Given how well the larger Nissan Qashqai tows, we’re a little disappointed with the Nissan Pulsar.

In the lane-change test in particular, the Pulsar fell short of the standard set by its big brother, and by the best cars in the lightest weight class. The caravan became so wayward that our driver aborted the test after the second of three runs. The other judges also found the Pulsar less secure than the best small tow cars, with more steering corrections needed when buffeted by a crosswind.

The 1.5-litre diesel engine has its work cut out when towing. Pulling from 30-60mph took 21 seconds. That’s almost nine seconds longer than the Skoda Octavia.

The Pulsar does have its strengths, though. The brakes stopped car and caravan well, with plenty of bite and control. In the hill-start test, the Pulsar also performed respectably. The handbrake held without needing excessive force, and the Nissan pulled over the hill without too much protest. There was a slight smell from the clutch after reversing, however.

In day-to-day driving, the Pulsar is competent rather than fun. The cabin feels well screwed together and there’s a lot of passenger space.

The boot isn’t as large as the Skoda Octavia’s, but our practicality test team still found room for almost every item of holiday luggage. The reversing camera – very useful for hitching up – earned the Pulsar more marks.

Running costs should be affordable, thanks to the 1.5-litre diesel’s 78.5mpg on the combined cycle, although we’d be impressed if any owner matches that in real-world driving.

Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance


Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS


Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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