2011 Nissan Quest — Review
This 2011 review is representative of model years 2011 to 2013.
By Kirk Bell of MSN Autos
The last time Nissan overhauled its Quest minivan was 2004. It was designed and built in the United States for the American consumer, which meant that it was large, roomy and shaped like a breadbox on wheels. Plus, the interior featured a strange stumplike center stack that was just awful. While that Quest wasn't pretty, it was your typical minivan at the time.
Today, however, the minivan market is making a comeback. All of the major players have undergone major redesigns over the past few years. And they are all looking pretty good. But none of the transformations have been more drastic than that of the Quest. This time the all-new 2011 Nissan Quest is designed and built in Japan. The looks are better and the interior is much nicer.
Will this total overhaul be enough for the Quest to compete with the new Toyota Sienna and redesigned Honda Odyssey, the minivan segment's two heavy hitters? The jury is still out.
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags, front side airbags, three-row curtain side airbags with rollover sensor, active front head restraints, tire-pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, traction control and electronic stability control.
Under the Hood
Adding to the ambiance are its family-friendly features. The Quest offers an 11-inch rear DVD screen that is the biggest on the market. Also available are a hard-drive radio, a 13-speaker Bose audio system and Bluetooth and MP3/iPod connectivity. Those features make the Quest competitive with all but the Chrysler minivans, which also add available Internet connectivity and two types of TV streaming.
Space is important in a minivan, and Nissan focuses on making that space easy to use. The front seat is available with a nice center console, but it's not as deep or versatile as those offered in some other minivans. The side doors are easy to open, thanks to buttons on the handles that you can press to power the doors open. It's a nice touch that will be a godsend for moms and dads with armfuls of kids and packages. The doors open to reveal a pair of comfortable second-row captain's chairs and a deep, removable second-row center console. The captain's chairs fold and slide forward with the pull of a lever, leaving a large entryway that makes access to the third row quite easy.
That third row is fairly roomy. Thanks to decent head- and legroom, a pair of adults can fit back there quite comfortably for a short stint. The seat bottoms are set too low, though, for good long-trip comfort.
The second- and third-row seats fold flat, but not like the seats in other minivans. They simply fold over. The second row doesn't fold into the floor and is not removable, and the third row doesn't fold into the well behind it, which is covered. There is a total of 35.1 cubic feet of storage space behind the third row, and 63.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. That expands to 108.4 cubic feet with all seats folded.
While that's certainly a useful cargo hold, it isn't as useful as the competition. A 4-by-8 sheet of plywood won't fit back there like it will in most competitors. Total storage also suffers. By comparison, the Honda Odyssey has 148.5 cubic feet of space with the second row removed and the third row folded into the rear well. That gives the Honda 37 percent more space.
On the Road
There are positives, though. The ride is smooth and forgiving, the turning radius is impressively tight, and the Quest does a good job of shutting out wind and road noise. The engine is also quiet most of the time, but it can get abrasive under full throttle.
The performance of Quest's 3.5-liter V6 engine is right in line with the competition. It provides willing power from a stop, though the throttle is a bit touchy. Zero to 60 mph is in the 8.5- to 9.0-second range, just like other V6-powered minivans. And the continuously variable transmission feels like any other regular automatic transmission.
Fuel economy is in line with the class, but the 18 mpg city/24 highway mpg rating is significantly lower than the 19 mpg/28 mpg rating of the class leader, the Honda Odyssey.
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