Styling of the new Pulsar SSS hatch looks the part with its sporting body kit

Styling of the new Pulsar SSS hatch looks the part with its sporting body kit

In years gone by it was common to sell hatchbacks for lower prices than their sedan brothers. That was in an effort to lift the image of sedans by marketing them as larger vehicles with a conservative air. Later, life became simpler and hatches and sedans had identical numbers on the recommended retail price lists.

Nissan has harked back to the past by calling its new small vehicle the Pulsar rather than using the previous name of Tiida, so has also decided to go back to the past by giving its soon to be launched hatchback lower prices than the sedans.

Pulsar four-door sedans have been on sale since January at a pretty reasonable $19,990. The five-door hatch which goes on sale Australia wide on June 11 has a starting price of just $18,990. Note that on-road costs have to be added to this price, as well as to others in this news story.

There’s no doubt that Nissan Australia wants to play with the big boys at the sharp end of the Australian sales race. Toyota is in an unassailable number one spot, but Holden, Mazda and Hyundai are all fighting over second place and the guys at Nissan are keen to be part of that action. Slashing prices is always a great way to grab attention of potential buyers.

The dynamic American chief of Nissan Australia, William F. Peffer Jr., says: “The all-new Nissan Pulsar Hatch is the next exciting instalment in our busy product schedule this year. My team and I are confident Australian small car buyers will find the all-new Pulsar hatch to be exceptional value. Each grade in the Pulsar Hatch model range has a compelling mix of price and standard equipment.”

Even better news for lovers of hot hatches is the return of the Nissan Pulsar SSS. The 140kW Pulsar SSS hasn’t been left wanting in the low-price strategy, carrying a tag of just $29,240. With a 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine, the Pulsar SSS offers a lot of performance at a budget price.

Interestingly, Nissan Australia is also offering a lower cost high-performance variant, the $24,990 Pulsar Hatch ST-S, that’s powered by the same 140 kW engine as the Triple S, but has a lower level of standard equipment.

The standard models in the Pulsar hatch range use the same 96 kW 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine fitted to the Pulsar sedan.

A six-speed manual transmission is sold in all models, Nissan’s X-Tronic CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) is optionally available on all, even the SSS.

The lowest cost model in the new Pulsar hatch range, the ST, comes with 16-inch alloy wheels; cloth trim; cruise control; four-speaker audio with MP3 capability and Aux-in; Bluetooth hands-free telephone; steering wheel-mounted audio controls; central locking with remote keyless entry.

To these features the Pulsar hatch ST-L adds front foglights; a rear roof spoiler; six-speaker audio with MP3 capability and USB and iPod connectivity; 4.3-inch QVGA colour display; leather-accented steering wheel; premium cloth seat trim; rear centre armrest.

Pulsar hatch ST-S has not only the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, but also 17-inch alloy wheels.

Topping out the hatch range the Pulsar Hatch SSS gets a front spoiler; side skirts; rear lower spoiler; leather-accented seat trim; xenon headlights with automatic levelling and a dusk-sensing function; a 5.8-inch integrated colour display with touch screen and steering wheel-mounted controls; satellite navigation with 3D mapping; the six-speaker audio has Bluetooth audio streaming; a rear-view camera with distance guidelines; dual-zone climate control; intelligent keyless entry; and push-button engine start-stop.

Safety features on all models in the all-new Nissan Pulsar hatch range include stability control, ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist.

We have been invited to the national media launch of the Pulsar hatch on June 11 and will report back immediately afterwards.

Note: The prices shown above do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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