The all-new 2011 Nissan Quest minivan impresses reviewers with its smooth driving dynamics and unique styling. Priced toward the top of this segment, the Quest competes head-to-head with the kings of the minivan category, the 2011 Honda Odyssey (Base MSRP: $28,075 to $43,250) and 2011 Toyota Sienna (Base MSRP: $25,060 to $40,570).
The Nissan Quest shares its basic vehicle architecture and engine with the Nissan Murano crossover and, not surprisingly, reviewers say their driving dynamics are similar, but the significantly larger Quest isn't quite as nimble as the Murano. Nissan officially advertises the Quest as a vehicle that "Gets Parenting." To that end, Nissan aims for styling, functionality and comfort that young families want. Overall, the Nissan is seen as a "smartly competitive, sensible and straightforward" van according to Fortune magazine, especially if shoppers can afford the option-heavy, high-end trim levels
Visually, the 2011 Nissan Quest features heavily-tinted glass that wraps around the D-pillar and makes for a stocky look. USA Today doesn't pussyfoot around the styling issue, simply calling the Quest's looks off-putting.
Autoblog.com says that in addition to providing the driver with a commanding position, the Nissan Quest
has low door sills that make it easy to enter and exit via the sliding rear doors. This is especially important when, as is frequently the case with minivans, children are the ones clambering into and out of the passenger compartment.
While Autoblog finds the overall interior presentation "much less polarizing" than the Quest's boxy and dowdy look outside, most reviews are critical of the 2011 Nissan Quest's interior. While it is a "calm, comfortable and quiet cabin," according to Edmunds.com editors, it comes up short with respect to interior storage. The Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna hold not only more cargo, but more people as well.
Unlike the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, there is no second-row bench option in the 2011 Nissan Quest. Instead, much to Autoblog.com's dismay, two captains chairs that aren't designed to be removed and can only fold down occupy the second seating row. This makes the Nissan Quest's interior much more like that of an SUV with three rows that fold flat to accommodate larger items. Like other minivans, the Quest has a storage well behind the third-row seat, but it's covered by panels that help achieve the flat cargo space when the seats are all folded. This is good for keeping objects out of sight, but inconvenient if you want to take full (and/or frequent) advantage of all the available space, since you need to move the cover out of the way to maximize it.
Furthermore, several reviews complain that when the shift lever is in Drive, the driver's access to the minivan's climate and audio system controls are obstructed.
Four 2011 Nissan Quest trim levels are offered. Base S models start with 16-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, woodgrain trim, folding rear seats and the Nissan Intelligent Key, a fob that you can leave in your pocket or purse and still be able to lock and unlock the doors. SV models add power-closing rear doors, three-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, a backup camera system and a six-speaker stereo. The Nissan Quest SL upgrades to 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, heated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, automatic lights and quick-release third-row seats. Top-end Quest LE models add navigation, a Bose 13-speaker audio system with satellite radio, an 8-inch display screen for front-seat controls and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with two wireless headsets and an 11.9-inch screen. All 2011 Nissan Quests are outfitted with 16 cup and bottle holders. A dual-pane power sunroof is optional on all models.
One practical and popular feature on the Nissan Quest is its neat tire-inflation notification system. When the computer recognizes air entering any tire, the hazard lights automatically flash. Once the tire is properly inflated (the standard tire pressure monitoring system knows), the minivan honks its horn to signal it's ready to roll.
One engine drives all variations of the 2011 Nissan Quest: a 3.5-liter, 260-horsepower V6. It's mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This powertrain combination delivers an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn't put the Quest through its new-for-2011 crash-test procedures, so ratings aren't available. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the quest Good (the highest rating) in front- and side-impact crash tests, but it has not yet tested the minivan's roof strength. Antilock brakes, stability and traction control are all standard, as is a full suite of airbags (front, seat-mounted front-side and full-length side curtains). A back-up camera is available on all but base S models, and a blind-spot warning system is offered on the top-end Quest LE trim.
Autoblog.com is a good resource for practical reviews. Edmunds.com gives a rundown of vehicle specifications, trim levels and performance and clearly notes the various model-year revisions. Motor Trend's road test of the Quest is typically well-informed. Articles from USA Today and Fortune are briefer than others, but their writers offer strong perspective. Complete specification rundowns, pricing information and other purchasing information is available from AOL Autos. Links to comparison tests that include the 2011 Nissan Quest can be found in our full report on minivans.
1. AOL Autos
AOL has a complete breakdown of pricing information and vehicle specifications, as well as a helpful interactive vehicle comparison tool for shoppers.
Review: 2011 Nissan Quest, Editors of AOL Autos
Michael Harley's article is a complete account of his 2011 Nissan Quest road test. It includes pictures and concentrates on driving impressions and styling.
Review: First Drive: 2011 Nissan Quest, Michael Harley, Dec. 16th, 2010
Improvements for 2011 make the Nissan Quest a competitor in the minivan category, but the lack of cargo and passenger space make it fall short of the class leaders, Edmunds.com says.
Review: 2011 Nissan Quest, Editors of Edmunds.com
4. USA Today Magazine
James R. Healey, USA Today's automotive journalist, gives an honest and opinionated review of the Quest, offering strong comparisons to its minivan rivals.
Review: 2011 Nissan Quest Improves on Minivan Before It, James R. Healey, Feb. 18, 2011
Alex Taylor offers his perspective on the all-new 2011 Nissan Quest's niche in the minivan market, calling it "sensible and straightforward."
Review: 2011 Nissan Quest 3.5 LE: In the Minivan Mainstream, Alex Taylor, March 4, 2011
6. Motor Trend
Ron Kiino delivers insightful information about the status of the minivan in today's vehicle market, and compares the Nissan Quest to its main rivals, such as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
Review: First Test: 2011 Nissan Quest, Ron Kiino, Dec. 21, 2010
7. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
In independent crash tests, the 2011 Nissan Quest scores the best rating of Good in front and side impacts. Roof strength has not yet been evaluated by the IIHS.
Review: Nissan Quest, Editors of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
FuelEconomy.gov does not list the 2011 Nissan Quest's Environmental Protection Agency fuel-economy estimates. Nissan's website lists it at 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
Review: 2011 Nissan Quest Minivan, Editors of NissanUSA.com