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Nissan Pulsar petrol Test Drive Review

Date: 21 November 2014   |   Author:

The new Pulsar fills a gap in Nissan's range to help it compete for fleet customers in the all-important lower medium segment, but could the petrol engine be a valid choice?

The 115hp 1.2-litre petrol is a capable little engine, and at 118g/km it's actually quite efficient to run, particularly for those fleets doing fewer miles.

At 16%, the petrol is two BIK tax bands higher than the 110hp 1.5-litre diesel Pulsar, but it's just £3 more expensive a month as there's a £1600 price premium for going for the oil burner. There's also just 2p per mile in it between the two, with the petrol slightly more expensive to run at 50.0p.

The petrol will, of course, be less fuel efficient at 55.4mpg compared with the diesel's 78.5mpg, but it's horses for courses depending on how many miles you do. The petrol is also just under a second quicker at 10.8 seconds for 0-62mph.

Where the petrol fairs less well is against established competitors offering low-CO2 petrol engines, such as the Ford Focus 1.0-litre Ecoboost.

At 108g/km, the Focus is two BIK tax bands lower than the Pulsar, which means there is £6 less to pay each month, and there's also 4p cost per mile difference too in the Focus's favour. On top of that, the Focus looks better, it's more engaging to drive and the interior quality is higher.

Despite being the Tekna trim, there are still hard-touch plastics in the Pulsar's interior and it doesn't stand up well to the Ford's Titanium trim in terms of quality. The low residual value of 27.0% on the Pulsar petrol model is also slightly concerning.

The Nissan is perfectly adequate, but it's not class-leading in any area; however, any fleet considering it specifically ought to think seriously about the amount of miles they will do rather than automatically pick the diesel