Sam Philip16 May 2014

Get ready for Nissan’s Golf rival

Nearly a decade after the Almera died, Nissan will this month reveal a 'spicy' five-door hatch, christened Pulsar

For all those of you who mourned the untimely, tragic passing of the glorious Nissan Almera, good news! The Japanese firm will this month reveal a five-door C-segment hatchback, a market in which it hasn't directly competed - in Britain at least - for nearly a decade.

Sadly the mid-size Nissan won't revive the heralded Almera nameplate, but will instead be badged ‘Pulsar', a name previously seen mostly in Asian and Australasian markets.

So what do we know about the Pulsar? Well, thanks to Nissan's teasy teaser image above, we can exclusively reveal it will have headlights, a grille and a Nissan badge. We're also told the Pulsar will be built at Nissan's Barcelona factory rather than its Sunderland facility, and will go on sale this autumn.

But Nissan VP Andy Palmer recently revealed a whole bunch more Pulsar details to our very own Paul Horrell, promising the five-door hatch would offer ‘innovation and excitement for everyone'.

"That includes design dynamics and handling," Palmer told our man PH. "It has to feel secure on the road like a VW, but have some spice on top. There's no terminal understeer, but it won't flip you."

Palmer promised the Pulsar won't follow the yawnworthy design of the Almera, and will instead boast rather stronger visuals. "It will have emotion in its design," he said. "Not everyone will love it."

Even so, with Nissan enjoying plenty of recent success without a conventional family hatch in its line-up, it's an interesting choice to plunge head-on into one of the most competitive market sectors.

When the Almera perished, Nissan chose not to replace the little-loved hatch directly, but to instead offer the Qashqai crossover, pre-empting the current trend for SUV-everythings.

The stellar success of the Qash - it has ranked among the UK's top ten best-selling cars pretty much every month since its arrival in 2007 - led many to assume Nissan wouldn't again challenge the Golf, Focus and Astra nose-on, but that is exactly what the Pulsar will do.

Can Nissan stick it to the hatchback big boys? Or should it focus on treading its own path? We'll find out very soon.

But consider this: surely this means we'll see, at some point down the line, a Nismo Pulsar hot hatch? Armed with the GT-R's 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6? Too much?

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