By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/21/2011
Looking for a family-hauler with a snappier style and image? Try the 2011 Nissan Quest minivan's distinctive boxy shape. Its tall, angular profile gives it a masculine vibe that dad will dig while, inside, mom will appreciate the overall upscale look and feel that's more adult-luxe than functional kid-mobile. Other minivans are less expensive and offer more power under the hood, but none deliver the wallop of design of the Nissan Quest.
If most of your errands are of the in-town variety, it's worth pointing out that the 2011 Nissan Quest's 19-mpg city fuel economy is best-in-class. And, inside, an interior that looks less utilitarian than most minivans gives this box-on-wheels a more premium feel.
If you're hoping for a minivan with a dual-screen rear-seat DVD system or seating for 8, you'll find such features in the Honda Odyssey or the Toyota Sienna, but not the 2011 Nissan Quest. This minivan also runs on the higher side of the price spectrum, with the no-options-available base S trim opening close to $28,500.
The all-new, fourth-generation Quest returns to the Nissan lineup after a 1-year hiatus with a bold look that towers above the competition – literally.
The gearless pull of the 2011 Nissan Quest's Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gives it a very smooth flow of power to the driving wheels. Nissan is a fan of this transmission, and we think its application in the Quest is one of the best yet. It's smooth, delivers power rapidly and helps the van obtain an EPA rating of 19 mpg in the city. Dynamically, the Quest minivan feels just like it looks: Large. Despite its masculine outward appearance, the Quest is a bit soft underneath, with one of the least engaging combinations of ride and handling in the minivan segment; if you prefer a smoother ride over more responsive handling, you've found your minivan.
With tasteful leather seating and a well-coordinated color scheme, the interior of the SL and LE trims looks like it belongs in a much more expensive vehicle that focuses more on hauling adults than children.
CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)
With no gears, as such, to shift, this transmission provides seamless power with little lag.
The 2011 Nissan Quest boasts the most spacious, luxury-like interior in the minivan segment. All of the knobs and buttons within reach of the driver have a solid, premium feel to them, and the faux wood trim throughout the cabin is well-executed. What's more, the SE and LE trims – which run on the higher end of the Quest price range – offer leather seating that wouldn't be out of place in an Infiniti vehicle. Our only complaint about the interior is regarding the shift knob – with the lever in drive, it gets in the way of the climate controls for the driver.
Among the minivans currently on the market, the 2011 Nissan Quest's boxy silhouette makes this van stand out. The Quest is shorter in length and narrower in width than most of the competition, but it also stands taller – by nearly 3 inches in some cases. This extra height serves to illuminate the vehicle's full-surround "privacy glass" and distinctive square back end. Standard equipment on S and SV trims is 16-inch wheels and tires, but 18-inchers are fitted to the more upscale SL and LE trims, which helps fill the oversized wheel wells.
The 2011 Nissan Quest S minivan comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6, a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), 16-inch wheels, push-button start, cloth seating surfaces, seating for 7, a 60/40 split third-row seat, a 6-CD audio system with auxiliary input jack and six airbags. The SV trim adds fog lights, a premium audio system with 4.3-inch color display and USB port, 1-touch power side sliding doors, Bluetooth, a rearview monitor and tri-zone automatic climate control. The SL gets 18-inch wheels, roof rails, a power tailgate, leather seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The range-topping LE adds a blind-spot warning system, a power return third-row seat, an air-scrubbing climate control system, hard drive-based navigation and rear-seat DVD entertainment.
Aside from a few extras like splash guards, roof-rail crossbars and carpeted floor mats, options remain few on the 2011 Nissan Quest. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system or Bose premium audio system can be added to the SL model, while a dual-panel moonroof is also available on SL and LE models.
Providing the muscle for the 2011 Nissan Quest's metal is a 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Although the Quest doesn't have the most horsepower in the minivan segment, it does have the smoothest transmission and the best city fuel economy of 19 miles per gallon.
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24
The 2011 Nissan Quest S has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $28,500, putting it above the less-expensive Kia Sedona LX ($25,500) and the Toyota Sienna CE ($27,000). Fully loaded, the Quest can reach just above $42,000, putting it firmly between the Toyota Sienna ($41,000) and the Honda Odyssey ($44,000). Before heading to your local Nissan dealership to see and drive a Quest, we recommend you check its Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to find out what others in your area are currently paying for it. If you're thinking ahead and wondering what the Quest will be worth in a few years, it should hold an average resale value, higher than the Sedona but below the Sienna and Odyssey.