December 04, 2012
We're just a few days away now from saying goodbye to our Nissan Quest.
Who's gonna help me deliver a big box of miscellaneous Christmas lights to the Riches-Wong house, and pick up a big bucket of floor sealant and new sub-floor for my laundry room along the way?
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 25,346 miles
November 13, 2012
I am not a wuss.
That's the message you send when you pull into the park Saturday morning with this stroller in the back of your mylifeisovermobile. It wholly cancels whatever stereotype bystanders might have cooked up about your manhood when the Quest's slab sides first met their gaze.
And then, as you deploy and assemble the world's most badass stroller, you prove it. You might drive a minivan. You might have two girls. You might even be selling this spectacular piece of baby-carrying art, but you most certainly are not a wuss.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor
October 26, 2012
Me n' my best Girl Scouts are going camping this weekend so I signed out the dependable Nissan Quest. No better large vehicle in our fleet for moving maximum people in comfort.
But what I needed was an additional vehicle to handle all of the gear.
October 25, 2012
Our 2012 Nissan Quest has become something of a designated tire carrier. And why not? Flop the seats down, load up and lock down and you've got secure, dry storage that a pickup bed can't match.
Of course we do have to worry about scuffing up the tan interior. (Never get the tan interior.)
Which is why we perched the four new Sumitomo tires for our Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 atop four cardboard boxes containing wheels and tires for another long-term vehicle to be named later.
October 17, 2012
Earlier this summer, when the Girl Scout council announced the dates for the Greater L.A. Girl Scout Camporee weekend, the first thing I did was make sure our Nissan Quest would still be in the long-term fleet.
Camporee in late October, Quest with us until December. Whew.
Now, as the time nears when 6,000-plus girls will be descending on a Southern California recreation area (yes, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Orange Counties, you'll wanna plug your ears), I've tentatively added a Nissan NV to my master transportation plan.
Moving eight girls, two "enthusiastic" volunteer adults, tents, tables, chairs, coolers, cooking equipment, sleeping bags, backpacks, and likely a bottle or two of sparkly nail polish, 75 miles during peak rush hour L.A. traffic requires a master plan.
Here comes the true test of my packing skills.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor
June 19, 2012
This weekend I need a big car. A really big car. I needed to haul a six-foot long rug and four people to grandma's house.
A traditonal car was out, even a big sedan like our Audi A8L wasn't getting this job done. So I started looking at the crossovers we have. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 would get us to Grandee's the quickest, but it is way too small for this job.
The Ford Explorer and the Infiniti JX35 were serious possibilities, but my eyeball tape measure told me they were borderline biggable. I could have probably made either work, but I didn't want to have to fold or smash the carpet and then ask my wife for forgiveness. Remember, happy wife happy life.
So I turned to the Nissan Quest. The rug and people fit with room to spare. No muss. No fuss. No stress. Gotta love the minivan.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief
May 29, 2012
I had the unenviable task of moving over the weekend, which meant, among other things, transporting my armada (or hoard, as someone recently called it) of bicycles.
So would six bicycles fit into the Quest?
Yes. You'll have to take my word for it, though, since I moved the bicycles at night and didn't bother with a photo.
Folded down the second and third rows, took the front wheel off of each bike and slid them in backward, three leaning toward one wall, three toward the other, padded with blankets and cinched with bungees.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 15,300 miles
May 23, 2012
Some friends of mine own a 2004 Nissan Quest, the first year of the previous (third generation) Quest. I thought it'd be interesting to see how the Quest has changed since, so I stopped by their house to get their opinion on their van and what they thought of our long-termer.
Since the wife (Nora) is the van's primary driver, I asked her most of the questions. Overall, she was pretty impressed with the new Quest. The biggest upgrade for her is the Quest's SUV-style third row seating, with seats that forward and flat into the floor rather than the more traditional, back-and-into-a-well design on older Quest (and Odyssey and Sienna). Now that she has three kids, she says it's often a hassle to deploy or stow the third row seat in her van because there's typically a lot of stuff (baby stroller, etc) in the cargo well area. With the new Quest, this isn't a problem.
The new Quest's third row is also 50/50 split, improving flexibility. The older Quest had a rear bench only. On her van, you also have to manually remove the third-row head restraints to lower the seat. For the new van, the head restraints stay put and don't interfere with the operation. Nora also observed how our Quest's flat cargo area behind the third row is a lot easier to change a baby's diaper on.
I did point out that this new seat design does cut back on maximum cargo space. The old van had 145 cubic feet of cargo space versus 108 for the new one. But since they use their Quest mostly for hauling kids, they didn't think it would be an issue.
