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2011 Nissan Quest Review

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Nissan Quest

KNOWLEDGE BASE: Nissan Buyers Guide


by Marty Bernstein,
Senior Editor-At-Large

Don’t let the term minivan scare you off. This is not the minivan of old. The one you probably remember as a synonym for suburban, mommy-mover, bad drivers, road and space hog, ungainly, view blocking and ugly. Sure you do, but none of those words of derision apply to the new Nissan Quest.

Nissan’s designers have created a totally new vehicle they call the Quest, but I’m calling a ‘PP or GP’ parenting or grand-parenting partner. It’s new. It’s been redesigned and engineered. It’s good looking. It’s affordable. It’s economical.

It’s the new go-to-vehicle when you need to do everything associated with rearing, nurturing, caring, transporting, hauling, car pooling, moving and loving your kids, grandkids, other peoples kids and of course mom and dad and lots of assorted stuff and things.

Join me for an inspection of the attributes and amenities of the PP/GP:

  • Sleek design -- it’s not boxy or clumsy looking. In fact there’s a sleekness to it belying the functionality it contains.
  • Easy in and out – one touch sliding doors on both sides so there’s no more fumbling with that bag of groceries or bag of soccer balls. No big step-up either for demure entrance and exits.
  • Interior access -- quick release fold-flat seats on both second and third rows for storage. And will, I was told, prevent tantrums as to who sits where and of course the familiar, “He won’t let me out!” problem.
  • Storage – it’s the end of bag holding, key fumbling, the Quest has a one-touch unlock/open power rear liftgate that’s standard on SL and LE models. So big a rear storage area you’ll think you’ve rented a storage unit.
  • Nice views – lots of glass so everyone has a a panoramic view from the front seats, second row seats and yes, the third row too. Nissan calls it full surround privacy glass. And for sky gazing there are two moon roofs that are available option on SL and LE models. The kids will love the way it opens and closes – a rolling Palomar Observatory.
  • Adult amenities – both front seats are heated for added bottom comfort on cold days, a interior climatic controls system with air purifier, special air filtering and automatic air recirculation, a new conversation mirror to view and monitor whose doing what to whom in the 2nd and 3rd rows and special safety features including blind spot warning and rear view monitor.
  • Kids Amenities – standard second and third row theater seating which can be augmented with an optional 11-inch color monitor, second row power windows that are driver controlled for safety, a console with big cup holders with lids. Think no spill clean-ups.
  • Infotainment & Entertainment -- Quest’s wide instrument panel includes a 4.3-inch color audio display on SV and SL models, with an 8-inch touch screen display for LE models with the standard Nissan Navigation System. The hard drive-based navigation system includes a user-friendly graphic interface, menu structure and intelligent search capabilities, a 9.3GB Music Box® hard drive, XM NavTraffic® Real-Time Traffic Information, XM NavWeatherÔ and when a meal stop is needed, the Zagat Survey® Restaurant Guide.
  • Important Inside Climate & Environment Info -- for adults or children with allergies and other air-borne issues, the Quest LE’s standard Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) with PlasmaclusterÔ air purifier, Grape Polyphenol Filter and auto recirculation control is a technological wonder. The system works three ways to help reduce allergens and unwanted odors within the Quest cabin. Its automatic intake control utilizes sensors to constantly monitor outside odors and automatically closes the intake port to prevent inflow of exhaust fumes or other unpleasant smells into the interior. It then restores fresh air flow automatically when the offensive odors have passed. The system also employs a Grape Polyphenol Filter to help reduce the number of harmful allergens in the interior air. Finally, an advanced PlasmaclusterÔ purifier generates ions to “scrub” the interior air of unwanted odors – whether they come from outside or inside the vehicle.
  • Other amenities & Stuff -- need a drink? There are six cupholders and eight bottle holders, four coat hangers and two 12-volt DC outlets. The dual-level front center console offers flexible storage, as does the removable 2nd row console. Simply stated, whatever you think is needed to enhance your driving pleasure, the Quest has available as an option, but the list is way too long to include in this review, but dealer’s salesmen will certainly help you choose. Just remember options add to the cost.

Quest Test Drive

Unfortunately or fortunately Nissan did not recruit kids to sit in the second and third rows. But for full authenticity and understanding (my son is an adult) I was able to co-drive with an auto writer and blogger Mom who has three kids ranging from 10 to 16. She promised to replicate the experiences she has had including the “Yes, were almost there!” response.

Our drive route was on a variety of roads from traffic clogged streets in the swell coastal suburbs north of San Diego, through residential subdivisions ranging from 20’s bungalows to modest ranch homes to areas of McMansions, to downtown San Diego crosstown luncheon traffic and of course as an added test benefit, we got lost – my fault not the navigation system which I over-rode -- and were able to roam the freeway maze as well.

Power comes from the 3.5-liter V6 engine of 253 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque that generates reliable speed and power when needed. It’s a bit thirsty though -- fuel economy is estimated at 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway. The new Quest automatic drive is responsive and quiet easy to drive, comfortable, quiet and importantly a parallel parking or front-in at the mall parking joy. Great vision anywhere and everywhere you look.

At Nissan Dealers Now

The parent or grandparent pleasing and satisfying 2011 Nissan Quest is available in four different models with prices starting at $27,750. Take your kids to the showroom to check it out. And just for the fun of it watch these very clever Quest commercials, they’re certain to make you smile.