Quest is a nice ride that’s short on style

2011 Nissan Quest Review

Nissan Quest 2011 featured

The restyled Nissan Quest can be viewed two ways: as an excellent people and luggage hauler, or as a boxy, ill-styled minivan.

I have no qualms with its minivan-ness. I think each generation of minivans becomes more useful and more fuel efficient.

The tested Platinum Graphite (metallic dark gray) Quest 3.5 SV seats seven comfortably, featured a quiet interior, had good power and a smooth overall performance. It t’s easy to park, despite being a minivan.

This restyled Quest is about 3 inches shorter than its predecessor and rides on a 6-inch shorter wheelbase. That, coupled with the precision of its speed-sensitive rack and pinion steering, makes the Quest an easy handler. The 3.5-liter V6 is smooth and quiet and powerful at 260 horsepower. I’m not a fan of many continuously variable transmissions. This CVT, and others from Nissan, is what others aspire to. It is smooth and seamless, but also delivers torque when you need it most, accelerating away from a stop. I never felt that the minivan was struggling to get to speed, something I can’t say for all CVT-equipped vehicles.

2011 Nissan Quest snapshot

Click to enlarge.

The Quest checks in at 4,389 pounds, not overly heavy for a van, and rides on a 118.1-inch wheelbase.

That leads to a substantial feel and a well controlled and cushioned ride. Over some of the worst northwest side Milwaukee streets, this behaved like a fine luxury sedan.

The S is the entry-level Quest, but has the same powertrain. The S starts at $27,750, while the SV lists at $30,900. Moving to the SV adds fog lights, 3-zone climate controls, a rearview camera, USB port, alloy wheels and color dash display screen.

The SL modeladds leather seats, heated mirrors, a power hatch, roof rails, automatic lights and 18-inch wheels. The SL starts at $34,350, while the top-level LE lists at $41,350. That LE goes upscale by adding a hard-drive navigation system, Bose sound system, second and third row sun shades, driver’s memory seat, power third row seats for easy fold-down, blind-spot warning system and Xenon lights.

The test van was well equipped and modestly optioned, ending up at $32,240. That’s a good value in today’s market.

Quest has good brakes with 4-wheel vented discs with ABS, traction and stability control.

Gas mileage is decent at 19 mpg city and 24 highway.

Inside, the van had a dark gray dash top with lighter gray lower portion and fake wood trim, a theme that carried over to the doors. The lower dash and console plastic looks cheap compared with the rest of the van and would tip you off that that this isn’t as luxurious a vehicle as it feels.

Seats were gray cloth, functional and comfortable.

Nissan Quest interior

Quest 3.5 SV seats seven comfortably, featured a quiet interior, had good power and a smooth overall performance.

Unlike some vans, the second and third row seats are not removable. They fold flat, creating a large cargo area. Nissan lists cargo capacity at 35.1 cubic feet behind the third row, which is good as you can still lug six other folks around with you and pick up a ton of groceries.

Quest has a 3,500-pound towing capacity.

Other points to consider inside are a manual tilt/telescope steering wheel, radio and cruise controls on its hub, push-button start, and best of all, a simple dash layout with large radio buttons.

The SV comes with a rearview camera for back-up safety and both side doors are powered. However, the rear hatch is not and there are no seat heaters in the SV.

All of which brings us to the second way you can look at the Quest. Minivans are primarily cargo boxes on wheels, and Nissan emphasizes this with a squared back-end. That could turn off some buyers that may want more style.

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