Nissan Pulsar DIG-T 190 – new engine, chassis tweaks for Nissan hatch

Nissan's Focus and Golf rival finally gains some pep with a new turbocharged 1.6-litre engine

The new Nissan Pulsar isn’t an obvious performance car, even if its name has graced some impressive vehicles in the past – both the rally-bred Sunny GTi-R and Almera GTi wore the Pulsar badge in Nissan's home market.

By dropping in the familiar 1.6-litre DIG-T engine from the Juke, the modern Pulsar can now go toe-to-toe with the Peugeot 308 GT and snap at the heels of hotter hatches like the Kia Ceed GT.

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The engine – a derivative of which is also used in the Juke Nismo RS and Renaultsport Clio 220 Trophy – develops 187bhp, and 177lb ft of torque between 2000-4000rpm.

Combined with a shorter-ratio gearbox, it’s enough to give the Pulsar reasonable pace – its 7.7-second 0-62mph sprint is just a few tenths shy of the 308 GT and 0.3sec behind the 201bhp Ceed GT.

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At the same time, combined economy of 49.5mpg and CO2 of 134g/km – on paper, at least – sets it among the cheaper-to-run warm hatches. It also, naturally, meets the latest Euro 6 emissions standards.

Nissan has seen fit to hone the chassis and steering to account for the Pulsar’s new output. The power steering has been fined-tuned for ‘more direct feedback and quicker responses’, while front springs and dampers are uprated for better body control. Rear dampers too are uprated, while additional reinforcements to the body help reduce torsional twisting.

The ESP system has also been revised, which should help drivers get the most from the new setup. A set of 18-inch wheels on top-end Tekna models complete the changes, and visual alterations continue with a new headlamp design and chrome exhaust tip.

Inside, 1.6 DIG-T models gain a new trim finisher on the dashboard, white stitching on the three-spoke steering wheel and on Tekna models, leather seats. The engine is also available with Acenta and n-tec trim lines.

The alterations are unlikely to turn the humble Pulsar into a challenger for hot hatch glory, but at £19,645 it also comfortably undercuts its closest rivals and is available to order now.

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