By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.8
Perhaps one of the reasons men dread the idea of buying a minivan is because most of them are shaped like characterless rolling bread boxes and about as much fun to drive as, well, a rolling bread box! But, if there is one minivan that can change perceptions, that might even be considered "cool" by some, it's the 2012 Nissan Quest minivan. With a profile that is tall yet muscular, the Quest has a decidedly masculine feel, yet its interior is designer chic, which should hold strong appeal to both sexes. Not that the 2012 Nissan Quest's interior isn't kid-friendly, far from it. The 2012 Quest's interior is just more adult contemporary than PG-13. And, while there are plenty of less expensive minivans with more power under the hood than the Quest, none pack the visual punch of this edgy family hauling machine.
If the majority of your driving time is spent zipping around town picking up kids and running errands, the 2012 Nissan Quest's 19-mpg city rating will definitely help keep fuel costs down. Those looking for a premium interior uncommon in a minivan will love what Nissan has done with the Quest's cabin.
With such a well-thought-out interior, it's hard to imagine how Nissan left the 2012 Quest minivan without a split-screen DVD entertainment system or seating for eight people. If either or both of these features are important, the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna makes a better choice. Those looking for a low-price entry point won't be too impressed by the Quest's nearly $29,000 starting price.
The 2012 Nissan Quest minivan adds XM Satellite Radio to the SV and SL trims.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Nissan Quest displays one of the best applications of Nissan's gearless CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) we've yet tested. The CVT is the principal reason for the Quest's smooth...acceleration and brisk off-the-line sprints, as well as the minivan's impressive fuel-economy figures. Of course, the best transmission in the world is worthless without the right engine to back it up, which is why Nissan chose to equip the 2012 Nissan Quest with a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Ironically, for a company known for producing enthusiast-oriented cars and SUVs, the 2012 Nissan Quest minivan's steering and suspension setup left us unimpressed. We found a more engaging driving performance in the VW Routan and even the Honda Odyssey. However, the Quest's ride is ultra-smooth, which, considering how most people drive a minivan, may be the more desirable trait.
With tasteful leather seating and a well-coordinated color scheme, the interior of the 2012 Nissan Quest 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.
If room and comfort are what you're looking for, the 2012 Nissan Quest's class-leading interior volume and handsomely appointed interior will more than meet expectations. Nissan has made sure that all of the switchgear, storage compartment covers and tactile surfaces have a premium feel worthy of an Infiniti luxury product. The creased faux-wood insert running along the dash and doors looks first-rate, and the perforated leather seating in the SE and LE trims is well beyond anything you'd expect to find in a minivan. But, everything inside the 2012 Nissan Quest isn't in perfect ergonomic harmony. For example, we found with the shift lever in the "D" position, the climate controls are partially blocked. Similarly, the buttons controlling among other things the traction control and power rear liftgate are placed down by the driver's knee where they are difficult to see and reach.
With the exception of the Honda Odyssey, there really isn't another minivan on the market as expressive or stylized as the 2012 Nissan Quest minivan. Although it is not as long or wide as the segment leaders, the 2012 Nissan Quest is taller than most of its rivals; by as much as three inches, in some cases. The Quest's added height helps create a more open and roomy cabin, while its expansive surrounding of tinted privacy glass gives all inside a clear view out while keeping prying eyes (and cabin-heating sun rays) at bay. Standard equipment on S and SV trims are 16-inch wheels and tires, but 18-inchers are fitted to the more upscale SL and LE trims, helping to fill the oversized wheel wells.
The 2012 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 seven, a 60/40 split third-row seat, a 6-CD audio system with auxiliary input jack and six airbags. The SV trim adds foglights, a premium audio system with 4.3-inch color display and USB port, 1-touch power sliding side 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 13-speaker Bose audio system, 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 2012 Nissan Quest minivan. 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 2012 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 mpg.
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24
By Eli on Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,500overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Unresponsive dealer reps as noise problems."
