Pulsar lights up small car market

OCCASIONALLY the backstory is more intriguing than the subject itself. Welcome, then, to the fall and rise of the Pulsar, dormant after seven long years of the spectacularly unsuccessful C11-series Tiida.

The latter came along because previous Pulsars had long struggled in Europe against the Golf and co, forcing Nissan to pitch – and finally strike gold with – the Dualis/Qashqai crossover instead.

But discontinuing Pulsar spelled trouble for the Australian arm. Apparently the behind-the-scenes battle against releasing the too-small Tiida with its oddball looks and silly name. But Japan insisted. And buyers avoided it in droves.

Now here’s where the plot thickens: Nissan reckons Aussies still revere the Pulsar badge, so it now adorns two different (and bigger) beasts – the fussy and formal four-door sedan, codenamed B17, featured here and on sale now, and the shapelier five-door hatch, known internally as the C12 (coming in July). Both are built in Thailand.

With its mini-Maxima styling, the Sedan is designed mainly for Chinese and US tastes, and hails from the old Sunny/Sentra line.

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