Nissan Pulsar (2014 – 2018) Review
Nissan Pulsar (2014 – 2018) At A Glance
The Nissan Pulsar is a five-door family hatchback that puts the family first. Launched in 2014, the Pulsar’s key selling point in a crowded market is the amount of space for rear-seat passengers. Legroom in the back would shame a car from the class above – your children have plenty of growing room. The Pulsar also comes with a good level of equipment, if you avoid the entry-level model. We’re just not sure these are enough for it to topple the class leaders, especially in a segment dominated by the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.
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Remember the Nissan Pulsar? Probably not. After telling us that it had turned its back on the hatchback market in favour of crossovers like the Qashqai and Juke, Nissan launched the Pulsar. It was designed to slot into the place formerly occupied by the Nissan Almera, rivalling the likes of the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Auris.
With the benefit of hindsight, Nissan should have let sleeping dogs lie. It’s not that the Nissan Pulsar is a bad car, it’s just that it didn’t add anything to a particularly crowded segment. While the Qashqai and Juke seemed genuinely innovative, the Pulsar just seemed, well, a bit ‘meh’.
Notice the use of past tense. In 2018, just four years after its launch, the Pulsar was axed from the UK, with the car causing little more than a ripple in the new car market. So why is it worthy of consideration in 2020?
One word: space. It might seem like an unlikely unique selling point, but the Nissan Pulsar boasts the largest amount of rear space in its class. Back-seat passengers are treated to limo-like levels of legroom, while all passengers benefit from a huge amount of elbow room. Forget family hatchback, the Pulsar feels more like a luxury car in the back.
This doesn’t come at the expense of boot space. At 385 litres, it’s five litres larger than the Volkswagen Golf, plus you have the option of extending this to 1,395 litres by folding the rear seat. Seriously, if you’re after a spacious family hatchback, the Pulsar should be on your shortlist.
It’s also well-equipped, especially if you avoid the entry-level model. Many buyers opted for the flagship Tekna trim, which offers an excellent level of equipment, even if the infotainment system is a bit basic by today’s standards. It’s also a bit sombre in the cabin, but the level of quality is surprisingly high.
It should be cheap to run, thanks to a range of punchy and efficient engines. The 1.5-litre dCi turbodiesel is the economy hero, offering terrific long-legged efficiency with a useful amount of punch.
Don’t rule out the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which provides peppy performance in the city, with diesel-like efficiency on a long run. There’s also a 190PS 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which offers hot hatchback levels of poke, without the hot hatchback levels of ability.
This is a car that majors on ride comfort. The long wheelbase helps to iron out all but the worst road imperfections, especially if the Pulsar is riding on 16-inch alloy wheels. It’s also remarkably refined and quiet at high speeds, making the Pulsar a relaxing place to be on a long journey.
So maybe it did add something to the market. The Nissan Pulsar might lack the glamour and excitement of some of the other family hatchbacks – not to mention the glut of family crossovers on sale in 2020 – but not everybody demands excitement from a car.