JOE goes to… Barcelona to test drive the all new Nissan Pulsar
Nissan recently announced that the Pulsar would make a return to the roads and JOE’s Oisin Collins was invited out Barcelona to test the motor first hand… well for some.
It has been roughly eight years since Nissan last featured a car in the C-segment – remember the old Almera? – which is a tad surprising when you think of just how popular the ‘small family car/hatchback’ segment is, but they’re back in the game with the latest edition of the Pulsar.
Before we begin, here’s a little bit of important history on the Pulsar... Some of you may be already familiar with the Pulsar name - especially the GTI-R version - and while you may still see a few Pulsars from the 90’s rolling around on Irish roads, those particular cars would have been imported in from Japan or Australia back in the day. That’s because the name wasn’t used in the European market. So technically, this is the first time that the Pulsar name will be officially used here in Ireland.
So, back to the business at hand... We picked up the cars in Barcelona–El Prat Airport and made our way to the hotel on a 2-hour route that took us along the coast on some of the best driving roads that you can experience in Europe. Seriously, if you consider yourself a petrol head then you should definitely add “Drive Barcelona’s coast roads” to your bucket list.
The Pulsar performed well on the roads and offered an exceedingly smooth ride, even over unpaved country roads – we weren’t necessarily supposed to go ‘off-road’ but that’s what I get for thinking I know more than the sat-nav.
We tested the 1.2L DIG-T petrol (starting at €19,995) on the first day and the 1.5L dCi diesel (starting at €21,595) on the second. The smaller 1.2L petrol did well on almost all fronts, however, it seemed to struggle just a bit on some of the steeper roads, but we could live with that. One thing that you’ll definitely notice about the 1.2L petrol is the fact that it sounds almost silent in the cabin. A lot of work went into dampening out exterior noise and it certainly comes across in the new Pulsar.
The diesel engine, which is more than likely going to be the more popular engine here in Ireland, performed just as well as the petrol, so much so that it took a few minutes of driving it before one of my fellow motoring journalists noticed we were, in fact, driving the diesel version.
The styling of the Pulsar genuinely looks great, and there were one or two models on the trip that had been kitted out with small aesthetic features, such as blacked out rims, two-tone wing mirrors and a racing stripe along the side, which really made the car stand out and give it a nice sporty look. The style of the front end is in keeping with the rest of Nissan’s latest models and it too features ‘boomerang’ shaped chrome finishes underneath the badge and around the lights.
Inside, the interior looks neat, clean and isn’t clustered with too many buttons that will distract you while driving. The room inside is also noteworthy. Nissan claims to have the most amount of legroom for rear passengers in the C-segment, even better than some D-segment saloons, and even with a six-foot-one driver sitting in the front there was still more than enough legroom in the back for our rear passenger.
Overall I was quite impressed with the new Pulsar and I didn’t really find any major faults with the car as it features a really nice driving position, a wide view of the road ahead, great handling thanks to clever breaking/steering aids and last, but not least, some top notch styling.
The Pulsar will be going up against the likes of the Hyundai i30 and Kia Cee'd and it will also be looking to take some sales away from the VW Golf and the Ford Focus. So if you’re in the market for one of the car’s above then you should check this one out too. The new Pulsar will be in Irish dealers now, so pop in for a look for yourself over the weekend.
For more check out the Nissan Ireland website.