2011 Nissan Quest

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2011 Nissan Quest — Flash Drive

By Staff of MSN Autos

To me, the Nissan Quest looks thoroughly ugly. It may not be in my top 10 list of all-time ugly cars, but it's close. And that's a pity, because the Nissan Quest is a well-rounded package. I achieved best-in-class fuel economy of almost 19 mpg in my city-and-freeway commute. The Nissan minivan also handled far better than I expected when pushed hard, and it only feels like a minivan because you are seated in that traditional upright pose found across the segment. But while I may be able to forgive the homely appearance of the Quest, I can't forgive the lousy ergonomics. The gearshift for the automatic transmission is exactly in the way of the center-console controls. I accidentally smashed my hand into it every time I reached to change the radio station, or the volume, or anything else. – Paul Hagger

Nissan's Quest minivan is redesigned for 2011 and driving this latest version reinforces the fact that minivans really aren't that "mini" anymore. While the new Quest is actually four inches shorter than its predecessor, the new design looks thicker and bulkier, and it feels big from the driver's seat. The Quest's ride is smooth, the seats are cushy, and the suspension is soft, which is probably a good formula for success in this segment. A 260-horsepower version of Nissan's benchmark 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers plenty of power, but the continuously variable transmission still takes some getting used to in a vehicle of this size. The point of the CVT is to conserve fuel, but I still saw closer to 16 mpg than the EPA city rating of 19 mpg. The gearshift on the dash is in an awkward position that interferes with using the cupholders and partially blocks the view of the entertainment system screen. – Mike Meredith

There's nothing "mini" about this new minivan from Nissan. It seems that function is much more important than style with the Quest; minivans had been getting much curvier, but the Quest looks like a big box. However, the boxy exterior provides a very roomy interior that is quite attractive and comfortable. Both rear rows offer impressive legroom, even for a minivan. I expected more cargo space behind the third row, but seats easily fold flat to make for plenty of room. There are a couple of annoyances up front. The center console has room for plenty of stuff, but it's set back far enough so that it's hard to grab items without turning away from the road. The other is the placement of the gearshift. It's placed directly between the steering wheel and the audio and climate controls, and I hit it constantly when reaching for the controls. Worth mentioning is that there's plenty of power on tap and that the ride is luxury-car smooth. – Perry Stern


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BB02 - 7/27/2014 9:24:40 PM