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08 Mar 2017 | Text by Nigel Yong, Photos by Low Fai Ming & Desmond Chan

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Bang-For-Buck Hatches

Back from its hiatus, the Nissan Pulsar looks to gain some ground in the hatchback segment, going up against the Ford Focus and the Peugeot 308.


If you're in the market for a comfortable and reasonably spacious hatch, an obvious choice would be the Volkswagen Golf, which is the world's best-seller.

However, should you choose to own something less common, the Ford Focus and the Peugeot 308, as we've found out, make very compelling alternatives to the Golf. But before you decide on any of these European-made hatches, you might want to consider the segment's new kid on the block.

After spending some time away from Singapore, the Nissan Pulsar is back for a slice of the hatchback pie

With its re-entry into the local market, the Nissan Pulsar is back to give the aforementioned hatches a serious run for their money. In our test car's Premium trim, the $105,300 Pulsar sits in between the prices of the $99,888 Ford Focus and the $113,888 Peugeot 308, at time of writing.

Style factor

For starters, hatchbacks should be somewhat sporty and youthful in design. In this respect, all three cars do a decent job, with the Focus being the sportiest, thanks to the brand's 'One Ford' global design language and a large trapezoidal grille, which gives the car a more muscular look.

The Pulsar comes in second, with its sporty stance and crisp, sweeping hatchback lines. Its sharp creases have also been shaped for headroom, good all-round visability and aerodynamic efficiency.

Peugeots of old often had oddball styling but not this latest 308, which is more premium and executive than ever before

While the Focus and Pulsar are more playfully styled, the 308 seems to target buyers an age bracket up. It's easily the most premium-looking in this test and arguably one of the best-looking cars in its class right now.

Competitive cabins

Cabin's shouldn't just look great and be of reasonable quality, but also ergonomical in design. 

Here, the Focus ticks all the right boxes, providing drivers and passengers a utilitarian cabin that's also comfortable and plush. The Focus' dash layout may not be as simple as the Pulsar's or as uptown as the 308's, but it's got a certain feel-good factor when you're in the driver's seat.

The Pulsar's cabin provides the most leg and headroom for rear passengers and is the only one with rear air-con

The Pulsar's cabin materials aren't as fancy as the Focus' or the 308's. Its numerous hard plastics are a letdown considering it's pricier than the Ford. However, its infotainment system is the most user-friendly and the abundance of space it provides, especially in terms of leg and headroom for rear passengers, is great for families.

Those at the back will appreciate the car's rear air-conditioning, a must-have in Singapore's unforgiving climate, which isn't found in the other two cars. There's also 385 litres of cargo space available, outsizing the Focus' disappointing 316 litres, but losing out to the 308's colossal 470 litres.

The 308's simple and well-crafted interior gives it a more premium vibe over its rivals

But where it loses in rear legroom, the 308 comes back strong with a minimalistic cabin that looks and feels expensive, a panaramic roof and very comfortable seats.
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Car Information

spacer

Price

: $100,999

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder in-line 12-valve DOHC Ti-VCT Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

999cc

Horsepower

:

92kW (123 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

170 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A) SelectShift

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

12sec

Top Speed

:

192km/h

Fuel consumption

:

18.1 km/L

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors

Price

: -

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1197cc

Horsepower

:

85kW (114 bhp) / 5200 rpm

Torque

:

165 Nm / 1750 rpm

Transmission

:

Xtronic CVT (A) with Manual mode

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

-

Top Speed

:

-

Fuel consumption

:

19.6 km/L

spacer

Price

: $112,999

Engine Type

:

3-cylinder 12-valve DOHC PureTech Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1199cc

Horsepower

:

96kW (129 bhp)

Torque

:

230 Nm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A) EAT6

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

10.7sec

Top Speed

:

200km/h

Fuel consumption

:

19.2 km/L

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