2012 Nissan Quest LE: Dealbreaker?
November 07, 2012
Do minivan buyers really care about a three-passenger second row? I don't know, but the Quest doesn't offer one and it's outsold by its Odyssey and Sienna competitors. That likely owes to other factors as well; less cargo volume, love-or-loathe styling. My wife says a second-row bench is not only practical for kid hauling, but also when carrying large items - bag, box etc - that benefit from the extra stability of a seat and seatback (she also says the gaps around a center console are black holes for crumbs and wrappers).
I see her point. Bench seats are also great for curling up and catching some Z's. I tried a mock nap in the Quest second row and, actually, if you just threw a thin air or foam cushion over the center console (or the whole row), you'd be fine.
I'm curious why Nissan doesn't offer the eight-passenger option in the U.S, unlike the ElGrand model in Japan. With a middle seat option, you essentially offer two vans and extend the service life of a family's van. Two bench rows while kids are young, two captain's chairs for when they're older, at each others throats and can't share the same contact patch of seating. Our Quest is set up for that later phase, or as a luxury for adults in a business shuttle or vanpool.
I don't consider this a deal-breaker in the Quest. The rest of the van is too good. But it would make me wait it out, to see if the next refresh or generation offers the additional seat. Or it would just drive me into the seats of a new Grand Cherokee, 5-passenger limit and all.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor