Not your (Australian) fathers Pulsar - new Nissan brings yet another small car nameplate to Europe (after Cherry and Almera) but on the same platform as the Qashqai

Not your (Australian) father's Pulsar - new Nissan brings yet another small car nameplate to Europe (after Cherry and Almera) but on the same platform as the Qashqai

Just to confuse - even further - the automaker's global model naming policy, the new European built Nissan Pulsar isn't the same car as currently sold in Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

That sedan and hatchback line is a rebadged Sylphy (sedan) and Tiida (hatchback); the sedan is also sold in the US as the Sentra. Both are on the Renault Nissan Alliance P3 platform. We won't even get started on the Versa/Sunny/Almera/Latio which are on a different platform again.

Nope, on sale next autumn, the new, Barcelona-built Pulsar - a direct successor to the old UK-built Almera hatchback (which was sold in Australia and some other markets as the Pulsar) - sits instead on the Alliance's new CMF architecture which underpins the latest Qashqai and X-Trail/Rogue crossovers and will share much of those models' drivetrains and technology.

Which bodes well for the new C-segment contender. Five-door hatchbacks are huge in Europe and class leaders are the VW Golf, Ford Focus and Opel/Vauxhall Astra. Against earlier generations, the forgettable Almera, dumped in 2006 (along with its Almera Tino people-carrier variant and the larger D-segment Primera) never stood a chance. Nissan instead went off at a tangent and developed two smash-hit crossovers - the C-segment Qashqai and B-segment Juke - and has now returned for another go at the five-door hatchback mainstream. If Pulsar looks, drives, has as nice a cabin, and is as well built as those crossovers, its chances look good.

Nissan claims to have combined bold design, technical innovations and interior space for the Pulsar and has packed in standard or optional technology the Almera could only have dreamed of such as Safety Shield which offers forward emergency braking, moving object detection, lane departure warning and blind spot warning. Most of that is in the opposition, too, but Nissan adds the Pulsar is the only car in its sector to offer the last three as standard on at least one model in the range.

The NissanConnect system with smartphone integration, Google Send-to-Car and access to a wide variety of apps should also help attract buyers, along with LED headlamps and other goodies such as the four-camera all round view parking/safety aid.

Drivetrains are familiar from the crossovers, too. The all-turbocharged engine range starts with the new Alliance 115PS, 1.2-litre DIG-T petrol unit and the 110PS 1.5-litre dCi diesel. A 190PS, 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine will be added early in 2015.

CVT 'XTronic' automatic transmission will be available.

Nissan said the longest wheelbase in the class (2,700mm) and clever packaging, delivers "considerably" more rear legroom and shoulder room than its sector rivals - with 692mm of rear kneeroom, the Pulsar is claimed more spacious than many D-segment offerings.

Overall length is 4,385mm, compared to 4,255mm for a five-door Golf.