Nissan Quest
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Despite its sheer mass, the Quest uses less gas and adds a bit more luxury.

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

Fewer people embrace the real utility of minivans, but for those who do, one of the roomiest boxes of the bunch is the fourth-generation Nissan Quest. It 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 the minivan’s functionality is a solid 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. It’s hooked to a continuously variable transmission and, with tweaks to the programming, now gets one mpg more on the highway (to 26 mpg). The 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, along with a new, larger five-inch display for the audio system. The remaining trims — SV, SL and Platinum — add more equipment, of course, with the Platinum 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.