1994 Nissan Pulsar SSS 2.0L DOHC EFI petrol (SR20DE) from Australia and New Zealand
I bought it once, and I'd buy it again
New handbrake cable.
This Nissan Pulsar SSS is an absolute gem. A little unrefined compared to today's standards, and compared to other cars of its same time (1994) - but this is to be expect of a car which at the time it was first registered on the roads (1995) it was a run out model and was 5 years old - in other-words, due for a replacement model.
It is pretty comfy to drive with very supportive seats being the up-spec SSS. Has a pretty nice interior when compared to cars of similar price and era. Plastics are solid except parts can be quite brittle if care is not taken while removing them.
It handles very well - the steering is light (sometimes a bit on the too light side - but this can actually be adjusted via an adjustment on the steering rack) and very direct. There is ample feed-back through the steering rack and I can feel the front wheels travel over a painted line on the road! The adjustments for wheel alignment are also very impressive. The thread is so fine that a proper wheel alignment cannot be done properly if a wheel bearing has any slack in it whatsoever.
With Independant suspension all round, the car can be set up to handle very sweetly. The car can handle like it is on rails for the weekend, but on a sunday afternoon your can swap suspension gear so easily it can be a smooth-riding passenger car.
Braking performance with the stock brakes is more than enough for enthusiastic road use. Don't expect them to pull up like the GTi-R's big AD22VF calipers do though... If you do need it to pull up that quickly, the ADV22VF calipers are a direct bolt on to the stock hub...
The SR20DE is a gem of a motor. An almost perfect square bore/stroke ratio gives this motor free-revving capability and makes for an easy drive with plenty of torque don low. These motors are prone to being driven hard though and are prone to developing a tap-tap-tap noise which is commonly mis-diagnosed as the timing chain (which also makes some noise, especially if the timing chain tensioner is stuffed - which is very common as well). The SR20DE is also know to have a weak head at high revs, so avoid a motor which looks like it has been abused at some stage in its life - even though it will probably last the lifetime of the car, its not worth the risk. These can be expensive motors to work on, and can be very hard to work around as well. THe spark plugs are platnium tipped jobs which cost $80, but then again they last 100,000km at minium, so you can't really complain too much. Almost impossible to remove oil filter unless you have Monkey hands.
Gearbox is nowhere near as strong as the motor, however, and care must be taken to avoid killing it with abuse. Synchros wear out very quickly under hard use, just like most small 4cyl gearboxes.
The main place for rust to appear in the N14 is around the boot - especially if a rear spoiler has been fitted.
If you find a good example of an N14 pulsar, go for it. They are excellent cars. Mine is 10 years old and has 150,000km on the clock and not a single rattle inside the cabin.
Despite rather expensive parts, they are very easy to come by.
The N14's safety in an accident is also very good.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th April, 2005
3rd Jan 2007, 20:02
Very well written explained everything very well. You've gone though quite a lot of effect to try and cover everything. I agree they are very good cars very good looking and quite rare with good features. Almost like a decent BMW.
16th Sep 2007, 03:41
I agree. I'm on my P's and they are an all out car. The engine performs very well and when the Apexi exhaust got added, it sounded all the better, and you could feel the added power over the stock system.
17th May 2008, 21:04
Great review, just bought a SSS sentra (am in New Zealand) and this review was very good to read, very interesting to hear all the stuff about my new car. thankyou.
2nd May 2011, 21:45
I am buying a 1994 Pulsar SSS on Friday.
I just wanted to know how well you can get parts for them? I am getting the 4 door I think sedan, but it has a rear wiper. Does that mean it's a hatchback?
Any good ideas on how to make it a really sporty look without blowing too much budget?
13th May 2012, 09:00
I've had my 94 Japanese Spec SSS for a few months, and I'm loving every second of it. I'm on my P's, and my SSS manages to keep up with VZ V6 Commodores :)