The SSS badge has been worn by a number of Datsun and Nissan models through the 1970s and 90s; 180B, 200B, Bluebird and Pulsar are the models that come to mind.
And their ‘enhancements’ over the standard versions were largely about a sporty image than delivering anything resembling a sporting drive.
SSS was revived in 2013 on the Pulsar hatch. With the release of the series II Pulsar range earlier last year, Nissan added an SSS-badged sedan to replace the Pulsar Ti sedan.
Standard equipment is good, mirroring the Ti, plus some ‘extras’.
With sharper pricing for the CVT-equipped version than the Ti (CVT only) and an even cheaper manual SSS model, the ‘Triple-S’ looks like decent value.
All the expected safety features including full length curtain airbags are fitted, plus niceties like navigation, dual climate control, 17” alloys, reversing camera, keyless entry/start and xenon headlights.
Externally, a fairly subtle SSS body-kit including front, side and rear lower skirts, a rear spoiler, and model-unique front grille are fitted.
Styling-wise it still won’t stand out in a crowd though – a plus or minus, depending on your tastes.
Inside, there’s comfortable seating and, by class standards, generous cabin space front and rear, plus the practicality of a big boot. Old fashioned ‘gooseneck’ style hinges intrude into boot space, though.
What does set the SSS apart from other Pulsar variants is its 1.6-litre DIG turbo petrol engine that delivers significantly more power and torque than the standard engine – up 44kW and 66Nm respectively. And maximum torque of 240Nm is produced much lower in the rev range at 2000rpm.
It feels torquey and flexible, there’s minimal turbo-lag, and the eager performance it delivers is one of the car’s better points.
Our test car’s six-speed manual ‘box was smooth enough and mated quite nicely with the four-cylinder engine. Those after an auto can choose the optional ($2300) XTronic CVT gearbox.
On the road, the SSS delivers a sensible blend of firm but comfortable ride and better than average handling. That said, it’s not in the same league as the substantially more expensive and much praised Golf GTi, or a number of other distinctly sporty competitors.
The SSS is affordable and offers an improved driving experience over its lesser siblings, combined with typical Pulsar practical virtues. However, it won’t really set pulses racing.