The two main models presented from 2020 onwards on the Brazilian market, Fiat Pulse and Volkswagen Nivus are in a good fight to find a small SUV with an attractive appearance. They are models that look great, bring a good driving sensation and you won’t have to pay the price that, in fact, a sports car would charge.
Let’s go over the main things that you should consider when choosing who should go to your garage.
The Pulse is known for having the most powerful 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbo engine in Brazil with 130 hp and 20.4 kgfm of torque, coupled with a seven-speed CVT automatic transmission. The Nivus has the same volume, only 2 hp less, but offers the same torque as the rival with a six-speed automatic transmission. Let’s agree then that this conflict starts even at the technical draw.
What the Pulse takes advantage of is the option to offer other engines with more affordable finishes. The Drive 1.3 manual and automatic versions of the Drive 1.3, both producing 107 hp and 13.7 kgfm, are attractive entry-level options for their cost-effectiveness, despite having low equipment.
There are also three turbocharged versions: Drive Turbo, Audace and Impetus, and they reach 0-100 km / h in 9.4 seconds, while the Nivus reaches the same start in 10 seconds.
Nivus offers two versions, Comfortline and Highline, and the entry-level version already has an extensive equipment list. This model comes with adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, braking system, six airbags, a 10.25-inch instrument panel and a 10.1 multimedia center with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless connectivity.
The Nivus design shows that the Germans can really trust the Brazilians from VW, after all, the Nivus project developed here was so praised that it ended up crossing the Atlantic and ending up in Europe with the name Taigo.
With only four airbags, two less than the Nivus, the Pulse has an 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch multimedia center, depending on the version. Both are very intuitive and easy to set up, with 4G connectivity and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wirelessly. The Fiat Connect///Me system provides access to various manufacturer services. The digital instrument panel is seven inches for all versions.
As for safety items, the Pulse comes standard with automatic air conditioning, traction and stability control, LED headlights and flashlights and electric steering wheel, rear parking sensor and pilot. The 2023 model lost the standard 16-inch alloy wheels. Now they start from the middle version of the Turbo Drive.
Interior space is always controversial for a small SUV. It is common to look from the outside and find the cars in this segment to be more spacious than they actually are. This is especially true for the Pulse, which is 4.09m long, 1.77m wide, 1.59m tall and has a wheelbase of 2.53m.
The Nivus is slightly larger, with a length of 4.26m, a width of 1.75m, a height of 1.49m and a wheelbase of 2.56m. Rear seat space appreciates the extra 3 cm on the wheelbase compared to the Pulse.
Lead Nivus and Pulse
Derived from the VW Polo, the Nivus has good handling, the roar of the turbo engine sounds just right for those who like to make that first acceleration when turning the green light in traffic and can be considered a good choice for those looking for a day-to-day SUV.
Argo’s big brother, the Pulse is also a very quiet car to drive, smart in the turbo version that we tested with good response, especially when pressing the Sport (red) button.
Because it is smaller than the Nivus, the Pulse is more suitable for use in large cities. The downside is that depending on your size, maybe the leg position is not very ergonomic because the seats are a little short.
Conflict of Use – Pulse more economical
According to official labeling figures, Nivus travels 10.7 km/l in the city and 13.2 km/h on the highway with gasoline, while with ethanol the figure is 7.7 km/l in the city and 9.4 km/l on the highway.
Pulse 1.0 averages 12 km/l with gas in the city and 14.6 km/l with the same fuel on the highway. The numbers with ethanol are 8.5 km/l in urban environment and 10.2 km/l on highway sections.
Space and Cargo – Nivus gets the best
Officially Fiat reveals that the Pulse has 370 liters of space in the trunk. Visually it looks small and there is an explanation for this. The manufacturer calculates this liter using liquids and not blocks, like most measurements done on other cars.
Nivus has a bigger trunk compared to Pulse. There’s 415 liters of capacity, a good measure for a crossover coupe proposition.
What can they improve?
Although the 1.0 turbo responds well, VW could take advantage of the 1.4 turbo engine used in the Polo GTS and T-Cross Highline to add a more powerful 150 hp version to the Nivus. The European Taigo even has a 1.5 engine option with these riders there and it adds an important feature that will come at least on the Nivus Highline: a sunroof. Who knows when Nivus 2023 arrives.
The Pulse has a very attractive design on the outside, but the interior finish is something that could be improved on future models, as is the layout of the glove compartment. The height adjustment on the steering wheel comes on all versions, but the depth adjustment was only installed on the top version of the Impulse line. It’s something that could be a series.
Fiat Pulse 2023 Editions:
Pulse Drive 1.3 manual R$ 96,290
Pulse Drive 1.3 CVT R$ 103,290
Pulse Drive Turbo 200 CVT R$ 111,290
Pulse Audace Turbo 200 CVT R$ 116,290
Pulse Impetus Turbo 200 CVT R$ 127,990
2022 VW Nivus Versions:
VW Nivus Comfortline – R$119,550
VW Nivus Highline R$ 136,270
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