Cons: "Wind noise unacceptable."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Interior space not used to full potential. Front center console is too small and interior space is not accessible from the top. In Mn with the snow the doors carry an unacceptable amount stuck to the bottom because the doors extends to the bottom of the carriage. When it freezes you have a problem. We have what I call an owl in the rear. I have had it in to the dealer they have replaced the front passenger door rubber, changed elephant ears outside mirrors and still the noise is there. It's and unacceptable amount of noise. I have had no luck trying to find/locate a factory rep. I have had a Voyager, Caravan, Sienna, and this Quest. The ride is very good but the problems make the ride unacceptable."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Big John on Monday, January 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, Power, Ride"
Cons: "Lack of controls on steering wheel on S model"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought new much less expensive than Honda or Toyota for same base model line. Very comfortable ride, good power from V6 and smooth transmission. 32,000 miles no problems. S model could use steering wheel controls if you are tall like me it's a reach for the media and ac controls. Plenty of storage with third seat down and under rear deck."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Uncle Lar on Tuesday, October 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very comfortable for passengers, great mileage"
Cons: "Loved it until the transmission slipped"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Transmission completely shut down (disengaged) pulling a 2000 lb boat and trailer up a slippery ramp. Dealer could find nothing wrong - no codes. Buying a AWD Explorer!"
4 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By CalBama on Thursday, September 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Been researching for over 6 months now ... settled on Sienna, Sedona or GC - butI had multiple concerns: 1. Price - Sienna 2. Reliability - Sedona and GC Almost pulled the trigger. On a whim, visited a Nissan dealership. I was initially turned off by the comments about high price, 'limited space' and lack of 8 seats. 99% of the time - we only have 6 passengers ... so ultimately, this became a contender. The year end clearance was the clincher. I get a competitive price and RELIABILITY. 1. Smoooooth CVT transmission 2. Great combined mileage (22 currently but still improving) 3. Permanent roomy storage - since 3rd row folds forward. 4. Competitive total 3rd row storage - 36 cu. Feet 5. Great driving dynamics 6. Quiet - inside and out (used to my noisy MPV) 7. Comfortable 8. Nice trip computer in the base model Wish List: 1. More USB ports 2. More cubbie holes (like the 2 level glove box in the Sienna and GC) 3. Base model has no tint 4. Backup sensors should be standard"
12 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Ratsnake on Monday, September 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 410overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, Quiet, Plush, Smooth Transmission"
Cons: "Need USB ports!, Would prefer dials for the AC"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We needed to replace our 10+ year old Mazda MPV. Reliability was #1 (wife is driving 90% of the time - with the kids), followed by comfort and price. My short list was the Sienna, Quest, Sedona and GV. Once I started researching about reliability, the Quest leapt from #3 to #1. I was leaning towards the Sedona and GV all throughout the last 6 months --- but the reliability factor kept me on the fence. The comfort (sooo quiet, plush seating) was another factor. Having driven a Mazda MPV, I was yearning for some peace and quiet without sacrificing the driving dynamics. This was where the Quest once again trumped the Sedona and GV. Somehow, driving the GV and Sedona just didn't feel solid (long term). The materials (fit and finish) didn't seem it would hold up in 10 years. Plus, the GV was very quiet but the materials made me doubt it would remain rattle free in 2-3 years. Lastly - was the price. This is where the Quest broke the tie with the Sienna. I got a very good price on the Quest that the Sienna simply could not go near to. Initially, an 8-seater was critical - but since 99% of the time, we only have 6 passengers, this made the Sienna and its price less appealing. As far as mileage, I am averaging 21 combined after 400 miles on the odometer. It is creeping up. As far as the CVT and driving dynamics - buttery smoooth! It does not have all the bells and whistles as the GV and Sedona --- (but certainly more than the Sienna) but has far better quality and reliability than the Sienna - at a very competitive price."
11 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By D. on Saturday, September 07, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "space, large passenger areas, good stereo system"
Cons: "road noise, lack of storage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"It's not bad gas mileage or space for cost- plenty of easily accessible rooom- lots of conveniences inside- bluetooth, steering wheel controls for stereo and bluetooth, lots of airbags for safety- all and all not too shabby. However, the road noise in this van is pretty bad- and if you sit in the back seat during travel you can't hear conversation or the radio unless it's exceptionally loud. Also, when I compared to my friends vans we don't have as much storage space (like in the floor) as some other similar type vehicles. For me,it has been a great van, but ultimately I'm shopping for something a bit more like a crossover type vehicle and something that addresses the noise issue."
10 people out of 11 found this review helpful