- Spacious, practical interior
- Large boot space
- Generous equipment
- Not as fun to drive as rivals
- Bland aesthetics
- High levels of depreciation from new
Spacious practical family hatchback.
The family hatchback market is one of the most fiercely competitive sectors. With cars such as the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf dominating sales figures, it’s hard to make a breakthrough. But with the success than Nissan has had in the crossover market with the Qashqai, big things were expected of the Pulsar when it was first introduced in 2014. In some respects, it’s lived up to its billing. The Pulsar is practical, comfortable, and comes with a generous equipment list. It might not be the most entertaining behind the wheel, and its looks won’t turn many heads, but if practicality is king, the Nissan Pulsar is one of the best family hatchbacks on the market.
Plenty of space with a well-designed cabin.
If you’ve ever set foot inside a Nissan Qashqai, you’ll be pretty familiar with the Pulsar’s. That’s because it’s essentially the same. It features solid build quality, and a modern design, whilst there’s more than enough space for families.
The dashboard design of the Pulsar is one of tried and tested simplicity. Usability is the name of the game, with simple, well-damped controls making the Pulsar an easy car to get used to behind the wheel. The design isn’t the most contemporary in the family hatchback class, but it feels well constructed, and there are some classy-feeling soft-touch materials used throughout the cabin.
Practicality is of huge importance to family buyers, and the Pulsar certainly impresses in this area. Rear legroom is amongst the best in class, and the Pulsar’s boxy shape mean that there’s more than enough headroom, even for adults over six foot. The 385 litre boot capacity is impressive as well, with more space than the Ford Focus, the Seat Leon, and the Volkswagen Golf. If you’re after extra room, the rear seats don’t fall completely flat, which can make getting large heavy items in a bit of a pain.
Equipment levels in the Pulsar are pretty generous, not matter which trim you opt for. The entry-level Visia trim has all the kit that most families will need, with air-con, alloy wheels, Bluetooth, and 5” touchscreen infotainment centre all included. Acenta trim adds climate control, automatic lights and wipers, keyless entry, and heated door mirrors. N-tek and Tekna models add luxuries such as sat-nav and DAB radio, though they are more expensive.
All in all the interior of the Pulsar is a well thought out package that’s perfect for families. The sturdy, well-built cabin is built to withhold the rigours of family life, whilst the spacious boot and generous equipment list are both huge positives for family buyers.
Comfortable rather than fun.
If you want a family hatchback that’s not only practical, but also fun to drive, the Pulsar might not be the perfect car for you. It’s certainly not as fun as a Ford Focus or a Mazda3, but it is easy to drive. The steering is light and precise, whilst there’s plenty of grip through the corners. It’ll certainly make you feel secure behind the wheel, but it isn’t likely to put a grin on your face on twisty country lanes.
Suspension and Chassis
Most family buyers will be more interested in how comfortable the Pulsar is. Thankfully, it excels in this area, especially around town. Potholes and loose surfaces are easily dealt with, whilst city centre speed humps won’t be too uncomfortable. The Pulsar can feel a little bit nervy over rough surfaces at speed, but on motorways it’s as refined as they come. There’s also very little in the way of road and wind noise, so you can comfortably eat the miles up without your eardrums being compromised.
Gearbox options in the Pulsar come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a six speed manual transmission that performs pretty well. It offers sharp yet smooth shifting, and whilst it’s not as engaging as the Ford Focus’, few drivers will be disappointed. A CVT automatic gearbox is also available with the petrol engines, though sadly not with the 1.5 litre diesel.
A solid range of efficient petrol and diesels.
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Pulsar, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. The diesel engine is the most attractive option for money savers and green-minded buyers, whilst the 1.6 litre petrol offers some thrills, but at a price.
If it’s pace and power that you want from your Pulsar, the standout engine in the range is the petrol-powered 1.6 DiG-T. With 190bhp under the bonnet, the Pulsar will accelerate from 0-62mph in just 7.8 seconds. It’s not a match for the genuine hot hatches however, and the fact that it cost significantly more to tax, insure, and fuel, will make it an unattractive option for most family buyers.
Eco-friendly buyers will however be pleased with the engines on offer in the Pulsar range. The greenest engine in the lineup is the diesel-powered 1.5 dCi. With just 94g/km of CO2 emissions, it’s not only great for the planet, it also comes with road tax exemption. This makes it a great option for money-savers as well. Not only is it free to tax, the claimed 78.5mpg fuel economy means that it will be cheap to fuel on a day-to-day basis.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your Pulsar, you won’t be disappointed. All of the engines are clean and efficient, but the standout engine is undoubtedly the 1.5 dCi diesel. It’s the cheapest to run, and still has enough power to be adept in almost any situation.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, with impressive standard safety kit.
Like nearly every car in its class, the Nissan Pulsar easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 84% in adult safety, 81% in child safety, 75% in pedestrian safety, and 68% in safety assist, the Pulsar is average for a car in its class. It’s not as safe as the Mazda3, or the Toyota Auris, but it compares well with the rest of its rivals. You’ll also get plenty of safety kit as standard. Six airbags, stability control, and tyre-pressure monitoring come with all models, whilst Acenta trim and above get automatic emergency braking.
Excellent value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation.
The Nissan Pulsar offers great value for money for family buyers. This obviously depends on which model you go for, but generally speaking road tax bands are low, whilst fuel efficiency is high throughout the range. The 1.5 dCi diesel is the pick of the bunch, though the 1.2 litre petrol will also be cheap to run, especially if you do most of your driving about town. If you want to avoid high running costs, avoid the powerful 1.6 litre DiG-T petrol engine.
The cost of insurance in the Pulsar depends on which model and trim you choose to go for. It’s roughly the same as its competitors, and no model is especially expensive to insure. The cheapest option to insure in the range is the 1.2 DiG-T Acenta, which is in group 10, whilst the most expensive is the range-topping 1.6 DiG-T Tekna, which is group 18.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Nissan Pulsar, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Nissan Pulsar might not have matched the all-out success that its sister, the Qashqai managed, but it’s still an incredibly solid family hatchback. It’s sturdy, simple interior, generous equipment, and spacious boot space make it one of the most practical family hatchbacks on the market. It’s comfortable as well, and if you go for a used model, you’ll get excellent day-to-day value for money.
Buying a used Nissan Pulsar online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Nissan Pulsar for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Pulsar. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Nissan Pulsar online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Nissan? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Nissan Pulsar, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Pulsar, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Nissan to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.