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  • 30 Days With Nissan's Best Kept Secret
  • 09 October 2018
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    30 Days With Nissan's Best Kept Secret

    A 30 day review of the spacious hatchback that is the Nissan Pulsar

We asked Claire Collins from The Whole Caboodle to test drive the spacious hatchback that is the Nissan Pulsar. Here is how she got on...

When West Way asked me to take a Nissan Pulsar on a month-long test drive, I’ll be honest, I didn’t have high expectations. First off, I hadn’t even heard of Pulsar. Whilst I was pretty familiar with Nissan’s super popular Qashqai and Micra models, I hadn’t heard anything about their take on the classic family hatchback. And, having owned and driven German cars for the last decade, I couldn’t see me being impressed with its drive or build quality.


But boy was I wrong.



I think everyone can agree that the Pulsar is a good looking car. Like some of its German competitors, it has a strong, bold look, without any flouncy design gimmicks, that will stand the test of time. And Nissan haven’t scrimped on the exterior enhancements; the N-Connecta model I drove boasted 17” two-tone alloy wheels, front fog lights and stunning Azure Blue metallic paint that looked almost holographic in some lights. I appreciate a good car isn’t all about looks and the very satisfying clunk when closing the doors and boot lid speaks volumes about Pulsar’s build quality.



The classically smart design continues to the inside. Instruments are well laid out, heating and multimedia system controls are to hand, there’s an abundance of storage and the quality of the materials and plastics is excellent. Nissan have added some thoughtful touches to the Pulsar such as a drop down sunglasses case (I’ve lost count of how many pairs I’ve broken throwing into the glovebox) and comprehensive telephone/stereo controls on the steering wheel – features I didn’t have on my previous £40k BMW.



Nissan have always been ahead of the game technology-wise and Pulsar doesn’t disappoint. As standard, you get the steering wheel controls, a 5” HD colour screen, cruise control, a stop/start button and whole host of safety features. And the mid-range N-Connecta is absolutely jam-packed with goodies including NissanConnect sat nav and entertainment system, DAB radio, Bluetooth, reversing camera, automatic headlights and wipers and intelligent key – an essential for anyone with an abyss-like handbag.



The Pulsar has already ticked so many boxes but this really is where it excels. I’m not sure what happens between looking at the car from the outside to getting inside, but it seems to double in size – it’s so roomy! And the Pulsar even managed to impress our demanding and never normally complimentary 12 year old twins who loved how much room they had in the back. I’ll also be forever grateful that my extended test-drive fell during our house move. The Pulsar’s boot is a lot bigger than similarly-sized hatchbacks and with the rear seats down, it took box after box with ease.



So I did think this was the area that Pulsar would be a let-down but yet again I was blown away. The Pulsar drives like a dream. I was concerned how a 1.2 petrol engine would perform during my 30-mile commute, covering country roads, motorways and city routes, but it was absolutely brilliant. It was so nippy in and around town and took the motorway in its stride. But what impressed me most was how comfortable the Pulsar is. The roominess, driving position and high quality seats give such an enjoyable ride – I’ve been motoring for over 20 years and without doubt the Pulsar is the most comfortable car I have ever driven. Age and a cat pushing me down the stairs (don’t ask) mean I, like so many people, suffer from a bad back and I normally find long car journeys really uncomfortable. Not so in the Pulsar. During a 2.5 hour journey to the Midlands, I didn’t experience one back twinge or ache.


The Verdict

Well, it’s safe to say I like it. I’ve enjoyed every minute in the Pulsar and I’m genuinely gutted to be giving it back at the end of the month.


With the handling, build quality and specification you’d normally expect to find in a car costing twice as much and the space and load volume of the Tardis, the Pulsar never fails to impress.


In the interests of giving a rounded review, I’ve been racking my brain for the Pulsar’s bad points but I’m struggling! The only thing I can say is it would be nice to have heated seats – but opt for the Tekna grade and you get these.


So if you’re in the market for a family hatchback, Pulsar has to go on your shopping list. It’s quite simply the best car you’ve never heard of.


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