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Nissan's European Pulsar revealed

Family resemblance: The Pulsar takes styling cues from other recent Nissan models including the Qashqai and X-Trail SUVs.

Turbocharged engines, premium cabin and new safety tech for Euro-spec Nissan Pulsar


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21 May 2014

NISSAN ripped the covers off its European-market Pulsar hatch overnight, revealing the car that will take the fight to segment heavyweights Volkswagen Golf and Ford FocusNissan Australia confirmed earlier this week that the European Pulsar would not replace the existing Thai-sourced hatch and sedan range that went on sale in sedan form here early last year and in hatch in mid 2013.

“Nissan Australia does not currently plan to release the recently announced European-market Nissan Pulsar,” the statement said. “Nissan Australia will continue selling the current Australian-market Pulsar in both hatch and sedan format for the local small car market.”

The Spanish-built new C-segment contender – on sale in Europe in the northern hemisphere autumn later this year – carries the Japanese car-maker's latest design language, with similar styling to the mechanically related Qashqai crossover.

At the front end, the Pulsar features a softer version of the Qashqai's V-motion headlight and grille combination, while at the rear, the tail-lights follow the same theme as its crossover sibling. The overall shape of the European hatch is similar to the Thai-built hatch available in Australia.

The colour of the Pulsar in the official press images matches the Qashqai press pictures from when it was revealed in November last year, highlighting Nissan's desire to leverage the popularity of the Qashqai in Europe.

The Pulsar is believed to be built on the Renault-Nissan Alliance C-platform that also underpins the Qashqai crossover that will replace the Dualis in Australian showrooms in August and the T32 X-Trail that went on sale here in April.

At 4385mm long, the Pulsar is 90mm longer than the Australian-spec model, while its 2700mm wheelbase, which Nissan is claiming as the best in its class, is just 5mm shorter than the X-Trail (2705mm).

The long wheelbase makes for ample space in the back seat which Nissan says has 692mm of knee-room, eclipsing a number of larger mid-size offerings.

A trio of turbocharged engines will be available under the Pulsar's rounded, bulbous bonnet, including an 85kW 1.2-litre petrol unit and an 81kW/260Nm 1.5-litre diesel from launch.

Volkswagen's segment-leading Golf hatch in 90TSI guise produces 90kW/200Nm while the diesel-powered 110TDI pumps out 110kW/320Nm.

In 2015, a more powerful 140kW 1.6-litre petrol engine will be introduced to top the range, which could put it in warm-hatch territory but not quite in the league of the 162kW/350Nm Golf GTI.

The front-wheel drive Pulsar is matched with Nissan's Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) but is also likely to be available with a six-speed manual transmission for the European market.

Nissan also says that the Pulsar – which will be built at the company's Barcelona, Spain manufacturing plant – features high quality materials in the cabin and an “unusually high” level of equipment for the segment.

A suite of safety features that Nissan calls Safety Shield will be available in the Pulsar and will include emergency braking, lane departure and blind spot warnings and moving object detection. Nissan claims that this is the only vehicle in its class to offer this safety technology on at least one variant.

Other technology features include the second-generation version of the NissanConnect system that uses smartphone integration to access a number of apps such as Google Send-to-Car that sends an address from Google Maps directly to the cars sat-nav system.

The Pulsar marks Nissan's return to the small-car segment in Europe after a seven-year absence following the demise of the N16 Almera (sold as the Pulsar in Australia) that ceased production in 2007.

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