The Nissan Pulsar is an automobile that was produced by the Japanese automaker Nissan from 1978, when it debuted as a subcompact car, to 2007, when it was replaced in all markets by the Nissan Tiida. It was originally conceived as a replacement for Nissan's first front-wheel drive platform, the Nissan Cherry family (models E10 and F10). Although Pulsar models were mainly in front-wheel drive configuration, Nissan did offer four-wheel drive models during the 1980s to early-1990s, ultimately ending with the four-wheel drive turbocharged Nissan Pulsar GTI-R. Some models were sold as Nissan Sunny and Nissan Almera.
First generation (N10; 1978–1982)
The Pulsar was first released in 1978 and was a subcompact car as was the Nissan Cherry it replaced. The N10 series Pulsar was exported to Australia and Malaysia with the Datsun Pulsar name. This model was known as the "Datsun Cherry" or "Datsun 100A/120A/130A/140A/150A" in Europe and Asia and the Datsun 310 in the U.S.. In Canada, the Datsun 310 was available with "Pulsar" striping on the rear quarters. The Nissan Langley, from 1980, was a more upmarket Pulsar. The Pulsar was a companion platform to the Nissan Sunny, being an alternative to the Sunny competitor Toyota Corolla and Toyota Sprinter. Both the Sunny and the Pulsar were sold at different Nissan Japan dealerships, called Nissan Satio for the Sunny, and Nissan Cherry for the Pulsar.
The Pulsar was available as a three- or five-door hatchback, four-door sedan, a two or four-door van or station wagon, a two-door fastback with wraparound rear window, and a short-lived four-door fastback.
A mid-term facelift brought new E-series engines for 1981 and 1982. In Malaysia, Malay 1970's artist, Mazuin Hamzah was an ambassador of Datsun Pulsar E-Type 1300 N10 that marketed in Malaysia in the year of 1982.
The Nissan model N11 was not used on Nissan Pulsar N-range due to N11 was taken over by mini digger excavator since 1970's.
Second generation (N12; 1982–1986)
A more angular version was announced in mid-1982. This model was also built in Italy by Alfa Romeo as the Arna (named after the joint venture which created it, Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli), using Alfa Romeo engines. Confusingly, the Italian models were also sold with Nissan badges, in Japan as the Nissan Pulsar Milano and in Europe as the Nissan Cherry Europe. At Alfa Romeo, the Arna was meant to replace lesser versions of the popular Alfasud, but never had the Italian car's appeal. The Cherry Europe also failed in its home market—lacking the build quality and reliability of its Japanese built twin car, yet at the same time managing to inherit the typical 1980s Alfa vulnerability to body corrosion. By this time, Nissan had more or less standardized its naming policy worldwide, so as a Nissan it tended, with few exceptions, to be known as a Pulsar.
Those exceptions included related models in the Japanese home market. The Nissan Langley was a Pulsar with more powerful engines and four headlights. The Nissan Liberta Villa was a four-door version. The Nissan Pulsar EXA was a two-door coupé version with pop-up headlights. European markets continued with the Cherry name (as opposed to "Cherry Europe" for Alfa-built models).
The Pulsar EXA was known in North America as the Pulsar NX and shared many of its parts with the Nissan Sentra. This version of the Pulsar NX was available from 1983 to 1986 and came with either the fuel injected turbocharged E15ET engine or the carbureted naturally aspirated E16S engine. The Langley was built in Australia as the Nissan Pulsar, while the more standard Pulsar appeared there as the Holden Astra. The three-door and five-door hatchback versions of the Pulsar were also made available, replacing the old Datsun 310 hatchbacks, but they proved to be unpopular and they were withdrawn from Nissan's North American lineup after one year. The five-door hatchback remained in Australia until 1987, where it was known as the Pulsar ET Turbo and featured the E15ET engine.
Pulsar EXA Convertible — this limited edition model was designed to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Nissan Cherry dealerships. It was launched in May, 1985, and just 100 vehicles were made available for the whole of Japan. The vehicle sports numerous special accessories, including a soft top made from a special insulating material to keep out the rain and heat, and a rear window made from organic glass to ensure high visibility.