The Nissan Pulsar is one of the most distinctive subcompacts in history. It hails from a long line of reliable models and has covered various sedan models under the Nissan Bluebird. The Pulsar has ties to the Opel Astra, the Nissan Sunny, the Nissan Almera and the Nissan Tiida, among others. With its back based on the Opel Astra, the Pulsar has a rich history of reliance and utility.
The Pulsar’s past has come from its days as a smooth, classy 3-door fastback sedan in its first-generation N10 and N11 to the modern smooth-riding hatchbacks and sedans that wear the Pulsar nameplate. Among the versions under this marque are the 1983-1984 Nissan Pulsar GL sedan, a rebadged Sylphy, and the Nissan Tiida.
The name Pulsar came from the portmanteau of pulse and star, an allusion to pulsating star. Pulsar, too, was first built from the Nissan Sunny, named from the Sun – the biggest star in the solar system.
N10, N11 (1978-1982)
The first Pulsar car was the 1978 Datsun Pulsar, which replaced the Cherry F-11. The Pulsar was initially a four-door fastback. In 1980, it received a facelift, and soon after became the N11 in 1981. It was fitted with new parts and a higher-output engine to improve its performance. It utilized A12 inline-4 petrol engines paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox. This powertrain was pretty powerful at the time, and it put out impressive power and torque. The new Pulsar came in three performance trims, namely:
- Base trim – 1.4-litre A12 inline-4 engine, 5-speed manual gearbox (51 kW and 100 Nm)
- TL trim – 1.5-litre A12 inline-4 engine, 5-speed manual gearbox (52 kW and 115 Nm)
- TS trim – 1.5-litre A12 inline-4 engine, 5-speed manual gearbox (52kW and 115 Nm)
Gradually, too, the Nissan brand had begun to replace the Datsun name. For this generation, the Pulsar had a transverse front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout and came in various body styles, including 3-door and 5-door hatchback, 3-door liftback coupe, 3-door panel van, and 5-door station wagon.
In late 1981, Nissan introduced the Holden Astra in Australia under the Pulsar nametag. It was a 5-door fastback and came with a 1.3-litre E13 inline-4 engine with a 5-speed manual gearbox that generated 51kW and 100Nm of torque.
The first units of the N12 were imported from Japan. However, Nissan set up shop in Australia by building an assembly factory in Clayton South. The next version of the N12 received a facelift to meet the needs of the Australian market. This facelift featured changes to the suspension and steering with new seats. The 1982 N12 came in two trims, the 1.3-litre G and 1.5-litre GX versions.
1983 Nissan revealed a new variation of the Pulsar fastback under the Astra form named the Nissan Pulsar TC. It was a 1.5-litre E15 inline-4 engined 3-speed automatic transmission fastback that made 52kW and 115Nm of torque. Since then Nissan made two variations of the Pulsar – the sedan and fastback body styles. Both Pulsars came in base and performance versions.
1984 Pulsar had alloy rims, a tuned suspension and a couple of aerodynamic changes. However, due to production snags, only a couple of units was ever produced. 1986 saw the Pulsar N12 come to feature narrow headlamps, a different rear styling together with upgraded suspension and new interior design. The 1986 Astra was named the LC Astra with other changes of trims from GX to GXE with upgrading the 1.3-litre and 1.5-liter diesel engines to 1.6-litres
For the 3rd generation, N13 Nissan opted to call the Pulsar sedan as the Pulsar Vector to differentiate the two models. The N13 lined perfectly with the Opel Astra 2nd generation release and was also related to the Nissan Sunny N13. The other 5-door hatchback was also produced and maintained in its original name. This model got restyled upper doors, which distinguished it from its Japanese counterpart. The Australian Pulsar received the new Family II engine from the Holden product line.
Nissan ended their model-sharing venture with Holden in 1989 under the Button Car Plan, and instead partnered with Toyota. Holden stopped producing Astra with the end of this partnership. Nissan, however, still used the GM-based 1.6-liter LF engine up until the next release. Australia got new trims of the Astra-based Pulsar powered by these Family II 4-cylinder engines:
- 1.6-litre Family II 16LF, single point TBI, SOHC engine (56 kW and 125 Nm)
- 1.8-litre Family II 18LE, multi-point EFI, SOHC engine (79 kW and 151 Nm)
- 1.8-litre Family II 18LE, multi-point EFI, SOHC engine (84 kW and 162 Nm)
This generation was named the ES and came in front-wheel-drive mode. Nissan maintained the sedan production line by partnering with Toyota, and a Sentra was shipped in and rebadged. The Clayton South Assembly line was closed in 1992 due to financial difficulties.
