Nissan Pulsar: Latest style edition adds shine to popular model
The Nissan Pulsar is one of the company's more sober choices, but it is one to be reckoned with nevertheless.
By sober I mean not particularly innovative, like the all-electric Leaf, the crossover king Qashqai, or the incredible GT-R sports car (book a test drive, you won't be disappointed).
No, I mean a car that is sensible and practical. Despite its name, with its reverential nod to stardust and inter-galactic travel, it won't exactly set the heather alight, but it will get you from A to B in style and comfort and without upsetting the family finances.
Which is, if you think about it, what most people want in a car.
The Pulsar's origins go way back. You may remember Nissan as Datsun, and you may also remember the Datsun/Nissan Cherry, from where this hails.
The latest version, dating from 2015, is a thoroughly modern family hatchback.
It uses the same platform as the sought-after Qashqai, so things must be all good with reliability and cost-effectiveness.
Where it differs from the Qashqai is modest looks and ambition and a lack of spirit.
That said, a stylish facelift just last month for one of the most popular models, the N-Connecta, modernised the brand. More of that later.
At launch, the Pulsar was a big improvement over the outgoing Almera. Although the external design was a tad staid by Nissan's recent standards, it was full of the latest tech.
For instance, Nissan's advanced safety shield - a suite of systems and technologies that combine to offer a fully comprehensive safety net for drivers - is integrated into the Pulsar's design and can be specified as an extra or can come as standard on some of the higher trims.
Among the systems offered in the Pulsar are forward emergency braking, moving object detection, lane departure warning and blind spot warning.
The Pulsar was at launch 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 excellent NissanConnect system, with its range of phone and online connectivity, is also available.
Under the bonnet, things are rather simpler, with some decent but not eye-catching Nissan petrol and diesel powerplant choices.
A 1.2-litre DIG-T petrol unit, for example, outputs a respectable 115PS, while a 1.5-litre dCi generates 110PS and 260Nm of torque. This is the most economical engine, officially claiming 78.5mpg.
Those wanting improved performance might choose the more powerful 190PS 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit.
Thanks to a long wheelbase (2,700mm) for this type of car and a good length (4,385mm), the Pulsar is a reasonably roomy mid-sized family hatchback.
The model line-up is reasonably familiar, with the entry-level Visia, followed by the Acenta, N-Connecta and the flagship Tekna.
Visia features an array of standard equipment, including a five-inch HD full colour TFT screen, Bluetooth phone integration, stop/start, a USB port, ABS and other braking technology.
Acenta trim brings extras like forward emergency braking, auto lights and wipers and Nissan's intelligent key system.
N-Connecta adds 17-inch alloys, privacy glass, LED lights, a colour reversing camera, and NissanConnect touchscreen navigation and entertainment system.
The Tekna combines all of the above with further Nissan Safety Shield technologies, including forward emergency braking, moving object detection, lane departure warning and blind spot warning.
Just last month, Nissan unveiled a new trim, the Pulsar N-Connecta Style Edition, which has more contemporary design and styling enhancements.
On sale now, the Style Edition comes with the 1.2 DIG-T 115PS petrol engine paired to a six-speed manual transmission.
The Pulsar range starts from £13,275.