around the clutch pedal's biting point, and while the steering is light around town, it doesn’t build in weight progressively at higher speeds and therefore takes some getting used to. There is at least a decent amount of grip and the handling is predictable, even if you go into a corner too quickly.
It’s a case of durability rather than premium quality in the Pulsar – some of the plastics aren’t great to the touch. A touchscreen infotainment system isn’t standard on some of the more basic models, but there are plenty of chunky buttons, so the dashboard is easy to operate.
There's plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and seats in the front, but they don’t come with lumbar support and can be uncomfortable for some drivers on longer journeys. Rear passengers have plenty of room to stretch their legs, and the small central tunnel means there’s sufficient foot room for three people abreast.
The boot is an impressive size for a car of this type, beating the Golf's and Focus's for volume, but it doesn’t have a variable-height floor and there’s an annoying load lip to deal with. There's also a hump in the extended floor when the rear seats are folded down.