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      2012 Renault Pulse Review: Refreshed Twin?

      Aditya Chatterjee

      Aditya Chatterjee


      2012 : Refreshed Twin?

      Renault India may not have had a smooth ride in the past but it’s not letting that be a discouraging factor. Instead, Renault India is gearing up for the Indian market with some new and interesting launches like the Duster SUV and a sedan in October in addition to the existing line up of D Segment sedan Fluence, premium compact SUV Koleos and Pulse.

      Renault Pulse, unveiled by Formula1 drivers Mark Webber and Karun Chandok, marked Renault’s entry in India's hatchback segment to grab some share of the now very popular small car scene here.

      Though the resemblance in looks to  the Nissan Micra has over-shadowed the Renault Pulse, the retro based design theme of the Pulse pushes it away from peers like the 2011 Maruti Suzuki Swift and kinetic design based Ford Figo.

      To find out whether the new Renault grabs India’s “Pulse”, we review the RxL variant of the Renault Pulse.

      Highs of 2012 Renault Pulse

      Bold Styling


      Power Delivery


      Lows of 2012 Renault Pulse

      Exterior and Interiors very similar to the Nissan Micra

      Music System

      Appearance Exterior

      Renault Pulse borrows the Micra platform so heavily that the first look of the car mistakes you for the Micra always. Though, I have developed some liking for the way the Pulse looks.

      For me, Renault Pulse will score comparatively more points than the Nissan Micra, the reason being the Pulse is “boldy” designed compared to the Micra.

      Redesigned headlight assembly with sharper lines helps the Pulse to get the smarter look. The same can be seen on the bonnet too.

      The chunky Renault logo sits firm between the body line and the honey comb radiator grille. The Nissan Micra has cute styling but the cuteness has been shed off for the Renault Pulse with the exposed and butched twin radiator grille with chrome lines.

      If Nissan Micra had a shy face, then the Renault Pulse looks to have an evil smirk. The jaw line, which holds the fog lamps gives a good front profile with a teeth like arrangement covering the radiator.

      Side profile consists of the 165/70R14 Steel tyres and the pull type door handles. Proportions of the door sizes have been kept very balanced even though it’s a small car. The B-pillars have been camouflaged in black.

      The trend that one sees these days is that of wrap around lights, which sweep their way around the body of the car. The Pulse, going with its old-school styling has jetting out tail lamps with circular lamps inside it.

      The tail gate of the Pulse reminds me of the Koleos with extreme lines running from the side converging in the middle and meeting the chrome syllables of PULSE. Micra’s rear looks too plain jane compared to that of Pulse, which has more of curves.

      Rear profile of the Pulse is more exciting. The profiles on the bumper make it more interesting. Contrasting dark contours on the rear bumper make it look sportier.
      Flowing roof line is something in common between both the cars.

      Body colored ORVMs can be internally adjusted electrically. The RxZ variant has the automatically foldable rear view mirror, when the vehicle is locked.

      To sum it up, the Renault Pulse may look similar but is more sporty and bold in design compared to the Nissan Micra. Renault seems to have developed a liking for curves as all its models have a curvaceous profile. 

      Appearance Interior

      The exterior of the Renault Pulse impressed me with its bold lines but the interiors sadly don’t have any distinguishing factor compared to the Nissan Micra. So if you make someone sit inside any one of the cars and remove his blind fold, he won’t be able to make out the difference between them.

      Inside the Renault Pulse RxL, you won’t be greeted by a leather wrapped steering wheel but the one that comes in stock is not too depressing either. A standard 3- spoke design.
      Instrumentation cluster has been kept really simple and basic. It looks directly ripped off from the Nissan Micra. It features a tachometer, speedometer and a digital info display screen which informs you on the trip information, average fuel consumption and distance to empty.

      Walnuts have been replaced with plum and black as a shade on the dashboard.

      Central console features twin AC vents, Aluminum finished music system and the AC controls. The AC has a 4 speed blower and is effective in cooling. The compact nature of the design helps the cabin to get cool real fast.

      Music System in the Pulse comes with 4 speakers. The sound quality was not too impressive. It just refuses to bring out good quality music no matter how many permutations you try with the settings.Interiors scream Nissan Micra from every bit, which I found disappointing especially as the exteriors had left a good image on me.

      Headroom and legroom are decent. The hatchback won’t make you feel cramped at all. Seats have lumbar support for the driver and co-driver. Rear seats are comfortable for tall passengers too which scored a point.

      Plum colored seats go well with the interiors and do not make you feel inferior compared to the RxZ variant.

      Under the Steering rack lies the Mirror adjustment and the Mirror Close Open button, which is useful. In the RxZ, ORVMs close automatically when the vehicle is locked.

      Map reading lamps given on the Pulse score more points than the one in Nissan Micra.

      Plastic quality of the interiors and the switches are decent. Though, you find the same standards with the Nissan Micra. My favorite in the interiors still remains Maruti Suzuki. Their dominance for so long has a justified reason.

      Conclusion on the interiors of the Pulse would be decent quality plastics, spacious interiors and if not generous but adequate legroom for all passengers. 


      On the front dashboard, under the plum finished section, there is a peculiar shaped recess. I call It peculiar because the purpose of the recess is undefined.

      The inclined glove box can swallow in some basic folders and a mini laptop. If you decide to force in the owners’ manual too, then forget the mini laptop going in.

