2015 Nissan Pulsar

Only one year has passed since Nissan revived its Datsun brand by introducing the GO hatchback , and the Japanese manufacturer has just confirmed its return to the compact car segment (C-segment in Europe) with a brand-new vehicle.

Dubbed Pulsar, a name previously used for a line of compact cars sold in Asia and Australia since 1978 (not to be confused with the Pulsar NX sports car marketed in the U.S. between 1983 and 1990), the new vehicle is a five-door hatchback aimed at models such as the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Focus .

Nissan ’s recipe for the Pulsar is pretty much simple and includes an instantly recognizable design with styling cues borrowed from the Qashqai , small, turbocharged engine that deliver decent power and return attractive fuel economy, and a price tag that’s likely to put the hatchback below most of its competitors.

A big bet for the Japanese automaker in Europe, the Pulsar is basically insignificant to the U.S. market, with Nissan having no plans to ship it across the ocean. This might very well change depending on vehicle’s success in Europe, but we’re at least a couple of years away from a pertinent verdict. Either way, the Pulsar is a hatchback worth looking at, and that’s what we’re about to do after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan Pulsar.

Exterior

Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar

The Pulsar is far from being a beauty contest winner, but Nissan did manage to add the dash of aggressiveness every customer is looking for these days to its new design language

Despite being a brand-new car, the Pulsar doesn’t stray too much from the company’s current design language. Up front it has the trademark V-motion grille seen on models such as the Rogue or the Qashqai . The creased hood and the boomerang-shaped LED units incorporated into the headlamps are the other details that make the Pulsar instantly recognizable as a modern Nissan.

Viewed from the side, the hatchback is quite muscular, with bold lines connecting the front fenders to the rear bumper and taillights. The latter aren’t as daring as the units fitted on the 2015 Murano , but the boomerang styling has been embedded in this area as well. Overall, the Pulsar is far from being a beauty contest winner, but Nissan Nissan did manage to add the dash of aggressiveness every customer is looking for these days to its new design language.

Boomerang-style headlamps

Nissan Pulsar

2015 Nissan Pulsar - Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase2,700 MM (106.29 Inches)
Length4,385 MM (172.63 Inches)

Interior

Nissan Pulsar

If there’s one thing Nissan can brag about when it comes to the Pulsar’s interior, its the wheelbase. The car measures 106.3 inches (2,700 mm) from wheel to wheel and provides 27.2 inches (692 mm) of rear legroom, more than a few larger sedans sold in Europe. Trunk space is also expected to pose a threat to class leaders, but Nissan has yet to reveal the full specs.

While it fares pretty good when it comes to roominess and cargo space, the Pulsar is behind its main rivals in terms of cabin materials and refinement

While it fares pretty good when it comes to roominess and cargo space, the Pulsar is behind its main rivals in terms of cabin materials and refinement. In short, customers will get a lot of shiny plastic for the buck, with only a few chrome inserts to add a bit of cheer to the center console and the steering wheel. The dashboard, on the other hand, features a sizable, blue piece that runs each side of the console and goes all the way to the door panels.

Technology-wise, customers will be able to make use of plenty of safety features, including Forward Emergency Braking, Moving Object Detection, Lane Departure Warning. As far as convenience equipment goes, the Pulsar will arrive in showrooms with the company’s second-generation NissanConnect system with smartphone integration and Google Send-to-Car access to an array of apps.

Drivetrain

Nissan Pulsar

A third engine, a turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-pot rated at 187 horsepower (190 PS) will join the Pulsar lineup next year

As with most Nissans available in Europe, the Pulsar will be launched with two small displacement, turbocharged engines. A 1.2-liter gasoline unit that’s also available on the Juke and Qashqai will deliver 113 horsepower (115 PS), while a 1.5-liter dCi diesel will crank out 108 horsepower (110 PS) and 192 pound-feet of torque (260 Nm). Both can be paired to either the standard six-speed manual gearbox or the optional XTronic automatic transmission. A third engine, a turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-pot rated at 187 horsepower (190 PS) will join the Pulsar lineup next year, and this version will be aimed at higher-spec versions of the Golf.

2015 Nissan Pulsar - Drivetrain/Specifications

Type1.2-liter DIG-T1.5-liter dCi1.6-liter turbocharged
Output115 HP110 HP190 HP
TorqueTBA191 LBS-FTTBA
TransmissionSix-Speed ManualSix-Speed ManualSix-Speed Manual

Prices

Nissan Pulsar

Pricing for the Pulsar has yet to be announced, but we’ll be right back as soon as Nissan spills the beans this fall, before the hatchback goes on sale in Europe.

Competitors

Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf

Introduced at the 2013 New York Auto Show, the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor. The hatchback is also more aerodynamic that the outgoing model and returns better fuel economy.

The car’s new design blends classic Golf elements and brand-new cues alike and incorporates reworked bumpers, a cleaner front grille and updated lights. Cabin highlights include a modern center console with simplified controls, enhanced legroom and shoulder room and more upscale details on all trims.

Engine-wise, the Volkswagen Golf is retailed with a choice of two powerplant in the United States. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder delivers 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, while a 2.0-liter four-pot diesel generates 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet. Both units can be mated to either a manual or an automatic transmission.

