2012 Nissan Quest LE: Voice Control Saves the Day
October 15, 2012
As we've reported here, our 2012 Nissan Quest locks out nearly all functions that aren't critical to the mission of driving while the van is moving. Want to open the liftgate or either of the sliding doors? You better be stopped and in Park.
On Friday evening, I was headed home and came upon all kinds of Endeavour-related gridlock on my normal freeway route. I needed to find an alternate route on surface streets, but I moved only a few months ago and wasn't sure exactly which roads to choose. I wanted the navigation system's help, but I didn't want to pull over to get it.
So I hit the voice control button on the steering wheel.
Now I realize that voice control is a given whenever you order a factory navigation system these days. And indeed the order of entering information with the Quest's voice control is pretty typical.
First, you indicate you want navigation help; then, you say "Address" (I later tried "Places" to locate a gas station). Then, you go through the steps -- state, city, street name, house/street number -- and then confirm with a "Calculate Route" command. I then went into the Settings menu (which is still available while the Quest is moving) and selected the "Avoid Freeways" option.
But the Quest's system processes your requests so quickly and has such robust speech recognition that I totally don't mind entering addresses by voice, rather than keying them in, because it really doesn't take any more time. (Searching for POIs is another matter, of course, but most dedicated nav systems aren't good at finding businesses with the specificity I want, so it's almost always better to look them up on a phone beforehand.)
If I was buying a used Quest, I would definitely look for one with the factory nav unit, because I like this interface a lot. Plus, if you don't get nav, you still end up with a large screen in the dash -- it's just a lot less useful.
A couple caveats:
(1) I didn't have much success entering a house number like 1620 by saying "sixteen twenty," but saying "one-six-two-zero" worked every time.
(2) When you say "calculate route," route is pronounced in the less common "root."
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 22,880 miles