Now that we have the creature comforts covered, let’s get down to the important part, the mechanics. First of all, the Quest does not drive like a van. It drives like a very nimble, albeit large, car. Steering is responsive and accurate and it corners without the typical nauseating body roll. I think the thing that was most impressive to both of us was the fact that it’s very maneuverable in tight spaces. I made a u-turn within two lanes, and drove it in a few very tight circles to observe the turning radius. Check this out: The turning radius is Best In Class, and it’s got the SAME turning radius as an Altima sedan. Oh yeah – This thing pivots like a small car!
Cool feature alert: Nissan’s “Easy Fill Tire Alert”. Many people don’t carry a tire gauge these days, so when a tire needs air, the van’s flashers blink while air is being put in. When the tire reaches the proper inflation pressure, the horn chirps to let you know. Slick.
The 3.5 liter is the only engine available in the Quest and that’s fine. It has 253 horsepower – plenty enough power to scoot this behemoth down the freeway with ease. Even from a stoplight, it gets out nicely. The biggest surprise was how much I liked the CVT. If you have read any of my previous articles, you know how much I detest the CVT. However, I must admit, it works beautifully in the Quest. There is no hesitation, no lag, just smooth clean power on demand.
I was extremely impressed and I recant the previous statements I have made about there being no place for the CVT in the Nissan line-up. It might not pair well with the smaller engines, but it is a perfect mate to the 3.5 in this application. Braking is very aggressive… There’s a tendency to anticipate upcoming stops LONG before they arrive, but there’s simply no need. Nissan’s braking systems have always been solid, and the Quest shaves off speed with a quickness, without any of the annoying body pitch that you’d expect from a vehicle this big.
Even though we are not in the market for a minivan, I would love to have one of these to take on a long road trip. Our family loves to travel and this would more than suit our needs for hauling ourselves, the kids, and all their stuff wherever we would want to go. If anyone from Nissan corporate sees this and needs someone to do a cross-country test drive, please don’t hesitate to ask! I will happily oblige.
Just a quick note about safety and capacities and efficiency: All safety features come standard on every model. The complete listing is in the link I mentioned earlier. Seating is for 7 people and every seat comes with a three point seat belt. Every passenger has airbag protection. There are child safety locks on both of the sliding rear doors. Traction Control and Vehicle Dynamic control also come standard. The fuel tank holds 20 gallons and mileage is 19-24 mpg. That’s pretty impressive considering the 4,367 – 4,548lb. curb weight.
Summary: Overall, I was very impressed with the Quest. The amenities list for the base model was outstanding so you get a lot of features without having to spend a lot of money. I actually preferred the ride of the base model with the 16″ wheels and taller-profile tires. It seemed to ride much smoother than the SL with the 18″ alloys. The only notable complaint I had was the light-colored interior… Just a personal preference on my part. I think a darker option would attract more people but I don’t think the lighter color will necessarily drive people away.
Nissan really did a fantastic job with this vehicle. Congratulations on a job well done!
Becky (nissangirl74) is a full-time Datsun and Nissan fanatic, and occasionally takes Greg out to look at new Nissans.