2011 Nissan Quest Road Test Review

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Though past its prime popularity-wise, the minivan still commands a viable market segment. Now that the inevitable shakeout has occurred, the marginal players have fallen by the wayside, or invented a different sort of minivan in order to compete. Chevy has abandoned the segment altogether, while Ford's minivan has morphed into the more station wagon-like Flex. Other than Chrysler's, the only true minivans left on the market hail from Asia.

And now, for 2011, Nissan ups the ante by introducing an all-new Quest with more luxury features, more personal technology, more utility and better performance. On the performance front, a 3.5-litre version of Nissan's venerable VQ-series V6 engine supplies 260 horsepower and 240 ft-lbs of torque while returning the EPA equivalent of 13.1 L/100km in the city and 9.8 on the highway.

Riding on the same platform underpinning Altima, Maxima and Murano, Nissan's Quest enjoys an independent front suspension system with a multilink setup out back. This endows the 2011 Quest with significant agility-although body roll could be better controlled. The electric steering system provides a high degree of accuracy and reasonable steering feel. All in all, the Quest is easy to drive and maneuver around town. The rear-mounted camera also makes it exceptionally easy to park.

Seating seven, the Quest features a number of appointments to make family duty easier while simultaneously surrounding occupants with a pleasant environment. The second and third rows fold flat to create a perfectly level load floor. A deep storage bin is hidden beneath two panels behind the third row to provide more carrying capacity and conceal valuables from prying eyes.

Quest's sliding doors feature rectangular buttons in the door handles that open them automatically at a touch to ease access when you have your hands full of groceries, car seats, or the other detritus of parenthood. The tailgate opens in a similar fashion, also at the touch of a button. By the way, the sliding doors feature power windows and a dual-pane sunroof makes for a light and airy feeling in the cavernous cabin.

Quest's captain's chairs-featuring contrasting piping-use a firm bottom cushion crowned with a cushy pillow top to improve comfort while providing enhanced support. The seats are heated as well, employing a strategy wherein the bottom cushion heats first to warm you faster. The back cushion heats after the bottom has reached the optimal temperature. Sixteen (yes-1-6) cupholders, an 11-inch wide-screen video monitor, a removable console for the second row, and a 13-speaker Bose audio system with deep, rich bass response add significantly to the utility and ambiance of Quest's interior.

And while Bluetooth is optional, the Nissan Quest features as standard equipment an innovative tire pressure system. When refilling one of the tires, the horn beeps to let you know when you have reached the optimal tire pressure.

All in all, the 2011 Quest is one of the nicest minivans ever built. With handsome styling, more than adequate power, innovative features and an interior worthy of an Infiniti product, this reviewer is confident the new Nissan Quest should be a formidable competitor in the minivan marketplace.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Minivan, Nissan, 2011, Quest, $30,000 - $39,999,

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