Hoping to curry favor with all sorts of family types, the all-new 2011 Nissan Quest makes its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show before turning up at dealers early next year. Following a one-year hiatus from the market, the fourth-generation of Nissan's seven-passenger people mover returns with a new look, enhanced feature set and a parent-centric "can-do" attitude rich in what the automaker is referring to as "Innovation for Family" design features.

>See more new cars unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

Spun from the automaker's global D-platform that also underpins the Altima, Maxima and Murano, the 2011 Nissan Quest makes its visual statement using cues borrowed from the Nissan Forum Concept vehicle. The Quest's clean, contemporary sheetmetal is set off by bold head/tail lamp treatments, tasteful brightwork and full-surround privacy glass. All four variants -- S/SV/SL/SE -- share the same drivetrain, Nissan's superb 3.5-liter V6 that here makes 253 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque that ships power to the front wheels through the Xtronic CVT automatic with Adaptive Shift Control. While wheel/tire fitment specs vary from 16 to 18 inches, all members of the Quest lineup bolster their fully-independent suspension with Vehicle Dynamic Control/Traction Control systems.

Nissan categorizes the design of the Quest's spacious cabin as a "great room in motion," and the spec and stats do add credibility to the claim. A new strain of more supportive front buckets with theatre-style, quick-release/fold-flat second and third row perches plus an aft covered/open storage well are complemented by numerous built-in parking spots for stuff active parents and kids tend to travel with. Although the Quest S lacks features like one-touch power sliding side doors, tri-zone auto climate control, a RearView Monitor and auto-dimming mirrors that are found on all other versions, even it comes with an impressive roster of standards and all of the safety system kit. Moving up to SL and LE sees leather replace cloth and nets things like heated front seats and a power liftgate while the latter comes with primo items like a Bose audio system with XM Satellite Radio, Nissan's Hard-Drive Navigation package and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with an 11.0-inch monitor. Pricing for the 2011 Nissan Quest will start at $28,550 for an S model, $31,700 for an SV, $35,150 for an SL and $42,159 for an SE.

Facing off against all-new iterations of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna as well as revamped versions of the Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan twins will be no small challenge. But the 2011 Nissan Quest has clearly become a much more formidable rival for those established heavyweights of the minivan market.

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