The Renault Pulse was launched with great fanfare on 29th October 2011, honoring the promise the carmaker had made of launching a small car in the Indian market. Being an avid enthusiast of any vehicle that comes out in the small car segment, I, along with some of my friends, decided to venture out to test drive this model.
Impressions on First Look:
Let me be candid enough to confess being taken aback, when we first stepped into the auto showroom and saw the vehicle for the first time. It was as if we were staring at an evil-looking variant of the sweet and cheerful looking Nissan Micra. It was known to all that the Renault Pulse had been built on a common platform as the Nissan Micra but the striking resemblance of the two vehicles was what no one including, yours truly, had expected. What only differentiated the two was that the blacked out front grille and also a wider apron in the Pulse gave it a more aggressive look than the bubblier looking Micra. Of course, the head and tail lamps were also of a different make. All other features including door handles, tyres, doors, bonnet, hatch and rear-view mirrors were identical in the two vehicles.
All together, three variants of this vehicle have been initially launched and the numbers would go up in the future, the dealer stated in reply to my query. They are namely, the Pulse Petrol, the Pulse Diesel RxV and the Pulse Diesel RxZ. It was the RxV that we would be taking out for a spin.
The Engine Power:
The RxV has a four cylinder 1461 cc diesel engine. We were enlightened that the engine would reach a peak power of 64 BHP at 4000 rpm and would have a maximum torque of 160 Nm at 2000 rpm. The ignition was smooth and when the accelerator was fully pressed at neutral, there did not seem to be any worrying signs of the vehicle offering troubles at peak speeds.
The interiors: spacing:
Our group of four stepped into the car, along with an expert provided by the dealer. Even with five healthy elders in the car (of course 3 in the back), there did not seem to be any congestion in the seating aspect. There was an ample amount of leg space and headroom available, even though our group consisted of two six-foot plus individuals.
The interior decor:
The beige colored decor in the interiors was giving out a posh feel to the vehicle. A decent looking dark colored dashboard, equipped with HVAC controls, 4 AC vents (2 in the centre and 2 more at the sides), and a power steering wheel, which varied from the Micra, do their bit in adding up the spice.
Performance on the Road:
Having so far done all our evaluations of the vehicle from a static position, we were now out on the drive. On the city roads, which warranted changing of gears often, the five-speed-manual gears appeared smooth enough during each transition. Some rough potholes that were encountered on the way also did not seem to be a huge botheration; though the craving for more comfort on the bumpy roads is always there. What we waited with bated breath for was to see how the vehicle would deliver in terms of an expected power-packed performance, once we moved into the expressway. We were not disappointed though, the vehicle, in its segment did not do bad as we peaked to a speed of 100 kmph in less than 15 seconds, the speedy ride did not at any point make us feel that the vehicle was going out of control. The maximum speed of this vehicle, in lines with the Micra, has been kept at 160 kmph.
Fitted with attractive and peppy looking 5-spoke wheels, the Pulse does get a sort of chic look. Fitted with Bridgestone 165/60 R15 tyres, the vehicle looked ready to burn the road, without compromising on comfort and safety!
The Safety Aspect:
Renault, as we have read, has a strong DNA targeting the safety aspect; we realized in this drive that the Pulse continues to maintain this tradition. The Anti-Lock Braking System has been perfectly complimented with the Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, was what the expert was raving about. We decided to use the layman’s approach to find out what he meant. Indeed, even on strong application of the brakes, neither did the vehicle swerve out of control nor did any of us feel any visible discomfort. Also, the safety aspect has been again addressed by providing the vehicle with two air bags. What was more heartening was that along with the front-seat belts, 3 rear-seat belts have been thoughtfully provided.
The Entertainment Aspect:
The crave for loud music seems to increase directly to the length of drive one takes. The music system in the Pulse is fully integrated into the dash, also the speakers are of appreciable quality; the sound did not break even when we increased the volume to a very high degree.
Coming back satisfied from the experience and seating with the dealer over a cup of coffee, the most awesome fact yet was disclosed to us. This is for the first time in the small-car segment that the Renault Pulse is being offered with a 2+2 warranty. Gives us all the right reasons to own the Pulse provided we already do not own the Nissan Micra and seem to make compromise with the fact that too many service centers are not available.