A little over a year ago, I posted a review on my Nissan Pulsar. Having driven it for that time and getting my Ps, I've gotten to know the car far better and learnt to appreciate it more.
Starting with the appearance, it is still a great-looking car. The Pulsar N16 from 2004–2006 still fits in the crowd. It has aged gracefully and definitely will continue to look the part for many years to come.
To the interior, it is a bit bland, though the Pulsar Q would likely have had a more premium cabin. There are lots of hard, scratchy plastics that in today's world don't seem as nice as they likely would have a decade ago. Although, there are a few nice touches such as the cloth trim on the doors that matches the seats, and the light-grey centre console colour that helps it stand out from the black dash.
Features are minimal, but given the car's age and grade level, it is acceptable and much appreciated. Electric windows and mirrors, power steering, ABS, A/C, CD player, central locking, remote boot release and 15-inch alloy rims are all standard features on the ST-L.
In terms of performance, the car has a 1.8-litre inline-four engine that produces (or at least used to) 96kW and 163Nm of torque. It is mated to a five-speed manual transmission and FWD drivetrain.
The Pulsar is fun to drive and easy to commute in. In the city, the manual transmission can sometimes be hit-and-miss due to rush-hour traffic. On the highway, the Nissan performs surprisingly well despite its lack of power, but that's because the manual transmission allows you to essentially hold a gear for longer, which helps getting max power. It does well on the M1 Freeway in Adelaide despite the high, steep climb.
Fuel economy is very good, with the Pulsar only needing to be refuelled every week and a half – albeit this is achieved through driving less than 30km a day. If you are looking for a runabout car, the Pulsar will definitely continue to achieve good mileage.
Reliability is a must, and the Pulsar delivers. In the time I've owned it, I have never run into an issue. When I tell people I own a Pulsar, they always have a positive view towards them, praising them for their reliability, performance and value. Not only has that made me feel better about the car (which I love dearly), but it also means there is a positive reputation for this old nameplate, which is good for any brand and for those who own one.
For me, this Pulsar has been a great first car. It has never let me down and has always surprised me with something new as I got to know the car better. Anyone who is considering buying an N16 Pulsar should definitely do it, or at least keep it on the list of possible first/runabout cars.