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Our Cars: Nissan Pulsar

13 July 2016: Start to stop getting the hump...

The Details

Current mileage 7842
Claimed economy 47.9mpg
Actual economy 41.0mpg

Something that's really apparent on our Pulsar is that the front end is very low. Maybe it's just the DIG-T 190 version I’m driving with the 18-inch alloys, but this car does not like speed bumps or sleeping policemen at all. You have to almost come to a halt to avoid the scraping sound of the front dragging across the tarmac.

Parking in my local high street is where it is really apparent. You have to park perpendicular to the road on a slight incline. It's no problem parking, but when you reverse out and aren't going at a snail's pace, you'll hear the distinct sound of the car dragging its front end.

Of course you'd always be reversing slowly out of a space like this, but in the Pulsar you have to do it painfully slowly. And being a busy high street, there are plenty of onlookers whose reaction tends to mirror your own facial expressions as the scraping sound is in full force.

What else is immediately apparent in the Pulsar 190 is the engine note and accelerator pick up. I’ve noticed this right from the outset and put it down to my driving style. If you're stationary at a junction and apply some revs there's a slight delay. It's a little bit like a diesel.

Nissan Pulsar Panning

                                        The Pulsar's low front end, seen here in action...

That may sound strange but you need to drive one to understand. It's quite tricky to pull away smoothly in first gear. If you rev the car, there's a very slight delay and what's odd is it hangs before dropping revs again. I thought by now I would have got used to it, but after 5000 miles I’m still finding it slightly annoying as it does cause problems trying to pull away smoothly.

The only way to combat it is to anticipate this and keep the cars revs up very slightly. Which brings me onto the cars start/stop function. It's the opposite of every other bit of tech in the car which seems to be oversensitive.

The start/stop is the opposite. It rarely ever cuts in at roundabouts or junctions at all. Don't get me wrong, I actually like this as there's nothing worse than start/stop cutting in at every given moment.

But it's so infrequent that when it does, you tend to panic and think something's wrong. It's quite strange and a bit of a contradiction putting start/stop in a hot hatch. So perhaps on reflection the balance of this cutting in is just right. Well, for me it is anyway.

« Earlier: Papers please...     Later: Cat cam in the Pulsar »

Updates
After six months we've come to the end of our time with the slightly-sporty Pulsar. So what's the final verdict?
It's time for our Pulsar to have its first service as it approaches 10,000 miles already. So how does Nissan do on the customer service front?
Matt is trying to work out whether our Pulsar is a sporty hatch or merely a family car with some posh wheels on...
The Pulsar isn't matching the claimed Nissan figures for fuel economy but it's still proving reasonably frugal as Matt finds out...
Need extra room in your hatch? We did and the solution was a posh roof box for our sporty Nissan.
The Pulsar has lots of cameras on board to make parking and tight manouevres easier. So do they actually help?
13 July 2016: Start to stop getting the hump...
The low front end of our Pulsar is causing some problems when it comes to speed bumps and parking. As Matt finds out.
The Pulsar has keyless start but, as Matt finds out, it can be a temperamental system. He'd be happy with a conventional key.
Our Pulsar is fitted with a host of safety tech. But what happens when that tech decides not to work?
Our Pulsar is a kind of hot hatch that meets family runabout. But in reality, the two couldn't be further apart from each other. So does it work.
The Pulsar comes with an array of safety systems. But do they actually help you to become a better - and safer - driver?
Enter the Pulsar. Nissan's new Almera. And Matt will be running this sporty DIG-T 190 model for the next six months.
 

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