Friday, 14 December 2018

Pulsar’s winning lightness of being

NISSAN’S new Pulsar has a small engine that might just set your pulse racing.

NISSAN’S new Pulsar has a small engine that might just set your pulse racing.

It is something called a 1.2 DIG-T. That’s just 1,197cc of turbo-charged petrol power that takes you by surprise when you first get behind the wheel of the Pulsar.

I’m not saying the acceleration on this car is electric — 0 to 62mph figures in a smart 10.7 seconds is, however, very respectable. But there is a lightness of being about the Pulsar that I liked from the outset.

It is an oddity in one way: the Pulsar moniker is a revival for Nissan, as the original was produced from 1978 to 2000. The name has a certain resonance for Nissan fans of the Japanese carmaker’s plucky hatchbacks — but in recent years has been applied to cars sold in Australia and Asia.

Now motorists in the UK have further choice with this mid-size family hatchback joining a highly competitive sector.

There are two engines available on the Pulsar — a 1.2-litre DIG-T petrol unit and a 1.5-litre dCi diesel. I hope to drive the diesel version at a later date, but as I said I was impressed with the petrol-driven test car by its pluckiness and willingness to perform.

This might drop off slightly on a big road once the pace quickens, but because of its apparent lightness of construction the Pulsar bounds enthusiastically along.

Both petrol and diesel engines available on the Pulsar are fitted with Idle Stop-Start as standard, helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and boost fuel efficiency.

The petrol-powered Pulsar’s good acceleration is complemented by its fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions: 56.5mpg on the combined cycle and emissions of 117g/km.

Nissan does not stint on the equipment either in the Pulsar. These include Safety Shield system with Moving Object Detection, Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning. The latter is at last finding its way on to smaller cars and Nissan should be congratulated for making it available on the Pulsar. I believe Blind Spot Warning should be a “must” on all cars now to make motorway driving safer.

Nissan’s revolutionary Around View Monitor adds more safety, and for those literally plugged in to new technology, the latest-generation NissanConnect system offers integration with today’s smartphones and full satellite navigation functions.

The Pulsar range features four trims: Visia, Acenta, n-tec and Tekna — with all four offering high levels of standard equipment. All models come with air conditioning, five-inch Advanced Drive-Assist Display, alloy wheels and electric windows all round.

Another good thing about the Pulsar is its interior comfort: there is extra legroom in the back of the car and a good relaxed front cabin feel for both driver and front seat passenger.

This is a tough sector of the market that the Pulsar appears in, yet I think if buyers take the time to check it out, this car could be a contender.

Test car: Nissan Pulsar Acenta

On-the-road price £17,645

Five-door hatchback

Basic price of test car on-the-road: £14,658

Top comfort and technology features as standard

Longest wheelbase (2,700mm) in its class

Rear passenger legroom of 692mm is greater than the average D-Segment car

Plucky but frugal all-turbocharged engine range with emissions from 94g/km and 78mpg from 1.5 dCi 110PS

Designed and engineered for Europe, built at Nissan’s Barcelona factory

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