Having been a keen motorist for the past 16 years and having owned more than 20 cars in this time, I feel I’ve got a pretty good idea of what makes a good motor. And Nissan’s latest entry to the family hatchback market is just that.

The five-door Pulsar, with its haul of safety features, is vying against the likes of other C-segment models like the ubiquitous Ford Focus, the Volkswagen Golf and the Vauxhall Astra, but definitely holds its own.

At first glance, I was pleasantly pleased by the muscular body styling, aggressive front headlights and stand-out black and grey 17 inch alloys of this Pulsar Tekna I had been loaned to test drive.

And after listening to Ancaster Nissan’s sales adviser explain all the gizmos, I was raring to test its mettle. Once I had synced my mobile phone, and set Absolute Radio on the DAB radio, I was ready to start my journey back to the office.

What I liked straight away was the driving position of this compact car; the gearbox was in perfect alignment and reach for me, and the centre console within easy touching distance.

Not only was I really keen to test its performance and drive, I was also interested in its space for my family of four.

Thanks to the longest wheelbase in the class (2,700mm) and clever packaging, the Pulsar offers considerably more rear legroom and shoulder room than its sector rivals. The rear space was excellent, with plenty of leg room behind the front seats. Indeed, with 692mm of leg space – the Pulsar has more rear kneeroom than the average D-segment offering.

Yet despite this, it retains a compact footprint making it easy to park in tight urban environments.

The boot, however, was a little on the small side, I thought, and you would struggle to fit a buggy and a week’s shopping in.

There are some great safety gadgets on this particular model, like brake assist, moving object detection, lane departure and blind-spot warnings.

The four-camera AVM system (Around View Monitor) provides a 360° view around the vehicle which helps enormously with parking and other tight manoeuvres.

The Pulsar line-up features three engine options, with the most powerful 1.6 DIG-T 190 unveiled for the first time at this month’s Paris Motor Show. The particular model I was testing was the 1.5dCi, which, driving around town back to the office, had enough poke and acceleration anyone would need. However, after 200 miles of motoring over the weekend, I did, on occasion, find there was a lack of power from the 110bhp diesel engine between 1-2,000 revs - which I found a little frustrating. Having said this, the ride was excellent, and there was plenty of torque from the 6 speed gearbox if you needed to overtake.

There were two standout features for me; its styling, and its useful little locking button on the door handle which gives you added confidence you have secured the car.

The Pulsar offers buyers a premium ownership and driving experience making it a great family car in comparison to its rivals. And, with the extra safety gadgets that come with this model, it’s worth spending that little bit more.

The Pulsar comes in various guises with the Visia start point at £15,995 up to the top range Tekna diesel engine, which I drove, starting at £21,945.

Well done Nissan.

For more information, or to arrange a test drive, contact your Ancaster Nissan dealer.

Dealer details Ancaster Nissan Bromley Tel: 020 3728 2890 Ancaster Nissan Eltham Tel: 020 3728 2888 Ancaster Nissan Penge Tel: 020 3728 2887 Ancaster Nissan South Croydon Tel: 020 3728 2889 www.ancaster.co.uk