Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Drive Way - Peter Barn­well

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.

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