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
The 2012 Nissan Quest S minivan 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 2012 Nissan Quest minivan 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, which is better than the Sedona but below that of the Sienna and Odyssey.
By Uncle Lar (IL) 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!"
By CalBama (AL) 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"
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Ratsnake (AL) 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."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By D. (FL) 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."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Quest owner (OH) on Thursday, September 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,250overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Drives great and excellent in the snow. Comfy seats. Storage is limited. Wish it had more room behind the third row."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Van Fan (Canada) on Friday, August 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality built, luxury interior, smooth powertrain"
Cons: "Lack of sun-shades in SL moder with DVD"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"If I could, I would give this van 11 out of 10. Why? You would too if you paid for a regular van and got an upscale model instead. Nissan made a mistake by not selling this van under their Infinity brand. This is the only luxury, high end van available on the market today. I find it very interesting that experts rank it the lowest(7.8) among the comparable competition, while the real, every day users rate the Quest highest at 9.2. Usually very happy or very unhappy users bother to write their opinions, that tells a lot. This is my 4th van. I buy them new and use for 5 years as a company executive vehicle. My first van was a domestic product, than I had Japanise - made in Canada/US vans. Disappointed with the diminishing quality of vans in the recent years, I was searching for a new product. Than in 2011 Nissan offered a totally redesigned, made in Japan Quest. I love the plush ride, very smooth reliable CVT transmission, best 260 HP engine on the market, and a very luxurios and comfortable interior. I love the ingenious "fold-down-flat" back seats for a spontaneous IKEA or garage-sale shopping, without a need to go home to remove the seats and return 200 km to load the furniture (happened to me). Under the floor storage is also huge. Observed gas mileage is pretty good 10L/100km (24MPG) highway and 11.8L/100km (20MPG)city for such a big van. So far, after 50,000 km (30,000 miles) I am extermally happy with this van."
12 people out of 16 found this review helpful