Engine: 1.8-litre 96kW/174Nm petrol
Transmission: Six-speed CVT automatic
Fuel economy: 6.7 litres/100km
Equipment: Includes Bluetooth wireless
Safety: No crash test yet
Factory warranty: 3-year/100,000km
The Pulsar badge replaces the Tiida and returns to New Zealand after an absence of seven years. The sedan enters a segment of the market dominated by hatchbacks and their luggage-carrying versatility. But a whopping 510-litre boot in the Pulsar – bigger than that of the Holden Commodore, for example – could help it eat into hatchback sales. That’s the good news. The not-so-good is that the class-leading load space could have been cavernous had Nissan allowed the rear seat backs to fold forward. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to like about the Pulsar, especially on the inside. The cabin layout is simple and spacious; the dashboard and its instrument pack is well laid out; all the major switchgear falls quickly to hand. On the road the Pulsar is a mixed bag. Town and around, on streets and motorways, it’s comfortable and quiet, the steering nicely weighted, the twin-stage automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) using its spread of ratios to pull away under a light throttle without the high-revving characteristics of some CVT units. But the car is not as composed under heavy throttle on a winding country road. The engine noise booms out as the CVT searches for a gear to match revs, and the steering loses its accuracy as the suspension struggles to reign in a soft front end that wants to run wide, or understeer.
Roomy interior, clear instruments, quiet and smooth at cruising speeds.
Not so good
Average handling, not as well equipped as some rivals.