Is your car your pride and joy, or are you ready for a change? Let us know and you could win a £300 John Lewis voucher | No thanks

Nissan Pulsar (2014–2018)

Last updated 21 March 2019

Kerb weight 1205–1330 kg
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Servicing 12,500–18,000 miles

Full specifications


The Pulsar majors on comfort rather than sharp handling and it certainly rides well, coping well with rough roads and potholes. It's also impressive on the motorway where it will cruise along in a very relaxed nature helped by low noise levels both in terms of engines and general road noise.

It's certainly an effortless car to drive and easy to park in town too thanks to good visibility. Where it's not so strong is through corners. The steering is reasonably well weighted but it feels artificial and it lacks the agility of other hatchbacks like the SEAT Leon and isn't as keen into bends. Front end grip could be better and while the forgiving suspension set up is good for comfort, it also means considerable body roll in corners.

While this is by no means the be-all and end-all for a family hatchback like this, it does mean the Pulsar is dull to drive. Of course that's not a priority for everyone and the Pulsar redeems itself in other areas. The major controls are all well weighted and the shift on the six-speed gearbox has a rewardingly positive action.

Just two engines are available in the Pulsar from launch - a diesel and a petrol. Fortunately both are very good but it's the 1.2-litre DIG-T that impresses the most. Despite its modest size it produces 115PS and the fact that it's turbocharged means it has a decent torque figure of 190Nm that's available from low revs. 

It has good eagerness low down, making it ideal around town, and although it can run out of puff at higher revs, it pulls reasonably well in-gear making it more than adequate for motorway driving. In fact at around 70mph it feels very quiet and relaxed. It doesn't have the zest of rival engines like Volkswagen's 1.2 TSI, but it's incredibly refined nonetheless while claimed economy is 56.5mpg.

The other choice is the 1.5 dCi diesel with 110PS. If you're covering longer distances then this is the best choice thanks to official economy of 78.5mpg while CO2 emissions of 94g/km means there's no annual car tax to pay. Like the petrol engine, the dCi is very quiet in the Pulsar with little vibration through the clutch pedal or into the cabin, even when pulling from low revs.

The dCi comes as standard with the same slick six-speed manual gearbox as the DIG-T but currently there's no automatic diesel model, the only auto is the XTronic CVT on the 1.2-litre.

All Pulsar models, with the exception of the entry-level Visia, come with Nissan's Forward Emergency Braking system as standard. Like Ford's Active City Stop system, this will automatically apply the brakes if it recognises via a radar that an impact is inevitable and if the driver doesn't react.


Engine MPG 0-62 Top speed CO2
1.2 DIG-T 54–57 mpg 10.7 s 118 mph 117–118 g/km
1.2 DIG-T Automatic 55 mpg 12.7 s 115 mph 118–119 g/km
1.5 dCi 74–79 mpg 11.5 s 118 mph 94–118 g/km
1.6 DIG-T 37–50 mpg 7.8 s 135–215 mph 134–138 g/km

Ask Honest John

Value my car