This is turning out to be an exciting year for Nissan dealers and drivers.  Not only have we seen the newly updated Qashqai and Juke models, but there's now the prospect of a completely new model in the marque's product line.

It's called the Nissan Pulsar, and it marks the long-awaited return of the family hatchback to Nissan for the first time since 2006 and the Almera (which was incidentally called the Pulsar elsewhere in the world).  Nissan have re-launched the Pulsar name as part of their strategy to overtake Toyota, and they're well on the road to achieving this aim.

Already being compared to the current market leader – the Volkswagen Golf – Nissan say they're offering a car with better specifications, better fuel consumption and more interior space than its rival.

Not only that, there's a range of high-end technology that will be fitted as standard to certain models, which means drivers will be getting rear-facing parking cameras without having to pay extra for them.  Also standard on at least one model in the Pulsar range will be automatic emergency breaking, lane departure warning and blind-spot warning, making it one of the safest cars on the road at no extra cost.

Nissan tell us that the Pulsar's longer wheel-base than its rivals mean more legroom in front and back, and a roomier interior. Taking the battle directly to the Golf and the Ford Focus, the 1.5dci diesel engine delivers 109 bhp, with a frugal 95g/km emission rating, delivering an extraordinary 79mpg. There'll also be 1.2-litre and 1.6-litre turbo petrol versions, too.

Style-wise, it's got the now familiar Qashqai grille, which marks it out immediately as a member of the Nissan family. The chaps at Top Gear think this is a look that will split opinion, but if you've got a look that happens to be based on one of the country's best-selling cars, why change the winning formula?

The new Pulsar arrives in the UK in the autumn, and we'll show you the first-drive reviews as soon as they're in.