Announced in April 1982, making its European debut in October. By this time, Nissan had more or less standardised its naming policy worldwide, so as a Nissan it tended, excepting European markets, to be known as a Pulsar. In Europe it retained the “Cherry” moniker, and in Malaysia and South Africa it was sold as the Nissan Langley. This generation Pulsar sedan or hatchback was sold in North America only for model year 1983.
New Pulsar models were introduced in the Japanese home market. The Nissan Langley, in its second generation, was a Pulsar sold at Nissan Prince Store locations next to the Skyline, and shared many styling influences from the Skyline. The Japanese market Langley added a five-door hatchback body style to the popular three-door hatchback. A two-door coupe was also added alongside the Pulsar at Nissan Cherry Store locations called the Pulsar EXA in 1983.
Nissan also offered the Langley EXA at Nissan Prince Store locations.The market acceptance of the Langley inspired Nissan to sell a second badge engineered version at Nissan Bluebird Shop as the Nissan Liberta Villa, replacing the larger Nissan Stanza clone, called the Nissan Violet Liberta. The Liberta Villa was only available as a sedan, offered as a smaller companion to the Nissan Leopard (itself a Skyline clone). The top trim package was the SSS turbo with the E15ET engine, and the top two trim packages offered multi-port fuel injection with the base model offering a carburettor—all with the 1.5-liter petrol engine. A diesel engine was also offered on the Liberta Villa, using the CD17 engine.
The Australian market Pulsar N12 series arrived in October 1982. Offered as a five-door hatchback, 1.3-liter TC and 1.5-liter TS specifications featured. These early cars were manufactured in Japan. May 1983 saw the debut of an update to the Australian range Now produced locally, the update heralded minor trim changes, suspension and steering revisions and new seats. Specification levels were overhauled with the Pulsar E opening up the range with its 1.3-liter engine, followed by the 1.5-liter GL and GX. In October 1983 the sedan body was introduced in GL and GX guises (1.5-liter). A turbocharged Pulsar ET five-door arrived in April 1984, sharing its engine and trim with the EXA. It was only available with a five-speed manual. The ET also had alloy wheels, a modified suspension and various aerodynamic improvements. The engine was imported fully built from Japan.
The next update came in August 1984 alongside a badge engineered twin, the Holden Astra (LB)—a scheme devised under the Button car plan To differentiate the Pulsar, Nissan Australia applied the upmarket Japanese market Langley body details for its facelift. The headlamps were now fitted as quad units and narrower horizontal tail lamps distinguished the rear styling. Other changes included an increase in specification, minor suspension calibrations, and refreshed interior trims. Sedan versions had their facelift delayed until November that year, and the ET hatchback lingered on with the older styling until the demise of the N12 in 1987. The Australian-built Pulsar ET was also exported to New Zealand, beginning in 1985
The final Australian N12 update arrived in April 1986 prior to the 1987 N13 introduction. The Holden version was known as the LC Astra The revisions brought further trim changes, tweaks to the five-speed manual transmission, new colours, a new entry-level DX model, a change from GX to GXE, and the introduction of a larger displacement 1.6-liter engine tuned for unleaded petrol replacing the 1.3- and 1.5-liter leaded units used previously. The ET model also saw its 1.5-liter turbocharged engine updated for unleaded fuel.
The N12 was assembled in New Zealand at Nissan NZ’s plant in Wiri South Auckland from 1982, and facelifted in 1984 when the main change was a switch to the now compulsory laminated windscreen. This generation was offered in both three and five door hatchback form with both 1.3- and 1.5-liter Nissan E-series engines shared with the also locally assembled Sunny sedan (NZ did not import the equivalent Pulsar sedan). The Holden Astra badged variant was not sold in New Zealand. The EXA Coupé was a limited official Nissan import new but thousands more Japanese market specification models arrived in the later
The European market Cherrys were available with engines ranging from a 1.0-liter, 50 PS (37 kW) petrol unit to the 114 PS (84 kW) turbocharged 1.5-liter E15ET and also included the diesel CD17 The Cherry Turbo was an attempt at breaking into the then very popular GTi category, but being a somewhat half-hearted effort it did not have much of an impact in the marketplace. The Turbo sat on comparatively skinny Dunlop tires and had few changes aside from lots of stickers and the turbocharger. Period tests complained about peaky power delivery (and the same long gear ratios as for the regular Cherry), torque steer, and a harsh ride. The Pulsar/Cherry underwent a light facelift in July 1984.
This model was also built in Italy by Alfa Romeo as the Arna (named after the joint venture which created it, Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli), using Alfa Romeo boxer engines. Confusingly, the Italian models were also sold in the United kingdom and Spain as the “Nissan Cherry Europe”. At Alfa Romeo, the Arna was meant to replace lesser versions of the popular Alfasud, but never had the Italian car’s appeal. The Cherry Europe also failed in its “home” market (Europe) lacking the build quality and reliability of its Japanese built twin car.
Chassis Code N12
Also called Nissan Cherry (Europe) Nissan Langley Nissan Liberta Villa Alfa Romeo Arna (Europe) Holden Astra (LB/LC)
Assembly Oppama Plant, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan Australia: Clayton South, Victoria New Zealand: Wiri
Body and chassis
2-door coupé (Nissan Pulsar EXA)
Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
988 cc E10 I4 OHC (In Line 4 Cylinder)
1270 cc E13 I4 OHC (In Line 4 Cylinder)
1488 cc E15 I4 OHC (In Line 4 Cylinder)
1488 cc E15ET turbo I4 OHC (In Line 4 Cylinder)
1597 cc E16 I4 OHC (In Line 4 Cylinder)
1680 cc CD17 diesel I4 OHC (In Line 4 Cylinder)
Wheelbase 2,415 mm (95 in)
Length 3,960 mm (156 in)
Width 1,620 mm (64 in)
Height 1,390 mm (55 in)
Curb weight 820 kg (1,808 lb)