Nissan Pulsar SSS is back

STEPHEN OTTLEY
Last updated 08:01 01/09/2012
Nissan Pulsar

COMEBACK: The Nissan Pulsar SSS.

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After months of speculation Nissan has officially confirmed the return of the once-popular Pulsar SSS hot hatch.

"There'll be a hot hatch [Pulsar],'' says Andy Palmer, executive vice president of Nissan globally."

He also confirmed the SSS would be powered by a turbocharged version of the 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. But it won't be a power focused machine; instead Nissan's performance division Nismo will put the emphasis on driving dynamics.

"Generally speaking where we're trying to take Nismo is one of more outright ride and handling rather than hot, hot performance," he said.

"The basis of that is most people don't get anywhere near the limits of their motor car's performance as is. You can make the sports car more accessible, better ride and handling, that's where Nismo has gone."

But in bad news for performance car fans Palmer scotched recent reports that the company was working on a new small rear-wheel drive sports car to compete with the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.

Although he admitted the company looked at a successor to the 200SX, the program was stopped 18 months ago and the decision was made to promote the Juke compact SUV as a sporty model to younger buyers.

"Interested is one thing, having it on the planning books is another," he said. "We departed from the 86 model and went down the road of Juke as a conscious decision. Gen Y and definitely Gen Z is definitely less interested in that kind of execution of sports cars."

While obviously the Juke is obviously a very different proposition from the 86/BRZ Palmer is confident it is appealing to the younger buyers Nissan is targeting.

"Ideally you want a customer in their early 20s, so we're talking about Gen Z," he said. "What I'm saying is, that customer has a different attitude to sporty performance and a different attitude to life than I do or you do."

-Fairfax Australia

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