By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 8.5
For 2016 the Nissan Quest minivan offers clever features such as a bird's-eye-view camera system and power-operated 3rd-row seat, while base models undercut the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey in starting price. Like those other family movers, the Quest is roomy, versatile and has good power thanks to its standard V6. Where the Quest stands apart is in looks – decidedly blocky vs. rounded, and in seating capacity. While the Odyssey and Sienna can hold up to eight passengers, the Quest maxes out at seven with its standard 2nd-row captain's chairs.
If you're looking for a minivan with distinctive exterior styling, a roomy interior and a lower starting price, the Nissan Quest is worth a look.
Compared to rivals, the Quest comes up short in seating capacity, rear-seat entertainment options (there's no Blu-ray player or dual-screen system) and the latest safety features such as lane-departure warning and automatic braking. If you need an all-wheel-drive minivan, the Toyota Sienna remains the sole choice.
KBB Expert Ratings
The Nissan Quest carries over with no major changes for the 2016 model year.
The 2016 Nissan Quest stands apart from other minivans with its continuously variable transmission (CVT), an automatic with no traditional shift points. Such transmissions' linear feel can take getting used...
... to, but they pay off in enhanced fuel economy. The Quest's is near the top of the class with up to 27 mpg, falling just under the Honda Odyssey's highway rating but topping the Honda in city and combined driving. The Quest's 260-horsepower V6 engine enables no-fuss acceleration, and the transmission's revised programming that came last year makes this family van more responsive when you put your foot down. The luxury-car-inspired interior feels like it carries over into the steering and suspension, neither of which is as sharp as we'd expect in a Nissan, but the smooth ride and quiet highway manners make for a more than acceptable compromise, especially considering this van's primary duty of hauling kids and family.
Step into a higher-trim Nissan Quest and you may think you're in a vehicle from Infiniti, the brand's luxury division. The leather seats come with contrast piping and are incredibly soft thanks to a dual-layer cushion. The interior looks good too, with color-coordinated schemes and tasteful use of metallic trim.
CVT (CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE TRANSMISSION)
The CVT in the Nissan Quest is unique to the class, and its seamless shifts and immediate power delivery are part of the reason why this van is so easy to live with.
The 7-passenger Nissan Quest has handsomely appointed seats and a premium feel, yet it still offers most of the family-friendly fundamentals that sell minivans. Front- and 2nd-row passengers have plenty of head- and legroom, and 3rd-row space is still pretty good. Cargo utility is good, with a clever hidden cargo area behind the third row. The 2nd- and 3rd-row seats fold flat, like in an SUV, but at the expense of cargo volume. The shift lever got in the way of climate controls when in "D," and the power liftgate button is low on the dash and hard to find.
Expressive. That's one way to describe the 2016 Nissan Quest's styling. Whether you like its blocky expression is a matter of taste, but there's no doubt that the Quest cuts a unique profile among its class. The high roof, squared-off rear, wraparound glass and huge chrome grille are all highlights. However, they also hide the fact that the Quest is neither as long nor as wide as its rivals, although the added height helps make the cabin feel roomy. Quest S and SV models get 16-inch wheels, while SL and Platinum models get 18-inchers.
In its most basic form, the Quest S, Nissan's minivan includes push-button ignition, 6-way manually adjustable driver's seat, cloth upholstery and AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary jack. Though the Quest S has an enticing price tag, it lacks many features that are both helpful and safe for families, such as Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and a rearview camera. Unless you are severely pinching pennies, we recommend stepping up at least one trim to the Quest SV. That trim includes power-sliding side doors, tri-zone automatic climate control, roof rails, 5-inch color display/rearview camera, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity options.
Stepping up to the Quest SL adds leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, power liftgate, 8-way-power-adjustable driver's seat and heated front seats. Top-line Platinum models have Nissan's snazzy Around View bird's-eye rearview monitor, 13-speaker Bose audio system, 4-way-power passenger's seat, 8-inch color display and DVD rear-entertainment system. The Platinum model also includes blind-spot monitoring and xenon headlights. Packages vary by trim and include a moonroof, leather interior and rear DVD system. Unlike the Honda Odyssey, the Quest does not offer forward-collision warning or lane-departure warning systems, and unlike the Toyota Sienna, it does not offer a pre-collision system with automatic emergency braking.
All 2016 Nissan Quest models come with a 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The transmission was updated last year with Nissan's D-Step shift logic, which simulates gear changes and provides for a more familiar driving experience. The transmission upgrades also contribute to a fuel-economy improvement that puts the Quest close to the class-leading Honda Odyssey.
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg
The 2016 Nissan Quest minivan has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at about $27,400 when you include the $885 destination charge. On the other end, a loaded Quest Platinum will top out at about $46,000. At its base price, the Quest undercuts the Sienna, Odyssey and Chrysler Town & Country, and is just over the starting price of the Kia Sedona and smaller Ford Transit Connect. Among minivans, the aging Dodge Grand Caravan remains the value leader with its low-$20,000 starting price. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Quest models. Down the road, the Nissan's residual value is expected to be good but not quite on par with the Sienna or Odyssey.