There were other little details that stood out to Nora. Her van doesn't have a front center console, and the front cupholder design is lousy. As such, she liked our Quest's center console quite a bit. (I do believe the third-gen Quest eventually got a front center console, perhaps as part of the '07 refresh.) She also liked the easier access to the third-row seating, the double sunroofs (compared to the peculiar multi-panel skylight design of her van), the integrated sunshades for the sliding doors (works a lot better than aftermarket shades, which often get knocked off when one opens the door) and the 120-volt household power outlet.
Nora's husband (Barry) also showed me how their van's sliding power doors don't stop and return if they encounter resistance when closing, even with Barry leaning in and pushing hard on the door in an attempt to stop it from closing. His quote: "I would not want to get an arm caught in here." On our long-termer, there was no such problem. However, I don't know if this issue would apply to all earlier Quests or just theirs in particular. I'd like to think the latter.
Finally, I asked Nora if she would consider replacing her Quest with a new one. She did like all of the above aspects. However, she wasn't too keen on the Quest's exterior styling ("It's like all party up front but all business in back"). Also, she says she's pretty burned out on driving a minivan right now. So, no, probably not.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
May 14, 2012
You can be certain about two things here at Inside Line. The first thing is, we do use the long-term minivans to haul a lot of stuff. Whether it be bicycles, metal, housewares or cookies, the minivans usually get the job done better than anything else. The second thing is, by the end of 12 months, and often more than 20k miles, we've successfully beat this subject to death, revived it and then shot it again - just to watch it die.
I figured I'd take a swing at this blog pinata, but instead of stuff, I used... me.
As minivans have storage wells for storing third row seating, when the seats are up those storage wells make a good, relatively non-life threatening place to sit and take pictures. And since our usual support vehicle was in for maintenance, I got the keys to the Quest.
So, what's it like in the trunk?
Well, it's not bad. It's not the biggest well in the business, but it is far enough below bumper height that I wasn't in danger of falling out. And although it isn't as wide as I'd like to be, it did allow me to wedge myself in pretty well. Another bonus is the lack of exhaust fumes that can tend to circulate back into the cabin when you drive with the hatch up like they do on some minivans - I'm looking at you, Honda Odyssey.
Things I could do without? Certainly the finicky storage well covers. Snaps and straps? Maybe in the 80's, but please, not today. And the second, albeit not a terribly real world complaint for most of you, is the incessant beep that goes off for the entire time the vehicle is moving with its hatch open. It's shrill and constant. It's so annoying it would be worth digging up the speaker for that thing and poking it out with a stick.
Otherwise, I liked it. I'd ride in the trunk again.
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 14,502 miles
April 25, 2012
The magic of the minivan is packaging. Doing it well is a make-or-break sticking point in this segment. And the spare tire is always a challenge. I've got an adventure panned this weekend that might require some dirt road driving and I hadn't ever looked to see where the Quest's spare tire is hiding until today.
Turns out, it's underneath.
March 29, 2012
Short of their ability to tackle rough terrain or tow anything sizable, minivans are almost always a better alternative to SUVs. Case in point -- room behind the third row seats.
As you can see, our Quest had plenty of space for cargo even when the third row seats are in place. To get that kind of space in an SUV you need to go big, really big, like Suburban big.
Would I rather drive a Suburban? Of course I would, but that's just not practical for most people. Plus the Quest has cool powered seat that raise and lower at the push of a button. Nice.
Ed Hellwig, Editor
March 06, 2012
After a week of hauling around Girl Scout cookies, I took the Quest to the car wash this morning to get it a much needed bath. While I was waiting for it to be dried, a man crossed the parking lot and asked about the Quest.
"It's nice," he said. "Real nice."
I thanked him, and he asked, "A '12?"
"Yep," I said.
"And big," he said. "What's it hold, 10 or 12?"
"People?" I asked. "This is a seven-passenger."
"Too bad," he said, shaking his head. "A van that big should hold at least 10."
Sure, it's bigger than the old Quest, but comparable to a cargo van? Do you think the new design makes it look that large?
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 7,209 miles
March 02, 2012
Yesterday I went to the "Cookie Cupboard" to pick up an additional 63 cases of Girl Scout cookies.
I was fifth in line to load, and feeling pretty optimistic that I would be able to put all of the cases behind the second-row seats.
February 29, 2012
Loyal readers of the long-term road test blog may recall my yearly trip to the cookie warehouse to pick up my daughter's Girl Scout troop's entire cookie order.
Well, Warehouse Day was last Saturday, and I got hosed.
It was my own fault, not asking Car Keeper Mike Schmidt early enough for the keys to our Nissan Quest. Ron Montoya had already pointed the Quest toward Vegas when I began stacking 78 cases of cookies into a Ford Edge we had in for testing, and my own Volvo V70 wagon.
