In the world of the minivan, the Nissan Quest has made very little impact so far. The first generation model was a bit too small, and the second generation model looked weird, and wasn’t very nice to drive.
However, what turned me off most about the 2nd-generation Quest was not its styling, size or its silly center-stack instrument binnacle. No, what turned me off was its quality. The second-gen Quest sadly had the built quality comparable to American vehicles built in the 1980’s (yes, it was that bad). To see this type of sad quality on a Japanese vehicle was just not right.
Thankfully, Nissan has woken-up now and has addressed the issues regarding the Quest with their completely new 2012 model. Is it any good? Let’s find out.
Let’s start off with the styling. For starters, this third generation Quest looks much more mainstream (i.e. normal) than the last Quest, and it manages to look quite handsome. I like it. Thank you Nissan for making a minivan that looks attractive.
Thanks also goes to them for finally fixing the interior. The old Quest interior looked like a bad extra from an old Star Trek movie, nothing looked right and the quality was horrendous. Now the quality is much, much better and better still, the interior now looks modern and the instrument binnacle has finally been put where it belongs, behind the steering-wheel (not the middle of the dash). Occupants will also be happy with the space inside, this is a really roomy vehicle.
So, the 2012 Quest looks better and has a much improved interior, but does it drive any better?
Well as far as drive power is concerned, not much has changed there. It still has a 3.5-liter V6 engine, but now it produces 260 hp, and is mated to a CVT automatic gearbox, driving the front wheels. Normally I hate CVT gearboxes, but this one seems to work very well and feels much more like a normal automatic. Bravo Nissan for finally making a CVT gearbox that works.
They have also worked on the chassis so the new Quest rides a lot better than the old one did; handling has improved also, and thanks to its extra degree of turn at full lock, this minivan has an amazing turning circle. Parking this minivan is actually fun because of its tight turning radius. This minivan also drives very much like a car, which is a huge compliment for this class of vehicles.
So how does it compare to its rivals? Well the 2012 Quest now finally has power windows in the rear doors (like most of its competition), but while some rivals have all the seats fold into the floor, in the Quest, only the rear bench folds into the floor.
What about fuel economy, after all a family vehicle does get driven a lot, so will it hurt the bank?
Thankfully, the new Quest is actually quite frugal, I averaged 12.5-liters/100km, which means it is better than most of its competition. It’s priced well too, starting at $29,998. However, it can get pricey very quickly, as a fully loaded model will set you back a staggering $48,578. Ouch!
So to cap it all, the new Quest is much improved over the one it replaces, so if you were put off by the Quest the last time you went minivan shopping, its time now to take a serious look at it again. It might just be what you’re looking for.