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In-depth reviews

Nissan Pulsar hatchback (2014-2018) - Engines, drive & performance

While it’s not much fun to drive, the Nissan Pulsar is quiet and comfortable on the motorway

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.0 out of 5

The Nissan Pulsar is more about a quiet ride and impressive refinement than driving fun, but it’s easy to manoeuvre in town or around a tight car park. Drive down a twisting back road and you’ll discover strong grip and direct steering, but there isn’t much feedback through the steering wheel and the car suffers from a lot more body lean than some rivals.

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If you want something that can put a smile on your face on every journey, try a Ford Focus or Mazda3 for size instead. However, if you’d prefer comfortable daily transport and don’t want to (or can’t) stretch to a Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 Sportback, then the Nissan Pulsar is a stand-out choice and represents pretty good value for money. 

Nissan Pulsar diesel engine

The 1.5-litre diesel engine is the best choice for people who are regularly covering long distances, as the extra power it has over the petrol makes it more responsive on the motorway. It can sound a bit gruff under acceleration, but it's refined at cruising speeds. The one downside is that the diesel isn’t available with an automatic gearbox.

Petrol engines

If you spend most of your time around town, save some cash and stick with the petrol. It’s cheaper to buy and shouldn’t cost that much more to run than the diesel on shorter journeys. It’s also faster on paper than the diesel (0-62mph in 10.7 seconds versus 11.5 seconds) and it accelerates in a smoother and more gradual fashion most of the time.

The 188bhp 1.6-litre DIG-T takes just 7.7 seconds to reach 62mph, with a 135mph top speed possible. The engine has a smooth power delivery and a lot of power is available from just 1,500rpm. If you rev it too hard, though, the power drops off and your economy figures tumble.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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