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Nissan Pulsar ST price plans to shake market

Pulsar ST will kick off the hatch lineup at $18,990, with the SSS (pictured) topping off the range at $29,240.

Cue cat, assemble the pigeons - the ultra-competitive small car segment is about to get even busier.

Nissan is literally hatching a plan to shake up the segment with an $18,990 kick-off price when it throws the Pulsar hatch into an already-crowded marketplace from June 1. The prodigal SSS son will also re-appear in hatch form, slotting into the Nissan pricelist at $29,240, completing the nameplate's return.

Nissan is banking on a volume boost from the Pulsar's resurrection - last month they sold 1644 sedans but the segment is dominated by hatchbacks - and has priced the five-door $1000 below the equivalent sedan.

The Pulsar ST manual hatch features mirrors the four-door - a 96kW/174Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder, six-speed manual (with the option of a continuously-variable transmission model for $21,240), 16 inch alloys, cruise control, Bluetooth, power windows, cloth trim, stability control, anti-lock brakes and air conditioning among the features.

Stepping up to the $22,490 ST-L puts front fog lights, an upgrade to the cloth trim, six speakers and USB/auxiliary inputs for the sound system, a rear spoiler and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The Ti model has been left out of the hatch range, with the ST-S added as part of a sports-model duo, priced from $24,990 utilising the 140kW/240Nm double-overhead cam turbocharged direct-injection drivetrain from the SSS but sitting on 17in alloy wheels.

The SSS squeaks in under $30,000 - $29,240 for the six-speed manual - and has the obligatory sports body kit, a touchscreen infotainment and satnav system, leather trim, Bluetooth phone and audio link, automatic xenon headlights, rear camera, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition.

The CVT transmission - $2250 on the mainstream 1.8-litre models - is a $2500 option on the two 1.6-litre models.

Introduced into Australia in 1991, Nissan last had the Pulsar SSS on its Australian pricelist in 2000, when it offered a 105kW/179Nm two-litre engine for just under $25,000.

But the SSS nameplate has history with Datsun dating back to the 1960s, including the legendary 1600, as well as 180B and 200B models and appearances on the rumps of Bluebird and Stanza sedans.

Nissan Australia managing director and CEO Bill Peffer is confident the return of the Pulsar hatch will be seen as a value for money. "My team and I are confident Australian small car buyers will find the all-new Pulsar hatch to be exceptional value, each grade in the model range has a compelling mix of price and standard equipment," he says.