The Renault Nissan Alliance has given birth to a vast array of cars for the Indian market. With an impressive (and almost identical) lineup of cars from both sides, one can be forgiven for his indecisiveness in choosing between the two brands. We take a look at the Nissan Micra and Renault Pulse to see which car is the better bet.
The Micra was never the most appealing hatch in the Indian market. Its cute-sy design failed to impress and with cars such as the Fluidic i20 and Volkswagen Polo entering the market, the Micra was in need for a major revamp. That revamp came in the form of a makeover last year to improve its image among buyers.
Although the latest facelift does improve the Micra’s looks, the car’s proportions still look out of place. However, with its aggressively styled headlamps and revamped rear end, the new Micra is a drastic improvement over the previous gen model. The Nissan hatch also comes with a new chrome grille and LED taillights that build on the car’s premium appeal.
Unlike Nissan, the French car maker has retained the original design of the hatchback. However, with subtle structural changes such as the re-sizing of the grille, altered contours and its large Renault badge, Renault has endowed the Pulse with a more masculine character.
However, with its dated design, the Pulse loses out to the more recent Micra facelift.
Round 1 Winner: Nissan Micra !
Much of the new Micra’s facelift manifests itself with its interiors. The piano black center console and Nissan’s dual display system are the two most eye catching design elements of the Micra’s cabin. While the larger display is used by the infotainment system, the secondary screen displays the AC settings.
The cabin is far more upmarket with updated plastics and aluminum finishes all over.
The Pulse’s interiors are relatively rather dull and drab. The company’s choice of colors of beige and grey all over makes the Pulse’s cabin look quite cheap. The choice of plastics and fabric are not up to the mark as well.
Since the Pulse and Micra share the same platform, the interiors of the Renault hatch are almost identical to the first generation Micra.
Round 2 Winner: Nissan Micra !
The Micra is powered by both petrol and diesel engines. The petrol variant make use of a 1.2 L three cylinder engine that produces 76 HP at 6000 RPM and 104 Nm of torque @ 4000 RPM. Although the 1.2 L petrol unit produces a respectable amount of power, the engine could do with some remapping for better accessibility of peak power and torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 5 speed manual with a CVT gearbox also available.
The diesel engine is a 1.5 DCi unit that produces 65 HP @ 4000 RPM and a peak torque of 160 Nm @ 2000 RPM. The diesel Micra is equipped with a 5 speed manual only.
The Pulse uses the very same engines except for slight changes to the performance numbers. The 1.2 L petrol mill produces 74 HP @6000 RPM and 104 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. The 1.5 L diesel mill outputs a peak power figure of 63 HP at 4000 RPM and 160 Nm of torque at 2000 RPM.
Although the Pulse produces slightly lesser numbers, the difference in power is almost negligible with no tangible differences in top speeds or acceleration rates.
Round 3 Winner: Draw !
One major issue with any Nissan developed car is the stiff clutch. Although the clutch pedal and clutch movement feels sturdy, the Japanese automaker could have added a lighter movement to allow ease of use under heavy traffic conditions. The Nissan Micra’s compact structure means that the 1.2 L petrol is relatively quite powerful and the Micra that works well under heavy stress.
The inclusion of ABS across a majority of the models and the choice of two or four air bags means the Micra is also one of the safest hatches as well.
The Pulse, although identical to the Micra improves on the Nissan hatchback’s driving dynamics. The clutch pedal had just enough pressure to not be a nuisance in city traffic but offered enough feel for accurate clutch movements. The engine was extremely responsive and just as much fun as the Micra. However, the brakes left much to be desired. The Spongy and vague feel greatly depreciates driver confidence.
Unlike the Micra, the Pulse slightly skimps on safety features such as ABS and airbags along a number of variants. Hopefully the French automaker will understand that safety is the need of the hour and introduce a better set of options in the Pulse’s next iteration.
Round 4 Winner: Nissan Micra !
Although both cars are almost identical, the results speak for themselves. The Nissan Micra is a newer offering that adds better safety options across a larger number of variants and its updated interiors are far more appealing than the Pulse’s dated beige cabin. The inclusion of an automatic gearbox also means that the Nissan Micra is an option to an increasingly automatic inclined audience.
Image Source: Internet