Average new family hatchback challenger from Nissan
Nissan gave up on family hatchback sales a while back, focusing instead on building crossovers like the Qashqai and Juke. Thing is, not everyone wants a crossover, so the Pulsar was launched.
What is it?
A box-ticking exercise, and one that Nissan rather obviously gave up when it introduced the Qashqai. Thing is, not everyone wants a crossover, so Nissan wheeled the Pulsar somewhat apologetically into its showrooms for those wanting a familiar, no-nonsense family hatchback. That means the Pulsar competes with the likes of the Kia cee’d, Hyundai i30, Toyota Auris, SEAT Leon and the other usual suspects in this class, but almost all are more interesting. Spacious, well-equipped and inexpensive: yes, but it’s far from desirable.
What is it like?
It does everything you’d want it to do with a base level of competence, which in reality is all some buyers in this marketplace want. They’re unlikely to be disappointed by the ample standard equipment, the engine’s refinement, the masses of passenger and boot space and the typically solid Nissan build quality. It steers and stops too, though the suspension can get a bit busy on rougher surfaces. If you’re looking for excitement, desirability or stand-out styling then look elsewhere.
Carzone verdict: 3/5
Are we being unfairly harsh on the Pulsar? After all it does everything most people want from their family hatchback - rather well in fairness. Thing is, so do so many of its rivals, and given Nissan’s innovation and flair elsewhere in its range the Pulsar feels relatively tedious and unimaginative. The Pulsar’s not a bad car by conventional measure, but a SEAT Leon will feel exotic in comparison, while a Skoda Octavia has all the space and some joy at its core, too.