1 Feb 2013
NISSAN brought back the Pulsar nameplate for its new small car after disappointing sales of the unloved Tiida, starting with the four-door sedan.
A historically significant $19,990 starting price combined with generous levels of equipment across the three-variant sedan range to hit a value-for-money sweet spot.
Entry-level ST variants came with air-conditioning, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, a multi-function steering wheel, remote keyless entry and a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth phone connectivity and auxiliary input for MP3 and iPod devices.
The mid-range ST-L added a colour audio system display with USB input, LED daytime-running lights, front foglights, a rear spoiler and upgraded interior materials including a leather steering wheel and gear selector.
Top-spec Ti variants came with a standard automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT), sat-nav, leather upholstery, dual-zone air-conditioning, dusk-sensing Xenon headlights, keyless entry and start, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth audio streaming and a reversing camera.
At 4615mm, the Pulsar’s length matched the Holden Cruze at the larger end of Australia’s small-car segment.
This resulted in class-leading interior and boot space (the latter a cavernous 510 litres that beat some mid-size and large cars) but there was no fold-down bench to expand that.
The naturally aspirated 1.8-litre petrol engine produced a relatively modest 96kW of peak power and an average 174Nm of torque, while fuel consumption was rated at 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres with the six-speed manual gearbox or 6.7L/100km with the CVT.
Nissan’s CVT featured several innovations to make it smaller, lighter and more efficient, including a sub-planetary gear that helped achieve a world-best ratio spread for low cruising engine speeds and sharp step-off acceleration without immediately entering high revs in typical CVT style.
When it was new