On the right wave­length

Re­calls apart, the roomy, re­li­able Pulsar keeps pleas­ing own­ers

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Used Car -

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.

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