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by Tim Beissmann

A prototype of the Nissan Pulsar hatch has been spotted testing in Europe, supporting suggestions the car will be sold across the continent from 2014.

In April 2012, Nissan announced plans to produce an “all-new hatchback” at its Sunderland plant in the UK from next year, but is yet to officially confirm what that model will be. The car is also set to be produced in Spain.

These images, captured by CarAdvice’s spy photographers, suggest Nissan is preparing a version of the new Pulsar hatch for Europe with a series of unique tweaks to increase its appeal to that market.

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Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer shed some light on the new hatch in May, telling UK publication AutoExpress it would feature sharp styling and was intended to rival the small-car benchmark, the Volkswagen Golf.

“We’ll start by not making any excuses for our car,” Palmer said. “In terms of dynamics and perceived quality it has to match [the Golf].

“Where we can be different is that it won’t look like the Golf. We can go after customers bored with the Mk7. We can be more provocative.

“The face is a little bit left-field, a little bit edgy. You can see what we have been doing recently with the V-grille going into the [bonnet].”

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Nissan’s as-yet-unnamed compact Euro hatch is expected to be revealed at the 2014 Geneva motor show in March.