Nissan opted to use the Holden Astra name for the hatchback up until 1990 when it was renamed the Opel Astra. These were 4-door front-wheel-drive sedans marketed in four trims.
- GLi – 1.6-litre GA16DE with a 3-speed automatic transmission (55 kW and 125 Nm)
- Q – 1.8-litre GA16DE or SR20DE with a 5-speed manual gearbox (79 kW and 151 Nm)
- TI – 1.8-litre GA16DE or SR20DE with 3-speed automatic transmission (79 kW and 151 Nm)
- SSS – 1.8-litre SR20DE with a 3-speed automatic transmission (79 kW and 151 Nm)
In 1995, the Pulsar lineup saw the release of the N15, a compact car. It was a Nissan Almera 1st generation N15 release that was rebranded as the popularly-named Nissan Pulsar N15. It came both as a 5-door hatchback and 5-door sedan. It came in 4 trims, two trim levels for each body style.
- LX – 1.6-liter GA16DE inline-4 engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission (86 kW of and 147 Nm)
- SLX – 1.6-litre GA16DE inline-4 engine that came with a 4–speed automatic transmission (86 kW and 147 Nm)
- Q – 1.6-litre GA16DE inline-4 engine that came with a 4–speed automatic transmission (86 kW and 147 Nm)
- SSS – .6-litre GA16DE inline-4 engine that came with a 4–speed automatic transmission (86 kW and 147 Nm)
The new N16 was revolutionary. It got its appearance from a different product line, the Nissan Bluebird Sylphy. Nissan developed the Pulsar under this product line until it was reinstated back in Australia in 2013. As a newly-placed production line, the N16 became the first generation of the Sylphy.
Following the foreclosure of two of Australia’s assembly plants, Pulsar’s production was delocalized from Australia back to Japan and placed under the Nissan Bluebird Sylphy. The Pulsar continued to be developed under this product line until it was reinstated back in Australia. Nissan maintained both versions of the Pulsar and developed new trims like the LX, ST, Q and Ti.
The Sylphy B17 came out in 2013 and was renamed the Pulsar in Australia. Its release was announced at the 2013 Australian International Motor Show and presented in three trim levels. These were the ST, ST-L and the Ti trim. The B17 was available both manual gearbox and automatic CVT transmission, with the Ti transmission being exclusive to the ST trim.
This generation featured design and functional upgrades from its predecessor, including alloy rims, safety airbags and cruise control. The ST-L featured a leather steering wheel and gear shift, fog lamps, and a rear spoiler. The Ti trim was fitted with Xenon headlamps, leather-accented seats, a dual-zone climate control, infotainment system with satellite navigation, and a rearview camera. Nissan decided to halt the B17 development in the hopes of boosting its well-received sports cars, SUVs and pick-ups.
In 2013, thе Nissan Pulsar hatchback (C12) had been re-introduced as a redubbed Nissan Tiida for New Zealand. It was a 5-door hatchback that was a front-engine front-wheel-drive powertrain under the Nissan V platform. The C12 came in two trim levels, the ST and the Ti.
- ST – 1.8-litre MRA8DE inline-4 4cylinder petrol engine with 6-speed manual gearbox that made 93 kW of power and 174 Nm of torque and consumed 7.6L/100km
- Ti – 1.8-litre MRA8DE inline-4 4cylinder petrol engine with 4-speed automatic transmission that had 93 kW of power and 178 Nm of torque and consumed 7.8L/100km
C13 2014- present
This Pulsar was launched in Australia in 2014. It was originally the Nissan Tiida C13, but Nissan opted to market it under the Nissan Pulsar marque in Australia. The C13’s backbone is based on the CMF platform. This Pulsar was initially powered by two sets of engines, which were:
- A moderately-powered 1.2-litre DiG-T engine with 84 kW of power
- A low-powered 1.5-litre diesel with 78 kW of power
The Pulsar, as a popular nameplate, has lived up to its reputation. Although it was launched as a fastback, its various iterations have held its name up in Australia. They remain on the roads up to the present as a testament of the Pulsar's durability and reliability. Should you be in the market looking for good-value replacement parts, either to repair a broken car or to replace some worn-out parts, then you are in the right place. Carpart is a renowned Australia-based auto parts website, where you can get the best deals in car parts and accessories. Check us out now!