Nissan Pulsar | Catalog-cars

Nissan Pulsar

9 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar

David Morley

Make NISSAN Model PULSAR Model Variant LX,LX PLUS,Q,ST,ST L,ST PLUS,Ti,Q,ST,Q,ST,ST L Series N16,N16,N16,N16,N16,N16,N16,N16 MY03,N16 MY03,N16 MY04,N16 MY04,N16 MY04 Series Year 2004,2003,2002,2001,2000 Body Group 4D SEDAN,5D HATCHBACK

The Pulsar badge has served Nissan very well in Australia over the years. For a while there, as Nissan was nearing the end of its tenure as a local manufacturer (and beyond), the Pulsar was one of the few shining lights, keeping the sales meter ticking over while models either side of it let the team down.

So it’s no surprise to learn that even as Nissan entered the 21st century, there would be a Pulsar model to compete with the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and Holden Astra.

The N16 model (as it was known in Nissan-speak) arrived in 2000 but initially only as a sedan. And since Pulsar sales had been made up of about 30 per cent hatchback sales, the sedan had to struggle along until a five-door hatch was added to the range in 2001.

Even so, sales actually grew in that period, mainly because the new car represented a big improvement over the ageing vehicle it replaced.

Engine choices consisted of a 1.6-litre or a 1.8-litre four-cylinder with 16 valves. Power output was 83 kW and 92 kW respectively. They were both capable engines, but the 1.8 is the pick of the pair as it offers better flexibility and pulling power, both at suburban and freeway speeds.

The sedan landed in four trim levels – an LX with the 1.6, the ST and Ti with the 1.8-litre engine as standard, and a Q version with the 1.8 motor and a sportier level of trim, including a rear spoiler and alloy wheels.

In the five-door range there was no LX model. Nissan launched the hatch with the ST trim level and a sporty Q version. As such, all hatches were 1.8-litre powered, although there was no Ti version.

The base-model LX sedan came with a driver’s airbag, air-conditioning, remote locking and power mirrors, although no anti-lock brakes (ABS) or power windows. Just to confuse things a little, the ST hatchback had an extra front airbag to the sedan.

In Ti form, the sedan gained both front airbags, ABS, climate-control air-conditioning, alloy wheels and power windows. The Q model was also well equipped, although there were discrepancies between the sedan and hatch, with the latter scoring an extra air-bag and 15-inch alloy wheels versus the 14-inch alloys on the sedan.

The differences were all to do with the fact that the sedan and hatch versions of the Pulsar were built in different parts of the world. The sedan was a Japanese-made vehicle, and the hatch was built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the north of England. It’s the reason why the Pulsar hatch had its indicator stalk on the left, as per the European norm.

The other thing European heritage brought to the Pulsar hatch was styling, which blurs the line between a conventional hatchback and a station wagon. The composite styling might not have pleased those looking for a sporty car, but it certainly makes it a versatile contender in terms of interior space.

Nissan Pulsar

All Pulsar variants were available with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The flexible nature of the engine (particularly the 1.8) means the automatic is a viable option.

Ride quality is pretty good, as the Pulsar was no longer a small car by 2000. The main gripe is that the Pulsar had started to feel a bit tinnier than we remember – almost as if Nissan had finally figured out how to build it more cheaply.

Things to watch out for with a used example include damaged CV joints, which are the critical link between the gearbox and the front wheels. Drive the car in a tight circle at low speed and listen for clunking noises, which indicate worn CV joints that need replacing.

The engine oil should be clean and, in automatic versions, the transmission fluid should be a bright, clean colour and shouldn’t smell of burnt toast. If the car fails any of these tests then it suggests that it may have had its scheduled maintenance skimped on – which will also raise questions about every other aspect of its maintenance.

The other big possibility with a Pulsar is that the example you’re looking at was once a rental car. That’s not to say you wouldn’t buy an ex-renter at any price, but it would need to be significantly cheaper than a privately owned version.

Check for a shadow on the lower part of the rear window, where a rental company decal may have been, and be especially vigilant if you’re buying your Pulsar at auction. This is a popular way for rental fleets to unload their old vehicles on to the private market.

What to pay

A Pulsar Q is still fetching about $17,000 from dealers, while the 1.6-litre LX base model from 2000 is closer to $14,000. You’ll do better from private sellers, and there are now plenty of good Pulsars from which to choose, so take your time and find a nice, clean, low-kilometre example.

Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Pulsar
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