PULSAR’S KIT APPEALS
NISSAN HAS PACKED A LOT INTO ITS NEW SMALL SEDAN
A PULSAR SSS sedan recently surfaced complete with a 140kW turbo petrol engine and plenty of kit. It sells for $26,990 for the sixspeed manual or $2300 more for the CVT “auto” called Xtronic.
On test was the SSS auto sedan – with the slush-box – and it turned out to be a better experience than expected. The manual is preferable unless you are an everyday city commuter.
Though at the lower end of the small-car pecking order and facing some cracking good competition, the SSS sedan has something to offer, particularly in value-formoney terms and available room, especially the rear seat and big boot, complete with a full-size spare under the floor.
They jam in a decent amount of kit because the SSS sedan replaces the former Ti sedan, so that means it gets leather, premium audio, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry and button start, multi-wheel controls, satnav, reverse camera, rear-park assist and a reasonable touch-screen control system.
The Bluetooth connection is quick and stays hooked up after you switch off and then start up later.
The SSS sedan looks like a scaled-down Nissan Altima and other Nissan passenger cars, but you don't have to like the look of it to appreciate the engine's performance that makes the SSS get going rapidly, even with the auto.
It's no sports sedan but has strong off-the-line acceleration once the turbo and auto hook up and on-the-move acceleration is good too.
It's just that the slurring CVT tends to give it all a frantic feel as the engine revs up and then the car's actual speed catches up a bit later.
The engine is a 1.6-litre four banger with direct fuel injection and a turbo. It's good for a relatively lazy 140kW/240Nm output but they kept a lid on it to achieve 7.8-litres/100km fuel economy; on 95 octane.
Nissan knows how to do performance cars but for some reason holds back with Pulsar.
Having said that, the SSS is at least the equal of cars like Kia's Cerato 2.0 and the Holden Cruze SRI-V. They are in-betweenies, half sporty, half commuter hacks.
The SSS rolls on 17-inch wheels and tyres with adequate grip and has decent brakes and rides halfway between sporty and soft; just like the whole car really. The suspension is a simple strut front and basic torsion beam rear set-up: cheap and effective.
It's an easy device to drive and doesn't have any real vices.
The interior looks stylish and is a big improvement on previous efforts in this segment from Nissan.
On the outside it has a dash of flash with a mild body aero kit and some more body-coloured hardware.
Verdict: For the money, the SSS has plenty of kit and some driver assist features. It goes OK, handles OK and doesn't cost too much.
The Pulsar SSS is a good performer at a budget price.