On the right wavelength
Recalls apart, the roomy, reliable Pulsar keeps pleasing owners
Fancy a new car but can’t afford it? Perhaps you don’t want to cop the depreciation, which starts the moment you drive away from the dealer.
The answer for you is a nearnew car, one that’s two or three years old, is still like new and whose previous owner has copped the initial slug of depreciation. Among the likely candidates is the Nissan Pulsar. It was launched early in 2013, so the first examples are just over three years old, with about 50,000km on the clock, and they’re prime pickings for the smart used car buyer.
Reprising the Pulsar after a seven-year absence here, Nissan hoped to cash in on the popularity of the badge that was once one of our favourites.
This time around it came as a hatch and a sedan, in entry level ST spec and rising to the smartly equipped Ti and the sporty SSS.
A roomy cabin was one of the main attractions. It stacked up well against the opposition in that area and there was a good-sized boot (510L).
The staple ST, ST-L and Ti were equipped with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder that provided comfortable performance with good economy. In the sporty ST-S and SSS, propulsion was via a 1.6-litre turbo four using premium unleaded.
Most buyers chose the constantly variable transmission over the six-speed manual.
On the road the 1.8 was more a comfy cruiser than a peppy performer. It got the job done, without the zip the turbo engine delivered. The Pulsar handled well and the ride was pleasantly comfortable. Owners of this series Pulsar are in the main happy with their cars. Almost all praise its roomy cabin and sizeable boot, and most are happy with the fuel economy, which appears to match Nissan’s claims.
The complaints we heard were about outdated satnav maps on models so fitted, which can be a frustration. One owner reported uneven rear tyre wear that his dealer couldn’t resolve.
Prospective buyers should be aware of the recalls affecting the Pulsar.
In 2013, one recall checked on installation of the satellite sensor for the side curtain airbag, to make sure the airbag would deploy correctly.
In 2014 Nissan checked the fuel rail on the engine for leaks. The fuel pressure sensor, if not tightened properly, could come loose over time and result in a fuel leak.
A recall last year related to the push-button start switch, which could stick in the on position and cause the engine to stop unexpectedly if the button returned. Another checked that the correct stoplight switch was fitted on cars with the CVT.
Pulsars with the 1.8 and CVT drivetrain were checked for a software glitch that could cause the vehicle to lose power or stall between 10km/h and 60km/h.
Check the car’s service book to confirm that all relevant recall work has been done, at the same time reassuring yourself the car has been serviced according to Nissan’s recommendations.
The Pulsar has been a popular car with rental companies, so be aware that there are ex-renters coming on the market. These can often be treated poorly and also have higher kilometres than privately owned cars.
My SSS has been brilliant. It’s fast, comfortable and I love driving it. I even like the CVT.
My ST is basic but it’s a great little car. It’s roomy, the legroom in the back is amazing, the boot is enormous and it’s economical. The only thing I’m not so happy with is the CVT.
My ST is a great little car. It’s a good size inside, is cheap to run and I love it.
I’ve done nearly 50,000km in my ST-L and overall it’s been a very good car. It drives well, is quiet and spacious and is economical. My only concern is the uneven wear on the rear tyres.
I’ve done almost 50,000km in my ST-L and overall I’m happy with it. It’s been reliable, the economy has been good and it’s comfortable. Against that, the performance isn’t great and the paint scratches easily. Roomy, reliable and all-round good performing small car.