By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/4/2011
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.You May Not Like This Car If...
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.What's New for 2012
The 2012 Nissan Quest minivan adds XM Satellite Radio to the SV and SL trims.Driving It 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.Favorite Features
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.Notable Standard Equipment
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.Notable Optional Equipment
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.