Nissan Quest
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Overall

Maybe Nissan is hoping the Quest minivan’s sheer size will scare people out of their Honda Odysseys and Toyota Siennas?

Drivetrain

A 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 is the only engine choice, hooked to Nissan’s continuously variable transmission.

It’s amazing the lengths some people will go to avoid buying a minivan. Which is a shame since they really are unbeatable when it comes to hauling people and their stuff. One of the roomiest boxes of the bunch is the fourth-generation Nissan Quest that was introduced for the 2011 model year. The Quest does more than pile a bunch features into a box rolling on four wheels. No, it appears that Nissan’s designers thought this one through pretty carefully. Adding to this minivan’s functionality is a cabin layout, impressive storage capacity and a one-touch unlock feature so you don’t have to fumble around for the key fob when you have armloads of groceries or kids. The Quest begins with the Maxima/Altima/Murano platform that adds a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with 236 pound-feet of torque driving the front wheels. For reference, Chrysler’s 3.6-liter V6 in the Grand Caravan makes 23 more peak horsepower and 24 pound-feet more peak torque. The Quest’s engine is hooked to a continuously variable transmission (the Dodge uses a six-speed automatic). The hot design blends several seemingly contrasting body lines with blacked-out privacy glass that wraps around the vehicle in a continuous band. This certainly gives the Quest a long, low and lean look, especially with the 18-inch wheels found on the higher trim levels (16-inchers are standard). The interior’s most noticeable feature is the center-stack-mounted shift lever that still leaves a pass-through for drivers to quickly move to the passenger side if needed. Second-row passengers are treated to high-back bucket seats with a center console and an optional 11-inch movie screen. For occasional use, there’s a standard three-place third row that folds flat to make cargo loading and unloading a little smoother. Base equipment for the “S” model includes the usual assortment of power features plus air conditioning and standard second-row power windows. The remaining trims — SV, SL and LE — add more equipment, of course, with the LE receiving the full load of leather, 12-speaker Bose-brand audio system, DVD entertainment with two sets of wireless headphones, blind-spot warning, bright high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlamps and dual moonroofs, and standard around view monitor that shows a 360-degree view of what’s going on around the vehicle.

Base price (incl. destination): $26,850
Type: Four-door minivan
Base engine (hp): 3.5-liter DOHC V6 (260)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Continuously variable
MPG (city/hwy): 19/24
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 4,370