Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: 2012 Nissan Quest LE

The 2012 Nissan Quest is the first minivan that I have ever driven (Because 1. Growing up my grandmother (she drives an Infiniti EX35) hated minivans.  2. I am 22. 3. I have no kids!). After taking a year off the Quest returned to the Nissan lineup in 2011. The Nissan Quest competes against the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Dodge Grand Caravan, and the Chrysler Town & Country. My tester was a top of the line 3.5 LE coming in at $44,665.

Most people will be turned off by the BOLD styling of the Nissan Quest. But I have to say that the Quest is a very attractive vehicle (I like vehicles like the Hyundai Veloster and Nissan Juke!). It is very evident that some styling cues were taken from Infiniti. After reading hundreds of comments, many seem to not like the rear of the Quest which is very boxy. When I first saw the pictures of the new Quest I didn't like it either and it does take some getting use to.

The Quest's interior is beyond luxurious. All trim levels of the Quest offer soft touch materials and high-quality plastics throughout the cabin. The navigation system, shifter, stereo and climate controls are neatly organized on the center console. A big plus is that the buttons and knobs are easy to reach from the driver's seat. No one will have a hard time finding storage because there are tons of spaces and compartments to put items. The front two bucket seats were really comfortable and I was surprised about how supportive they were. The second and third row seats were just as comfortable. Everyone will have more than enough headroom and legroom. The second and third row seats fold forward but cannot be removed. The Quest's competition allows the removal of the second row seats, and the third rows to fold into the cargo bay. While Nissan's seat decision does compromise cargo, I found their approach to be more convenient. If I was blind folded and put in the Quest I would have thought I was in a luxury vehicle.

The Quest comes standard with Nissan's Intelligent key and push button start. I am a big fan of Nissan/Infiniti navigation systems and the navi system in the Quest does not disappoint. My favorite feature is the power sliding doors. The doors really come in handy especially if you have your hands full. My tester came with Bose audio, Bluetooth connectivity, an 11" screen and DVD entertainment system, and XM satellite radio.

Behind the Wheel
The Quest is powered by Nissan's 3.5L V6 engine producing 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a CVT (continuously variable transmission). Many people dislike the CVT because it does not shift like a traditional automatic and makes a droning sound. But the CVT transmission works really well with Nissan's V6 engine. Power does come on smoothly but I do wish there was more torque. The Quest departs from most of the Nissan lineup because its suspension was tuned to be luxurious and not sporty. At speeds above 60 MPH the cabin is very quiet. The Quest handles really well and is very responsive. The large windows offer great visibility which is always good with a large vehicle.

I think the Nissan Quest is a great vehicle that  people looking for a minivan should take a look at. Many people get caught up in brands and do not give others a chance. The Quest is a vehicle that people should give a chance. Buyers looking for an 8 passenger minivan should look at some of the competitors, but if 7 seats work for your family then make your way to a Nissan dealership(In the NC area visit my friends at Greenville Nissan). Nissan really took that year off to think about the Quest and created a minivan with unique styling, a luxurious interior, and a smooth ride. A 2012 Nissan Quest S trim starts at $25,990 and delivers 19 mpg city and 24 mpg hwy.

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