2012 Nissan Quest Minivan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Nissan Quest Minivan

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Nissan Quest Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 260 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Nissan Quest

  • The 2012 Nissan Quest continues to make the once perennial also-ran model fully competitive with the top vans in its class.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Quiet and smooth ride; roomy seating; excellent continuously variable transmission (CVT); sharp steering and handling; fold-flat second-row seats.

  • Cons

    Less cargo space than competitors; seven-passenger maximum, not eight; short on interior storage.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, satellite radio is offered standard on SV and SL trim levels.

Full 2012 Nissan Quest Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, satellite radio is offered standard on SV and SL trim levels.


Tired of running mid-pack in the minivan race, Nissan completely reworked its Quest last year. Its predecessor's angular, avant-garde styling gave way to a tall, slab-sided design that prioritized function over form, while the interior was refined to luxury levels in the top trims. The end result is a much more appealing minivan, though the Quest still has some drawbacks.

Save for a couple of options changes, the 2012 Nissan Quest follows the same formula. A powerful V6 engine, a smooth CVT, spacious seating and quiet cabin with user-friendly technology make the Quest a comfortable carriage from which to navigate the daily hustle. With above-average handling and power delivered seamlessly upon request, the Quest even feels somewhat playful on open, bending roads.

The Quest offers such reassuring and on-demand spirited passage that you almost forgive its central weakness: It only seats seven. Instead of a small second-row center section that accommodates a third passenger, the Quest offers up two large, comfortable captain's chairs and a removable center console. And although three adults can sit in the reclining third row without much protest, the inability to drop the third row into a rear well -- as competing vans allow -- reduces cargo space and raises another consideration for shoppers. On the upside, however, the second and third rows fold forward and flat, creating a lengthy load floor without your having to remove the middle-row seats. In other words, the Quest prioritizes versatility over maximum utility.

Really, it depends on where your minivan priorities lie. The traditional titans Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna both offer eight-passenger seating and larger cargo spaces. The current-generation Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan are also notably improved and worth a look, especially since their new and more refined Stow 'n Go seating allows for versatility and maximum utility. However, if passenger comfort and overall refinement are key metrics in your minivan search, the 2012 Nissan Quest is well worth consideration.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Nissan Quest is a seven-passenger minivan offered in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and LE.

Standard features on the base S model include 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, ambient interior lighting and a four-speaker sound system with six-CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack.

The SV adds alloy wheels, foglights, power-sliding doors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a front-seat center console, a conversation mirror, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a 4-inch color display, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface. The SL further sweetens the deal with 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, roof rails, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat and one-touch fold-flat third-row seats.

The range-topping LE tacks on xenon headlights, a blind-spot warning system, driver memory functions, a four-way power front passenger seat, power-return third-row seats, second- and third-row sunshades, advanced air filtration, a navigation system, a rear entertainment system with an 11-inch widescreen, and a 13-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with an 8-inch display and satellite radio. A dual-panel sunroof is available as an option, but only for the SL and LE models. Unfortunately, most of the features offered in upper trims are not available on lower trims.

Powertrains and Performance

A 3.5-liter V6 powers the Nissan Quest with 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) sends power to the front wheels. In Edmunds testing, the Quest accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, comparable to the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Fuel economy is also on par, with EPA estimates of 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.


Standard safety features for all 2012 Nissan Quest models include antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front-seat active head restraints. A rearview camera is standard on all but the base S trim level.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Quest earned the agency's top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset and side-impact collisions, and a second-best rating of "Acceptable" for rollover protection.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Quest stopped from 60 mph in 134 feet -- a bit longer than average for a minivan.

Interior Design and Special Features

The latest Nissan Quest adopted a more conservative design inside and out last year. Interior controls are logically grouped on the center stack within easy reach of the driver. Even when it's loaded with options, operating the various climate, navigation and entertainment systems is simple and intuitive. Interior materials are above average in the lower trim levels, while the leather-appointed cabins in the SL and LE foster a luxurious and serene environment. Even the CD player/radio is built to a classy aesthetic, with a simple faceplate and chrome-banded volume and tuning knobs.

Unlike the Odyssey or Sienna, which can accommodate three passengers in the second row, the Quest offers only two captain's chairs, separated by a removable center console. This effectively makes the Quest a seven-seater. The upshot is that the second-row seats slide and recline, and are quite comfortable. Like the third row, they also fold forward and flat in the floor. This makes it easier to carry longer items than in a Sienna and Odyssey, which require you to physically remove their second-row seats.

