Nissan Pulsar was a big seller in Australia from its introduction way back in 1980. It was called Nissan Tiida from 2006 until 2012, then Pulsar again until 2018 when it fell victim to the SUV craze and was discontinued.
During these missing years several quality cars were introduced and Pulsar didn’t manage to regain its major place on the market.
Another factor for its reduced sales number was the increasing buyer interest in SUVs as these were no longer 4WDs but rather practical family machines. Nissan had been a strong player in 4WDs / SUVs for decades with Patrol, Qashqai, X-Trail and Juke, and the Pulsar lost sales to them.
Initially only Pulsar four-door sedans were imported, a five-door hatch arrived six months later. Model range is Nissan ST, ST-L, ST-S and Ti, as well as the sporty SSS.
Pulsar’s rear-seat legroom is good and they can carry two adults in reasonable comfort, three with less of a squeeze than you might expect. The boot is very good in the hatch and positively cavernous in the sedan.
Long distance cruising on Australian country roads had always been a feature of Nissan Pulsars and the new model of 2013 continued that tradition.
A stiff body structure not only offer good crash protection, but also minimises vibration. Mechanical and road noise have been isolated by extensive use of sound absorbing materials.
A 1.8-litre engine is used in the standard models, with the topline Ti and SSS getting a 1.6-litre turbocharged unit.
The six-speed manual gearbox didn’t sell particularly well, most buyers opt for an Xtronic continuously variable transmission. Naturally there are more manuals in the sporty SSS.
The CVT has an interesting feature Nissan calls Smooth Start Assist. This irons out any accelerator pressure imperfections caused by the driver, or rough roads thus giving a smooth and fuel-efficient drive.
Safety systems include front, side and curtains; ABS brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist; traction control and vehicle dynamic control.
There are more Nissan dealers in country and remote areas than is usual in this class as big brother Nissan Patrol is popular in the bush.
Servicing and spare parts prices are about average for this class. Not all spares for Pulsars are stocked in remoter areas of Australia but can generally be delivered within a few days of being needed.
Nissan Pulsars are often owned by conservative drivers, with the possible exception of the sporty SSS, so insurance rates tend to be lower than average. Shop around for the best quote, be sure that you’re comparing apples with apples.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Make sure to have a full pre-purchase inspection. If the any faults are found say you won’t buy the car until they have been rectified.
We’ve heard of Pulsars that have always been parked outdoors having dashtop plastic going hard and cracking. Check the other plastics that are exposed to the sun as they may also have the trouble.
CVT autos sound different to conventional automatic transmissions. If the ratio doesn’t seem right for the driving you’re doing, and/or they are noisy, have an expert check it out.
Do the usual standard checks for damage to the wheels and tyres, the front-lefts are usually the ones to suffer.
An engine that doesn’t start within a couple of seconds may need a tune-up, or have issues. Call a mechanic to inspect it.
There have been quite a few recalls on Pulsars, all of which should have been rectified by this time. Check www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/nissan.
Expect to spend from $4000 to $7000 for a 2013 Nissan Pulsar ST; $6000 to $10,000 for a 2013 Ti or a 2015 ST-L; $7000 to $11,000 for 2016 ST; $8000 to $13,000 for a 2015 SSS or a 20165 ST-L; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2016 SSS; $10,000 to $16,000 for a 2018 ST-L; and $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2018 SSS.
CAR BUYING TIP
Start shopping for a used car, indeed any car, a month or so before you plan to buy. This gives you a feel for the market as well as prices being asked.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/