Nissan Pulsar 2013 st-l
Owner Review

2013 Nissan Pulsar ST-L review

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I sold my 2003 Toyota Corolla when it became too expensive to run, and I entered the market to replace it with a brand-new car (hatch or sedan). What I was considering on my search were some aspects many other people also consider:

  • Cheap to run
  • Good service
  • Good price (I had a budget of less than $30K)
  • Reliability
  • Keeping the resale value

When I came across the promotional offer from Nissan for a 1.0 per cent interest rate and no deposit on some vehicles, I thought I'd take the opportunity. On a Saturday morning, I went for a test drive.

The first car I drove was a Nissan Qashqai and the second was a Nissan Pulsar sedan. With my Persian background, I did not mind owning a Qashqai as Wikipedia says, "Nissan named the Qashqai after the Qashqai people living in mountainous Southwestern Iran. Qashqai means 'a horse with a white forehead' based on a translation by Vasily Bartold".

But after driving the Pulsar, I felt more comfortable behind the wheel. The Pulsar was sharp and easy to drive, while the Qashqai didn't have the same promotional offer and the price was way above my budget. Above all, the dealer was offering a good price on a demo car. All these factors made me buy the white Nissan Pulsar ST-L with 1000km on it.

It's been three years since then, and it's driven every day and still drives perfectly. The longest trip we had together was a road trip from Sydney to the Gold Coast with many coastal stops and driving around 10km on a dirt road with no problem. The cruise control was very easy to use, and our calculations proved that petrol consumption was around 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres. But now we have this feeling it's not as good on our daily drives in the city, being more than 10L/100km.

The Nissan Pulsar ST-L (1.6L turbo petrol engine) comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and electronic brake-force distribution system, adjustable steering wheel, anti-lock braking system and central-locking remote control. Like the rest of the four-door Pulsar range, this car comes with a five-star ANCAP rating and includes a dual-airbag package.

The interior isn't too fancy, but looks really good, feels very comfortable and is incredibly spacious. Lots of leg and head room in the rear seats make it a perfect car for families. The ST-L is not the highest spec in the Pulsar range, and the 2013 model doesn't come with sat-nav, rear-view camera or push-button start/stop function. However, it has most of the necessities required in a family car such as safety systems, USB and iPod connectivity, back-seat air vents, power windows, mobile phone connectivity, power steering, fog lights and LED daytime running lights.

My car has the continuously variable transmission (CVT), which I was worried about after having a chat to our journos and reading some other owners' comments on it. So far, I have noticed that CVT is not a terrible thing on a car.

It’s reasonably quick, but sometimes doesn't respond as quickly when driving up hills. It’s not so much a fun car, but it's not the nature of this car to be one. It has a very firm ride, the steering is perfect and responds swiftly to driver input.

The Pulsar gets a three-year/100,000km warranty with capped-price servicing over a six-year period.

Masi Ghadiri is CarAdvice's resident accountant.