Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011 Nissan Quest Review

2011 Nissan Quest Review

Nissan released a slew of teaser pictures that reveal some details about their latest minivan which will do battle with the also new-for-2011 Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey.

At this point Nissan has only released images of the 2011 Nissan Quest. Expect at least seating for seven passengers and front-wheel drive, as well as available minivan goods -- like power-sliding doors, a power lift gate and a third row seat that folds flat.

Less controversial is the 2011 Quest’s interior. The first- and second-row captain’s chairs (there is no second-row-bench option) are superbly comfortable, and even the third row isn’t a penalty box, thanks to theater-style seating and the absence of a second-row center seatback. Because none of the Quest’s seats folds into the floor, as they variously do in its competitors, the Nissan has nearly 40 percent less available cargo space than the Odyssey.

On the road, the Quest’s driver might actually enjoy the drive. We never enjoy the characteristic engine moan that accompanies these transmissions, but we don’t suppose many Quest buyers will notice.

At $35,150, the SL brings leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, roof rails, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, and a quick-release function for the fold-flat third-row seats. Finally, the range-topping LE adds Nissan’s wonderfully intuitive navigation system with an eight-inch display, a 9.3-gig infotainment system with 13 Bose speakers, rear-seat DVD entertainment, blinds for the rear side windows, Nissan’s new air-scrubbing advanced climate-control system, blind-spot warning, xenon headlamps, and more, for $42,150.

Sadly missing from the options list are the second-row captain seats from the Quest’s Japanese-market twin, the Elgrand, which feature articulating seatbacks and chaise-style calf rests—so much for snatching sales from Maybach.

Nissan “gets” parenting. A terrible marketing phrase for a good vehicle. With that, Nissan introduced v4.0 of their Quest minivan.

The new Quest is one big slab-sided piece of beef. It’s clear that Nissan designers have chosen the road less traveled. Dual moonroofs, second row power windows, fold flat second and third row seats with power return on the LE model. It’s a feature stolen from the larger QX56, but it’s trick tech nonetheless.
Bluetooth is available on the base S model, and standard on SV, SL and LE models. The theater-style layout finds the second row higher than the first, with the third row even higher.

The Quest is built on what Nissan calls its D-platform. Power to the people
Power for the Quest comes from the company’s ubiquitous VQ-series 3.5-liter V6 engine. Fuel economy numbers are estimated at 18/24, for the 4,548 lbs. vehicle (in LE trim). Power is transmitted to the road by Nissan’s Xtronic automatic CVT transmission with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC), that seeming causes gear changes to disappear. Twin tube shocks help smooth out the ride, while speed sensitive power-assisted rack and pinion steering offers good road feedback.

Stopping power comes from four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS, brake assist and electronic brake force distribution to evenly spread power to all four wheels instead of having the vehicle lurch forward in extreme braking situations. With a “great room” concept of interior design, the Quest is quieter than any recent minivan we can recall. Leftlane’s bottom line
Nissan’s new Quest is an example of good product accompanied by a bad marketing plan. We’ll see if anything changes after Quests hit showrooms in late January

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