All-new for 2011, the Nissan Quest minivan comes back for the 2012 model year with minimal changes. Moving from a design meant specifically for U.S. sales to that of the Japanese-market Elgrand, the length is down by almost four inches and the wheelbase is six inches shorter compared to the older Quest that left the U.S. market in 2009. But the Quest is still a huge vehicle with a funky look and tall, slab-sides that sets it apart in the minivan segment.
Focusing on passenger comfort over sporting pretensions or a silly attempt to create a "man van," the Quest provides ample room for passengers in a luxury car-like setting. Though cavernous with its seven-passenger seating, the Quest sacrifices rear cargo space in the name of pampering those along for the ride. Although it has fold-flat rear seats, the seats do not recess into the floor quite like Chrysler's innovative Stow 'n Go seating arrangement.
Powered by Nissan's venerable 3.5-liter V-6 that sees duty in a number of Nissan products, the Quest's ample 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque motivate the 4485-pound Quest at a little slower pace than its rivals, but this van is still no slouch. It's a serene boulevardier for seven.
Body style: Five-door minivan
Engines: 3.5-liter, V-6
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic
Models: Nissan Quest S, Nissan Quest SV, Nissan Quest SL, Nissan Quest LE
While the Quest carries over from 2011 with no changes, it is a massive departure from its predecessor, retaining only the 3.5-liter V-6 engine, albeit bumped up 20 horsepower for the redesigned model. Once trying for the sporty side of the minivan class, angling the Quest as the Maxima of minivans, the new Quest has gone for a plusher, softer-riding take in this iteration. If you long to get into a vehicle geared for the Japanese market, the Quest is about as close as you can get to a sliding-door executive express.
Tall, narrow, and upright, it looks nothing like anything else on the road. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is completely subjective. With an upright stance, it towers over other minivans, 3.1 inches taller than a Honda Odyssey, for instance. But while it is tall and squarish in proportions, the Quest cuts through the air with a drag coefficient of 0.32, better than a Chevrolet Corvette. With a large chrome bar connecting the headlights and a hexagonal grille below it, the Quest's looks may be different, even polarizing. But you know you're never going to lose yours in a mall parking lot.
With wrap-around windows and manual sunshades for the rear windows, the Quest provides passengers with a tall greenhouse and plenty of outward visibility from any window, as well as the ability to block some incoming light as necessary. Equipped only with seven-passenger seating, the middle row comes with standard buckets and a center console to hold cuts and any loose items. With swaths of faux wood covering the soft-touch dashboard, the Quest doesn't try to come off as sporty. But with an optional dual-zone climate control system that includes a Plasmacluster air purifier and Grape Polyphenol Filter that works to help reduce allergens and unwanted odors within the Quest, calling it serene may be a bit of an understatement. In-car DVD and MP3 player hookups are also available.
Performance & Handling
The Quest posts a competent 8.3-second 0-60 mph time, which would have put it close to the top of the minivan class 10 years ago. Today, the number suggests only acceleration competence. But who are we kidding? The Quest isn't a sports car and makes no claims to be. With a supple ride, the Quest is luxury car-smooth. But when pushed, the suspension is still taut enough to engage twisty roads when they emerge rather than avoid them.
The Quest comes standard with Vehicle Dynamic Control and traction control. Also standard are Nissan's advanced air bag system with dual stage front air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor, front seat-mounted side impact air bags, roof-mounted curtain side-impact air bags for front-and rear-seat occupant head protection, front-seat active head restraints, and child safety rear door locks. Blind spot warning is standard on LE models, and tire pressure monitoring is displayed on the eight-inch LCD monitor that comes standard in LE models or in the gauge cluster in other trim levels.
EPA Fuel Economy
Quest (all models): 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway
- First and second row space
- Features and amenities
You Won't Like
- Cargo space
- Third row leg room
- Seating flexibility
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Odyssey
- Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country
- Toyota Sienna
- Kia Sedona
- Volkswagen Routan