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AIMS: Nissan revives Pulsar SSS – with turbo power

SSSneak peek: Australians can preview Nissan’s new sporty Pulsar SSS hatch at the Sydney motor show, where it will be unveiled alongside the Pulsar sedan.

Pulsar SSS sports hatch to return mid-2013 as Nissan plots volume, range expansion


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16 Oct 2012

NISSAN’S sporty Pulsar SSS is back, and Australians will get their first view of the hot turbocharged version of the new Thai-built small car when it makes its debut at the Sydney motor show from Thursday.

Australia will become the world’s second market for the newly created sports model of Nissan’s Tiida replacement after China – where it is badged Tiida GTS – and the iconic SSS nameplate will be unique to this country.

The body-kitted five-door SSS will add a touch of glamour to the simultaneous Australian debut of Nissan’s Pulsar sedan, which will hit showrooms from February 1 with the historically significant $19,990 opening price maintained.

Pricing and specifications for the SSS will be announced closer to its arrival in showrooms, when standard variants of Pulsar hatchback will also be introduced, between three and four months later than the sedan.

Nissan’s new Patrol V8 SUV will also make its right-hand-drive world debut in Sydney – with pricing confirmed from $82,200 – along with other cars from the Japanese brand’s current line-up.

GoAuto suspects some surprises are in store from Nissan at the AIMS media preview day this Thursday, as the zany Juke crossover, all-new Pathfinder medium SUV and Altima mid-size sedan have all been spotted in the Harbour City.

Nissan describes the new Pulsar as a “cornerstone of its Australian product renaissance” and, as the range’s flagship, the SSS is uniquely powered by a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine with direct injection.

The Juke-derived powerplant sends 140kW of power and 240Nm of torque to the front wheels through either a standard six-speed manual or optional $2250 CVT (continuously variable transmission) auto with manual override – but no paddle-shifters.

Data from the Chinese market suggests the SSS will crack 0-100km/h in around eight seconds and consume less than seven litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.

The SSS show car previewed by GoAuto today featured a body kit comprising aerodynamic front and rear bumper extensions, side skirts and a roof spoiler plus 17-inch alloy wheels and red SSS badging.

GoAuto found its impressively spacious leather-upholstered interior with satellite-navigation appeared to share much in terms of specification with the top-spec $28,990 CVT-only Pulsar Ti sedan, suggesting it will be similarly priced as a manual and could top $30,000 as an auto.

Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Bill Peffer told journalists at the preview event for the Pulsar and Patrol that the company hopes the Pulsar range will eventually outsell the Toyota Corolla, but would not commit to a timeline.

He said that, before the Tiida replaced the Pulsar six years ago, the Pulsar “was for decades the C-segment in Australia” and that the Pulsar name still has a 71 per cent awareness rate with the Australian public.

The new Pulsar will major on generous levels of interior space, luggage capacity and standard equipment, which Mr Peffer said puts it “a class above the competition”.

All models come with six airbags, electronic stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

Mr Peffer said he expected ANCAP to test the Pulsar sedan and hatch due to their anticipated popularity – but would not speculate on what kind of rating they might attain.

Both sedan and hatch have been subject to development specifically for the Australian market so they meet local tastes and have the correct ride, handling and steering feel characteristics.

At $19,990 for the six-speed manual, the entry-level Pulsar ST sedan comes with air-conditioning, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, a multi-function steering wheel, remote keyless entry and a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth phone connectivity, MP3 and iPod compatibility.

Upping to mid-range ST-L ($23,650 manual) adds a colour audio system display, LED daytime-running lights, front foglights, a rear spoiler, mirror-integrated indicators and leather trim for the steering wheel and gear selector.

Top-spec Ti variants ($28,990 with CVT only) extend the spec sheet to include satellite-navigation, leather upholstery, dual-zone air-conditioning, Xenon headlights, keyless entry and start, 17-inch alloy wheels and a wide-angle reversing camera.

The Pulsar sedan’s 510-litre boot capacity matches that of the Volkswagen Passat from the next segment up and beats the even larger Holden Commodore by 14 litres – but there is no fold-down rear bench, only a ski hatch.

GoAuto found the sedan to be even more spacious than the SSS hatch, which is narrower across the rear bench, but both cars provided acres of knee-room for tall adult rear passengers, even with taller than average front occupants comfortably seated.

Soft-touch surface coverings abound, and the cabin has a restrained, simple layout with the occasional flash of chrome or silver highlights, giving the car a classier, more European feel compared with many Asian competitors.

Under the bonnet of the Pulsar sedan – which has distinct styling and proportions compared with the hatch – is a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine developing 102kW of power and 174Nm of torque.

The CVT automatic enables the engine to run at just 1700rpm while cruising at 100km/h due to its wide ratio spread, which Mr Peffer claimed to be wider than that of the ZF eight-speed unit found in a BMW, aiding fuel economy and refined cruising by letting the engine remain in its operating sweet spot.

Official fuel consumption figures are yet to be confirmed but Nissan Australia PR and corporate communications manager Peter Fadeyev said the Pulsar sedan will sip “less than 6.9L/100km”.

Nissan is offering early adopters of the new Pulsar sedan who place their orders before the official February 1 launch date a special pre-sale offer of a ‘guaranteed future value’ finance scheme with 10 per cent deposit and monthly payments as low as $299 or a $1000 Nissan voucher incentive for cash buyers.

The comparison rate works out at 7.5 per cent per annum, with manual ST variants eligible for the $299 monthly figure, the ST-L costing $399 per month and the Ti priced at $499 per month.

Cash buyers taking the $1000 dealer voucher can use it against accessories, servicing, insurance or extended warranty products.

Mr Peffer said the Pulsar’s launch will herald the busiest new product launch phase in Nissan Australia’s history and that “the timing couldn’t be better” for its arrival.

2013 Nissan Pulsar sedan pricing*
ST (CVT)$22,240
ST-L $23,650
ST-L (CVT)$25,900
Ti (CVT)$28,900
*Plus on-road costs

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