May 24, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Thursday, 12 January 2012 13:49
In years past, the Quest was an inexpensive, compact minivan that got better fuel economy than the big dogs of the minivan world. But compact minivans have never done well in the U.S. market; only the Mazda5 survives today. So the Quest went on hiatus in 2003 and returned the following year as a bigger, aggressively styled minivan. Six years later, the Quest went out of production yet again, this time re-emerging somewhat meekly (for Nissan) as a square, function-over-form luxury minivan.
Promising “unrivaled family mobility,” the Quest comes in four flavors, ranging in base price from $27,750 to $41,350. All are equipped with a 3.5-liter, 260-horsepower V-6 engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT), and are rated at 19 mpg city, 24 highway. We drove the top-of-the-line 2011 LE, which came to $43,740 with options. That puts the Quest squarely in the middle of the major competitors — the cheaper Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna; the similarly priced Honda Odyssey; and the costlier Chrysler Town & Country.
The seven-passenger Quest, redesigned for 2011 and little changed for the new year, is true to its minivan roots: roomy, quiet, with car-like handling, melded with the functionality of a passenger/cargo van. While no longer a compact minivan, it remains smaller than the other full-sized minivans in terms of luggage and cargo capacity. Its fuel economy is about the same as the others.
The third-row bench is easily accessible even for adults, and the pair of second-row captain’s chairs recline and slide fore and aft. Both sets of rear seats fold flat easily, providing a level surface for cargo. Maximum cargo capacity is modest, however, at 108 cubic feet, compared with 141 to 150 in the competitors.
The Quest has a more athletic personality than the other minivans; that’s the tradeoff that will place the Quest and the smaller Mazda5 at the top of the list for some drivers.
Interior materials and controls are top-notch, featuring high quality and impeccable ergonomic design. Not all drivers liked the placement of the transmission shifter high on the dashboard, rather than between the front seats.
Built in Canton, Miss., the redesigned Quest has received the top rating of “Good” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Reliability data aren’t available yet, but Nissan’s Maxima and Murano, on which the Quest is based, have been average to above average, based on Consumer Reports magazine surveys.
The Quest is a pleasant and engaging minivan, listed at a competitive price. But for drivers who need maximum cargo room or eight-passenger capacity, the Chrysler, Honda, Kia and Toyota have the edge.
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, 260 horsepower, 240 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic
Weight: 4,548 lb.
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Wheels: 18x7-inch alloy
Tires: P235/55R18 all-season
Seating capacity: 7
Luggage capacity: 25.7 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 108.4 cu. ft.
Fuel capacity: 20 gallons
Fuel economy: 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway
Fuel type: Regular
|< Prev||Next >|