Renault Pulse 1.5 RxZ dCi Diesel
Renault’s innings in India began with its association with Mahindra and this got the French car maker’s first car model-the Logan in India. The Logan did sell well to an extent but differences with Mahindra saw the cease in Renault – Mahindra tie up in 2010 and also gave the Logan to Mahindra which is now sold as the Verito. Renault then got its act together and decided to re-launch its brand and got its Executive sedan, Fluence followed by its SUV ‘the Koleos’. The demand for small cars is always high in India and Renault wants to get into serious business by the recent offering of its first small car the Pulse.
We drove the Renault Pulse 1.5 RxZ dCi Diesel and explored its capabilities to find out if it is the small car that will take Renault in the number game. Read on to know all.
First things first, the Renault Pulse is based on the Nissan Micra but with a few changes on the design front. For people who don’t know – Nissan Motor is owned by Renault worldwide and hence this association exists in India too. The Pulse is manufactured at the Renault – Nissan Plant in Chennai.
At first sight, the Renault Pulse looks distinctively sporty; the Pulse has a nice tall stance. The overall design language on the exteriors is rounded; you get a large blacked out hexagonal air dam with chrome inserts on the front bumper. This hexagonal air dam is very large and prominent and goes a long way in giving that sporty look to the Pulse. The RxZ variant which is the top end model in the Renault Pulse line up also gets a pair of fog lamps that are round in shape and placed low down on the front bumper. The Pulse gets a stretched back designed headlamps that has been shaped to gel in with the overall round design of the car. The front bumper extends reasonably high and a neat looking Renault badge in chrome is placed on the center of the bumper just between the honey comb grille and the bonnet.
The bonnet extends itself and there’s a smooth rounded curve that mates with the headlamps. The side profile of the Pulse is highlighted with the inclusion of the sporty looking alloys that instantly give the side profile of the Pulse a big push in extending its sporty appeal. The Pulse has short but high fenders. The doors get the round design touch. The top end RxZ Pulse get the smart key access wherein you can lock or unlock the car by just touching the button on the grab door handle provided you are carrying the remote key with you. This smart key function also works on the tailgate lock making it very convenient to open/close the tailgate without having to use the keys. The Pulse also gets dual tone wing mirrors that are colored in the combination of the body color and black.
The round design element flows to the rear side profile too, on the rear roofline that comes down in a very round curve combined with the rounded rear quarter glass. The Pulse has a large glass area making visibility very good. The rear of the Pulse is best defined by the large PULSE monogram in chrome that is placed in the center of the tail gate just below the rear wind shield combined with the Renault logo. The RxZ Pulse also gets a huge rear roof spoiler with integrated stop lamp in it combined with the rear defogger and rear wash wipe. A soft bevel design flows on the tail gate that runs across from both the tail lamps inwards towards the Renault logo. The Pulse has a pair of vertical combination tail lamps that jet out of the body giving the rear a very nice look.
The rear bumper is a dual tone affair with the top portion being body colored and the middle lower part being in all black, this combo makes the rear of the Pulse appear very neat and sporty. We have said this before too in our Nissan Micra review and we say it again, the overall design element on the Pulse reminds a lot like the iconic Beetle and this is a big compliment for the car.
The Renault Pulse RxZ drives on 15 inch Bridgestone tyres with specs of 175/60R15. The Renault Pulse measures 3805mm in length, 1665mm in width and has an overall height of 1525mm. With a wheelbase of 2450mm the Renault Pulse has a good aggressive stance.
Interiors – Cabin
Get inside the Renault Pulse and you realize that the cabin of this car is ditto Micra. The rounded design element is very evident here too. The Pulse has a three spoke leather wrapped steering wheel with silver inserts on it. This steering can be adjusted manually for height. The dashboard is in a mix of dark grey and silver. The odometer console houses the RPM meter on the left, the speedo in the middle and the multi information display on the right side. Combined with the tell-tale lights above the MID, just besides the steering to the left is the engine start/stop illuminated button that is very practical and convenient in daily usage. The center console on the dashboard gets a neat looking single CD MP3/radio player combined with the AC vents in round shape and the round shaped climate control that looks very cute. Below the climate control are a pair of cup holders and some storage area.
The Pulse has its gear shifter with a dash of silver coat on it. There is some storage area just above the glove box too. The Pulse gets fabric seats in a dual tone color. The front seats get adjustable headrests. Height adjust on the seats is not available but we didn’t miss that as the Pulse has a nice tall seating position. The front seats are comfortable and cushioning is firm offering well under-thigh and lower back support. Leg room and head room on the front seats is good and so is the visibility from the driver’s seat. The Renault Pulse RxZ gets auto folding wing mirrors in addition to power adjust. If you set the wing mirrors to auto mode they open up when you start the car and auto fold when you switch off the car. This is a very handy feature and a practical one too.
The rear seat is comfortable with adequate support and incline; it gets a pair of adjustable headrests. Rear leg room is generous and perfect for two passengers while a third passenger can too fit in if needed. The 40:60 split folding seats are not available on the Pulse. Just behind the handbrake is a can holder for the rear passenger. The Renault Pulse has a boot capacity of 251liters which is more than enough for you to carry your stuff in.
Engine – Suspension – Drive
The Renault Pulse is powered by the legendry K9K family Diesel engine. The K9K Diesel engine was co developed by Renault Nissan and is seen on many of their car models. This engine is one of our favorites. The Renault Pulse gets its power from the 4 cylinder in-line 8V SOCH CRDI Diesel engine that makes 64PS @ 4000RPM and generates 160Nm of torque at as low as 2000RPM. A 5speed manual gearbox is mated to this engine unit.
When you start the Renault Pulse using the push button ignition you instantly notice the smooth refined idle at which the car settles. Shift to the first gear and the Pulse drives ahead in a smooth pattern. The first gear ratio is short and meant for start off. Shift to the second and that’s when you begin to realize the engines true potential. The Pulse has a very smooth and refined drive feel. The gear ratios are best tuned for in city driving conditions. The turbo lag is negligible and the car has a very impressive drive character. The gears are well spaced out and the mid range power is its highlight. You have enough power at all speeds and overtaking is always easy on this torquey engine. The Pulse handles rather well on the highways as well as the city roads.
The ride quality on the Pulse is its highlight. The suspension is tuned on the softer side and teams up with the soft steering making it a fun car to drive. The light power steering is a big boon in city traffic as well as on highways. The Renault Pulse does with discs brakes in the front and drums on the rear while braking is sharp and accurate and very reassuring. The Renault Pulse handles the sharp corners and bends in a nice linear pattern and there is more than enough power at tap across all gears. The superb suspension setup feels home on rough patches and on worst of roads and kudos to the suspension team that has worked on this tune. The Renault Pulse returned with an overall fuel efficiency of 18kmpl which included driving in city roads.
The Renault Pulse RxZ variant gets driver airbag as standard while the passenger airbag is an option. You get Anti-Pinch function on the driver side window, speed sensitive door lock/unlock, Immobilizer on it.
The Renault Pulse is the perfect answer from the French car maker and its entry into the ever so crowded small car market. The Renault Pulse is an overall package that has been very well engineered. The superb K9K CRDI engine is one of the best Diesel motors that give you the best mix of power performance and efficiency. The other highlight is its suspension that’s best suited for India. Renault has got the design of the Pulse to the Sporty best. Overall quality and fit finish is good.
Renault has priced the Pulse RxL base model at Rs 5.77 lakh, Ex Showroom Delhi and the top end RxZ at Rs 6.25 Lakhs making it a very viable option in its segment. If you ask us-Do we recommend the Renault Pulse?.......Yes we Do.