Pricing begins at $17,995, but a range-topping diesel Golf can fetch more than $29,000.

Ford Focus

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus received an extensive updated for the 2015 model year, being fitted with the company’s trademark front grille and all-around details previously seen on the smaller Fiesta. The interior has been updated as well and now sports a more refined look and a brand-new SYNC AppLink.

Also new is the 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost, a tiny engine that develops 100 horsepower and returns an EPA-estimated 40 mpg on the highway. The fuel-sipper will only be available connected to a six-speed manual transmission. The new unit joins the already familiar 2.0-liter four-pot rated at 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque through either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

Pricing for the 2015 Focus has yet to be revealed, but the sticker shouldn’t remain close to where it is with the current vehicle. Expect the hatchback to begin just above the $17,000 mark, with the Electric version to retail for at least $36,000.

Conclusion

Nissan Pulsar

It’s hard to believe the Nissan Pulsar will have a shot against the much more popular Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, but the Japanese compact is likely to snatch some of the customers that are looking for a more affordable ride without many of the premium amenities that can be found in a German car. Although it’s not impressive in terms of styling and power - at least not until the 1.6-liter engine arrives - the Pulsar is exactly what Nissan needed to keep pushing those European sales in the green.

LOVE IT
  • Lots of rear legroom
  • Decent power, likely good fuel efficiency
  • Probably cheaper than its rivals
LEAVE IT
  • Not very appealing by design
  • Cheap interior
  • Not coming to the U.S.
  • Plenty of competitors to choose from

Press Release

Nissan’s passion for innovation and technology has seen it transform the family car landscape over the course of the last seven years. Now, using the same design approach and original thinking that produced the Qashqai, X-Trail and Note, Nissan is expanding its product portfolio once more with an exciting all-new family hatchback challenger - the Pulsar.

Nissan Pulsar

Combining bold design, technical innovations and interior space, the new Pulsar brings a new dimension to the C-segment, offering all the familiar Nissan qualities in a stylish new package.

The Pulsar’s introduction highlights Nissan’s ambition and to deliver intelligent design and technical innovations to a wider audience.

Advanced technologies

As Nissan drivers have come to expect, the new Pulsar is packed with a range of accessible and useful technologies designed to make drivers feel more confident and comfortable. Nissan’s reputation for introducing new-to-sector technologies has been strengthened with a wide number of features usually reserved for premium or luxury models.

Nissan Pulsar

Nissan’s advanced Safety Shield - a suite of systems and technologies that combine to offer a fully comprehensive ‘safety net’ for drivers - is also fully integrated into the Pulsar’s design.

This advanced network of usable yet highly advanced technologies help drivers to fully enjoy the potential of the new Pulsar with complete confidence. Among the systems offered in the new Pulsar are Forward Emergency Braking, Moving Object Detection, Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning.

Nissan’s ongoing drive to deliver sector-first technologies mean that the Pulsar is the only car in its sector to offer Moving Object Detection, Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Warning as standard on at least one model in the range.

The Pulsar also features Nissan’s second-generation NissanConnect system - that comes with a range of innovative features including full smartphone integration, Google® Send-to-Car and access to a wide variety of useful and informative apps.

Another advanced technology integrated into the Pulsar’s design are LED headlamps. First introduced to the Nissan range on the Qashqai and X-Trail, the Pulsar’s distinctive LED front lights produce a crisp, white light and have the added advantage of using 50 per cent less power than conventional bulbs.

Nissan Pulsar

Efficient and powerful drivetrains

In keeping with Nissan’s approach to innovation and reduced costs for owners, the Pulsar’s engine all-turbocharged engine range delivers the perfect combination of performance and efficiency. The 1.2-litre DIG-T petrol unit punches above its weight with an output of 115PS, while the 1.5-litre dCi generates 110PS and 260Nm of torque. An even more powerful 190PS 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine will join the range early in 2015.

Continuing Nissan’s successful downsizing philosophy, the new Pulsar’s engines are high on performance and low on emissions, with CO2 outputs below 95g/km*. The Pulsar is also offered with Nissan’s advanced XTronic automatic transmission. Engineered to deliver the best of both worlds for drivers it features ultra-smooth power delivery at low engine speeds and positive, direct shifts under heavier loads.

Setting new standards for cabin space

Thanks to the longest wheelbase in the class (2,700mm) and clever packaging, the Pulsar offers considerably more rear legroom and shoulder room than its sector rivals. Indeed, with 692mm of rear kneeroom, the Pulsar is more spacious than many D-segment offerings.

Yet despite this it retains a compact footprint (length 4,385mm), making it easy to park in tight urban environments.

Energetic, athletic styling

Nissan Pulsar

Instantly recognisable thanks to its trademark Nissan V-motion grille and boomerang-shaped lighting signature with bold and energetic curves on the body side, the Pulsar was designed and engineered for Europe and will be built at Nissan’s Barcelona production facility.

Embedded with the same design DNA that gives the Qashqai and X-Trail such powerful road presence, the Pulsar combines strong lines with immaculate detailing to create an elegant, athletic form. Like its crossover stablemates, the Pulsar is characterised by bold wheel volumes, a tapered waistline and a flowing profile.

The confident, premium approach continues inside, where high quality materials and clear design are perfectly integrated with Pulsar’s unusually high equipment levels.


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