Nissan Pulsar (2014 – 2018) Review

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Nissan Pulsar (2014 – 2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
If space, practicality, comfort and efficiency are your priorities, the Nissan Pulsar is a worthy alternative to the Skoda Octavia.

+Refined and comfortable hatchback, huge amounts of rear legroom, quiet engines even at motorway speeds, good equipment levels as standard.

-Ordinary to drive, drab interior, doesn't stand out from the competition.

Insurance Groups are between 10–13
On average it achieves 79% of the official MPG figure

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.

Looking for a Nissan Pulsar (2014 - 2018)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

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.

Ask Honest John

What economical car is suitable for elderly and tall passengers that could also do 435 miles per week?
"I'm trying to buy a car suitable for my mother's mobility issues, my tall family members and my 435 miles per week. It also needs to take a walking frame in the boot. I like the Nissan Pulsar and Toyota Auris. I'd like the Pulsar but I'm very influenced by your reviews and the long term reviewer said there is a problem with the low front of the car on inclines and on speed bumps. Dublin is speed bump crazy. Is there any chance this issue is fixable? The Auris takes the walking frame and I think the door opens quite wide. Should I buy a hybrid for the 435 miles of mixed driving each week? Or should I just buy one of these cars in diesel? I'd prefer petrol if it is economical but I realise it probably isn't."
An Auris hybrid Touring Sport should suit everyone. Petrol hybrid. Extremely reliable. Low maintenance costs. 50-60mpg.
Answered by Honest John
Nissan Pulsar vs Peugeot 308 - which is best for comfort?
"I need to buy a new car and am trying to decide between the Nissan Pulsar and the Peugeot 308. Comfort is my main concern. I also hate cars with body roll in the corners. Which should I choose, the Pulsar or 308? "
Peugeot 308 1.2 Puretech 130 Active spec upwards. Forget the Pulsar.
Answered by Honest John
Is the 1.2 Nissan Pulsar powerful enough for overtaking?
"I am considering buying a new reliable and spacious car which I intend to keep for many years. I quite like the Nissan Pulsar but only with the petrol engine 1.2 dig-T due to my low mileage. However I am worried about the power of this engine for overtaking on long distance journeys. Is it adequate or should I look elsewhere? I also read that it consumes a lot of petrol when pressing the engine. What do you think?"
Should do 45-50mg if you don't push the engine too hard. But a Peugeot 308 1.2 Puretech 130 gives a better combination of performance and fuel economy because it has excellent torque (230Nm).
Answered by Honest John

What does a Nissan Pulsar (2014 – 2018) cost?