      There are 3 cup holders inside the car, 2 for the front row and one for the rear row. Besides the handbrake, there is a storage, which comes handy storing change and toothpick. Front doors have pockets to accommodate a beverage bottle and also spacing for keeping receipts. Rear doors are sans these privileges.

      Boot space is 251L, which is more than the Swift, can take in good amount of luggage. The boot space gets camouflaged cause of the dainty rear tail gate.


      Performance Drive

      The Renault Pulse has a 4 cylinder 8 valve1461cc Renault K9K engine. The engine produces a peak power of 64 bhp at 4000 rpm and 160Nm torque at 2000 rpm. A 5-speed manual transmission governs the unit.

      The K9K is the same unit which powers the Nissan siblings Micra and Sunny. It is very natural to believe that the performance of the Renault Pulse would be similar to that of Nissan Micra. Here the Pulse surprised us.

      Renault Pulse feels lighter and more agile compared to the Nissan Micra. We offered the Pulse to a gentleman, who has bought a Micra a week back and were very keen to get his take on it. He was mighty impressed and asked us the status of booking the car and whether it was possible to get his car exchanged. His enthusiasm was a proof that the Renault engineers did a good job.

      The gear shifts are smooth in normal city conditions as well as highways. The transmission got little jittery, when we tried playing with it on ghat sections. It is not a very zippy car but even then it managed to get our praise.

      Torque delivery was fantastic. One doesn’t feel sluggish when the engine pulls out. One more thing that managed to get my appreciation is the engine refinement, being a diesel car, the smooth nature of the K9K engine is highly recommended.

      In traffic clad roads, the 4.65m turning radius with a short driving stance is a blessing. Braking is very effective with the ventilated discs in front and drums doing round in back and the vehicle doesn’t steer away even when braked abruptly.

      We got the best fuel efficiency figure of 18kmpl, which is little less than what Renault claims of 23.08kmpl. 

      Tech Specs

      Technical Specifications
       Make Renault
       Model Pulse
      Variant RXZ
      Engine Capacity 1461/4
      Power PS/RPM 64/4000
      Torque Nm/RPM 160/2000
      Gears 5/M
      Fuel Diesel
      Length 3805
      Width 1665
      Height 1525
      Wheel base 2450
      Ground clearance NA
      Fuel tank capacity 41
      Mileage 23.8
      Tyres and wheel rating RxL 165/70 R14 (Steel)
      Tyres and wheel rating RxZ 175/60 R15(Alloy)
      Color Options Metallic silver Pearl white Solid Black
        Metallic Grey Champagne Gold Metallic Red
      Warranty 2+2 years/80000km which ever is earlier


      Features RXL RXZ
      Driver airbag Yes Yes
      Passanger airbag Option Option
      Front Fog lamps No Yes
      Immobiliser Yes Yes
      Rear wiper and washer Yes Yes
      Rear Defogger No Yes
      Bdy color bumper and door handles Yes Yes
      Leather grear shift knob with special finish No Yes
      Leather wrapped steering wheel No Yes
      Power steering Yes Yes
      Tilt adjustable steering Yes Yes
      Front and rear power windows Yes Yes
      Engine start/stop push button Yes Yes
      Electrically adjustable ORVM Yes Yes
      Central locking  Yes Yes
      Keyless entry Yes No
      Smart access key-5 doors No Yes
      Manual airconditioning with heater Yes No
      Automatic climate control system No Yes
      Integrated audio system Yes Yes
      Exshow room Mumbai in Rs 636000 693100
      RXL With airbags(optional) 649600 -
      RXZ With Passanger airbag (optional) - 706600

      Competition All Specs

      Maruti Suzuki
      Variant RXZ with Dual airbag XV Titanium Vdi
      Engine cc 1461/4 1461/4 1399/4 1248/4
      Power PS/RPM 64/4000 64/4000 69/4000 75/4000
      Torque in Nm/RPM 160/2000 160/2000 160/2000 190/2000
      Transmission 5/M 5/M 5/M 5/M
      Length  3805 3780 3795 3785
      Width 1665 1665 1680 1680
      Height 1525 1530 1427 1620
      Ground clearance NA 165 168 170
      Tyre Size 175/60 R15 165/70 R14 175/65 R14 165/80 R14
      Alloy wheels Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Mileage 23.8 23 19 18
      Key features
      Power steering Yes Yes Yes Yes
      AC Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Front power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Rear power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Central locking Yes Yes Yes Yes
      Music system Yes Yes Yes Yes
      ABS No Yes Yes Yes
      Airbag 2 2 2 No
      Ex showroom price Mumbai 706660 607384 599999 601798


      Built on the same V platform like the Nissan Micra, Renault Pulse would be definitely compared with the Nissan Micra. The similarity in the look and the feel of both the cars is bound to eat on each other’s market holdings.

      Renault Pulse, which is little longer and shorter than the Micra, would appeal to them who like a sporty design. The Pulse has been priced “interestingly” lesser.

      Maruti Suzuki Swift is undoubtedly a favourite among many but the long waiting periods deviates the prospective customers. Renault can cash in on this with the Pulse.

      The main issue of concern remains the dealer and servicing network. Renault needs to build a strong network throughout India to give the buyers the confidence to trust the brand. Hope Renault gets aggressive in marketing its brand. The Pulse can manage to grab the “Pulse” of India provided the dealership chain increases. 

      Renault | Renault Pulse | Pulse