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2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch Review

Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch.

2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch review

2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch review.

The Nissan Pulsar has made a long overdue return to the Australian motoring landscape.

The new Pulsar is certainly a big step up over the last small Nissan, the unfortunately named and unfortunate looking Tiida.

Sales for Nissan really fell away after they shelved the Pulsar nameplate, but with its return in February this year, sales seem to have picked up, and with good reason, there is a lot to like about the new Nissan.

Pricing is razor sharp, with the Nissan Pulsar ST (base model) manual hatch kicking off proceedings at $18,990 before on roads. The automatic version equipped with a CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) and adds $3,300 to the price tag.

2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch review

2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch review.

The CVT in the Nissan is relatively inoffensive and gets the job done reasonably well, but if you don’t mind changing gears, the manual version is definitely the one to go for.

The Pulsar is powered by a 1.8 litre four-cylinder developing 96kW and 174Nm. While those power figures would suggest it’s a little underdone, the Pulsar actually feels quite peppy and is enjoyable to drive. It’s far from a ball of fire, but the Pulsar’s performance is more than respectable.

Economy is a real stand out, Nissan claims 6.7 litres per 100km on the combined urban cycle, yet we were easily able to get it down to 6.5 litres per 100km, and that was under test conditions with plenty of spirited driving.

The ride is great, sitting on 16 inch wheels with reasonably high profile tyres, it soaks up bumps with ease. The steering is ok, it doesn’t offer a lot of feedback, but it’s predictable and quick to react to inputs.

On the road the Pulsar is good to drive. My only gripe is the driver’s seat doesn’t go back as far as I would have liked, but it’s not uncomfortable and leaves plenty of rear legroom. Up front there is a heap of head & shoulder room, it is a genuinely spacious cabin.

The fit and finish couldn’t be faulted. Built in Thailand, everything is screwed together beautifully and Nissan have chosen a nice range of materials to use within the cabin. The fabric on the seats, centre console and door rests in particular is really nice and gives the Pulsar a welcoming, homely type feel.

2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch review

2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch review.

One glaring omission is the lack of a reversing camera; of course you can option one, and it does come standard in higher spec models, but in 2013 it has become a necessity and really should be a standard feature.

On the safety front the Pulsar has everything covered. Expect front and rear side curtain air-bags, traction and stability control and ABS. While the hatch variant of the Pulsar hasn’t been ANCAP tested, the Pulsar sedan was recently awarded a 5 Star safety rating.

Overall the Pulsar hatch is a good looking little car and really is a serious contender.

With super sharp pricing and a sweet character, there is a lot to love about the new Nissan Pulsar. It goes about its business in an un-fussed manner and gets the job done with ease.

Sure, there are more accomplished cars in the segment, but kicking off at $18,990, the Pulsar is hard to beat on price alone. If it’s safe, reliable motoring at a budget price you’re after, the Nissan Pulsar delivers, and it’s loveable to boot.

2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch review

2013 Nissan Pulsar ST hatch review.


Engine: 1.8 litre four cylinder petrol developing 96kW and 179Nm

Transmission: 6-Speed manual or CVT ($3,300 option)

Safety: Not tested (sedan five stars)

Origin: Thailand

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000kms

Price: From $18,990

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