The downside is that the Quest carries less than the Odyssey and Sienna; its 108 cubic feet of cargo capacity is about 40 cubes shy of its rivals due to its taller floor. The Quest's deep storage bin behind the third row also isn't as roomy, though its design doesn't preclude storing items in it when it comes time to lower the rear seats, unlike with the other vans.

Ultimately shoppers will have to decide whether the convenience and flexibility of the Quest is worth the trade-off in cargo space, though a compromise could be found with Chrysler's Stow n Go system. While its second and third rows are more difficult to lower than the Quest's, they leave more room after disappearing into the floor.

Driving Impressions

On nearly any road surface, the 2012 Nissan Quest pleasantly silences wind and road noise, with ruts and bumps in the road ably absorbed by the compliant suspension. Steering is precise, but feels needlessly heavy at slow speeds. In concert with the suspension, the steering effort gives the Quest an almost sporting feel in the curves.

Power from the V6 is certainly adequate, and we even prefer the smooth CVT over traditional stepped transmissions in this application. Quick reactions from the throttle and transmission make easy work of passing maneuvers and ascending grades, the latter scenario the only time the steady-state rpm drone of the CVT becomes evident.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Unbelievable luxury

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Quest SL 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

We got rid of a Honda Oddy EXL-RES that was the worst vehicle I have ever owned. 9mpg since new and constantly in the shop. Our Quest is like a Bentley. The materials are top notch, the comfort is unmatched and I just love this van. My wife loved it in 2011 and made me go see one and I thought she was out of her mind. Well it kind of grew on me, and then I drove it. You could actually have a conversation at normal voice levels with any row in the van it is so quiet. I could not talk to my wife in our Oddy with her sitting next to me it was so loud. The CVT is actually pretty good in the van. I have one in my 2012 Altima and it is awful and I hate it. We paid Under 30 Grand!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The 2012 quest is the

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Quest S 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

Just bought the 2012 Quest in Feb and love it. Looked at all the others, Honda, Toyota, Kia and Dodge and none compared to the Quest's value and looks. We have owned a Pathfinder, Titan, and now the Quest. I believe we are a Nissan family. Went for the low end model and, other than 1 or 2 features, we don't really mind. If you're in the market for a mini-van, stop by a Nissan place and take a look, you'll be surprised.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sleek design

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Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Quest S 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

After returning from a trip, we rented this vehicle to get from the airport to our home and truly fell in love with it. Four months later, we purchased a 2012 Nissan Quest minivan. So far, we have been very impressed with our purchase. It has much more pep than our previous minivan (Dodge Grand Caravan) and is a quieter ride. The basic features seem adequate and are quite liked by the children, as they now have temperature control in the rear. Standard middle row captain's chairs are an added bonus so that the kids don't get in each other's space as often:) However, I think the most impressive is the exterior design--very sleek and modern. It's a turn your head and look kind of minivan.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

Serious safety issue still unresolved

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Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Quest SL 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

First let me say that the van, for the price that I paid for it, is hands down a much better buy than the Odyssey or the Sienna. The exterior styling is I admit a personal preference, but we like it. Interior is awesome! The SL I think is the best trim for the value. I would't pay more for some extra features for the LE (not for almost 10k more!). The only major flaw in this van, which Ithink everyone should be warned about before they buy it is the fuel tank problem. This is not the software problem addressed bybthe March 2012 recall. Nissan thought that will fix the problem but it didn't. That recall fix even negatively affected the gas mileage of the van.

4 of 32 people found this review helpful

A truthful review.

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Quest S 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

First, I like the styling of the Quest. Others cite 7 pass capacity as a fault. Nobody has 6 kids these days & if you need this capacity buy a bus.

4 of 10 people found this review helpful

No comparison to other minivans

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Vehicle: 2012 Nissan Quest LE 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

When shopping for a minivan, I wanted something that had less than bland styling. The quest by far is the most impressive looking minivan out there IMO - it has a very distinctive shape that no other comparable van has. Styling aside, the biggest advantage is the interior. I own an LE model -The Honda and Toyota both have very cheap interiors. Try knocking on the dash on the Toyota. With leather seats, this truly is a luxury vehicle. The cargo capacity is massive. Do you really plan to take out the car seats? These fold flat...anything big - rent a truck.

Talk About The 2012 Quest

Read more about the 2012 Nissan Quest

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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