Nissan Pulsar Ti 2013 Review

Nissan Pulsar Ti 2013 Review

It’s a long time since I’ve driven a Nissan Pulsar. It was a second hand version of the hot GTi-R, and it was a few years ago. In fact, the GTi-R is the only exciting Pulsar ever to have been produced. You’ll usually see them driven by the youth of the day, and sporting a big bore exhaust to get your attention.

Nissan-Pulsar-Ti-rqNow we have a new one. It’s not really that exciting, but it does have a couple of tricks that will make you sit up and listen. A big bore exhaust isn’t one of them, but a big

boot is. The boot is cavernous for a vehicle of this size. How they managed to make it 510 litres and still leave an enormous amount of room for the rear seat passengers is a marvel of design. Leg room and seat comfort in the rear is huge. It’s like Nissan wanted to build a car in which to chauffeur sufferers of Marfan Syndrome.

Nissan-Pulsar-Ti-seat-bHowever, while the boot is capacious, the seats don’t fold so, apart from a ski hatch, you’re not going to be fitting anything really enormous in there.

Nissan-Pulsar-Ti-inside-fThere’s not much else noteworthy about the Pulsar apart from its low base price (sub-$30,000 for the ST), and the $33,490 of our Ti test car. The rest of the car is very grey and doesn’t fill you with the wonderment of progressive technology.

Under the bonnet is a fairly insipid, moderately frugal 1.8-litre petrol engine pushing out 96kW and 174Nm. Mated to a CVT it needs some work to get it moving.

There’s a 4.3-inch screen in the dash that’s used to display vehicle and audio functions. There is Bluetooth phone connectivity, but I couldn’t figure out how to stream audio from my phone, so perhaps that’s not available. You can, however, plug in your phone or audio device using USB or auxiliary input.

Nissan-Pulsar-Ti-sInterior storage consists of a sizeable glovebox that’s so deep you can’t reach the bottom of it without undoing your seatbelt, plus some small cubby holes and a small central binnacle. The Ti gets leather accented seat trim, door trim and steering wheel, plus metallic accents in the dashboard, over the base model ST.

On the outside the upgrades the Ti receives are more obvious with front fog lights, a rear spoiler and LED driving lights.

If you look at the Pulsar from the outside, it’s all sleek and modern – well designed to be corporately anonymous, but done very tastefully. On the inside, though, it seems as if it’s already a little old. The screen is small, the design of the gear lever is dated, the air conditioning controls are uninspiring and the instrumentation only hints at any type of flair with a couple of brushed aluminium surrounds. It tells you exactly what it is: a utilitarian, but comfortable, middle-of-the-road sedan that’s going to get you, your tall passengers and a decent amount of luggage from a to b with no fuss, but no pizzazz either.

So, should you try the Pulsar? Considering what you get for your money, your other choices are something like a Mitsubishi Lancer, a base model Suzuki Kizashi, or a base model Honda Civic. The Civic is probably the most interesting of the three and has more power but with a similar fuel economy. The Lancer feels even more dated inside. The Kizashi is slightly more expensive and jumps up a level. That leaves the Pulsar’s main advantage of being accommodating to your tall teenage kids. Of course, they’ll be wishing it was a GTi-R.

Price: $33,490


  • Large boot
  • Lots of rear legroom
  • Cheap


  • Lacks modern features
  • A bit dull

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham


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