But Thin Mint sales have been so strong this week, I'm making a second cookie run tomorrow for an additional 80 cases.
And this time, I'm taking the minivan.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor
February 27, 2012
High gas prices have been all over the news recently. People tend to drive less and scale back their travel plans at times like this. I had plans to go to Las Vegas this weekend and unlike Vegas high-roller Al Austria, I decided to take the budget-minded, low-roller approach. I got the keys to the long term 2012 Nissan Quest, made reservations for a $40 per night room in downtown Las Vegas, and scoped out the cheap buffets. The only thing missing was a set of low rolling resistance tires to make the theme complete. But the Quest has traditional all-season tires instead.
Although I wasn't paying for the gas, I was mindful of the high prices and drove the Quest efficiently. Plus, it was an opportunity to see if I could set some sort of mpg record.
February 13, 2012
One of the more distinctive elements of the modern minivan is the "well" -- the empty space at the rear of the van that's created when the third row of seats is raised. It often comes in handy for placing and securing loose cargo. One of my favored uses is lining up grocery bags.
As you might have noticed, the Nissan Quest is a little different in that it has two covers for its storage well. This does bring about some positives and negatives when it comes time for grocery shopping.
On the positive side, there's a higher load floor with the covers in place, meaning it's easier to load or unload heavy bags or items that would otherwise be deeper in the well. Things seem to slide around a little more, but as long as the third row seat is raised, it's still pretty useful.
February 10, 2012
The other day when I had to load a rolled-up 7'9 x 11' rug in our 2012 Nissan Quest, as soon as I hit the open buttons on the key fob for the two sliding doors (two separate buttons) and the rear hatch, my heart warmed a little toward this "mommy-mobile."
Since the third row was already down, I was able to slide the rug into the van without any finagling. Just slid that in right down the middle til it cleared the rear threshold and hit between the two front seats. Didn't even have to touch the car. So cool. You may not think that's a big deal, but I liked the fact I didn't have to get my paws dirty. As you can tell, I don't have much experience with minivans.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
January 30, 2012
Cargo-wise, our 2012 Nissan Quest LE comes across more like a crossover than a minivan.
Case in point: those are 8-foot pieces of angle iron, and they don't fit behind the front seats. To preserve seating for four I must poke them between the front seats and restrain them so they can't bash the dash. If I'm willing to limit seating to two I could fold down the rear seats and angle the angle iron to a greater degree.
But neither maneuver works with any sort of 8-foot panel or boxy object, even if it's just a couple feet wide -- a 4'x8' chunk of plywood or drywall isn't even worth discussing. Heck, I'd have a hard time loading a larger number of slender 8-foot items, such as a bunch of 2x4s or 4x4s.
Any homeowner who has ever visited Lowes or Home Depot knows ours is an 8-foot world. Trouble is the Quest, despite its commodious outward appearance, is a 7-foot vehicle.
As much as I prefer driving and sitting in the 2012 Nissan Quest for long distances compared to a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey, this shortcoming is enough to keep the Quest off my shopping list. It can't provide what I consider one of the primary benefits of minivan ownership.
January 26, 2012
I was curious about the Nissan Quest's higher-than-usual-for-minivans load floor. One of the big benefits of minivans for me is the ease with which I can just throw a bike in the back, with all wheels on, bungee it secure, and I'm on my way.
This was simple with, say, our long-term Toyota Sienna.
But what about the Quest? I mean, I knew it would fit, but the question was how easily? I found out on my way to an early-morning group road ride in Irvine. After which, I was strangely craving a 3x3...
Turns out it's definitely not as easy to throw a bike in the back as most minivans. I had to angle the bicycle to roll it up inside. But, that doesn't matter too much because I lean the bike over to bungee it to the side anyway. And it was still easier than the majority of vehicles out there.
January 05, 2012
Our new Nissan Quest long-termer served as the Sherpa for our test gear yesterday. Not only did it swallow all our gear handily (no great shock, it is a minivan after all), but it's also an incredibly plush and comfy hauler.
Check out how easily we stacked the test gear:
December 30, 2011
One of our family traditions is a big year-end crab feed. Equipped with an ice chest, mom and I loaded ourselves into the 2012 Nissan Quest LE and set off downhill to the fish market in nearby Gold Beach to pick up some fresh Dungeness crab.
The Quest makes the trip down the narrow and twisting Carpenterville Road a piece of cake, thanks to ample suspension travel to soak up the slumping asphalt. The ride is admirably smooth and comfortable thanks to springs and dampers that are neither too firm nor too soft.
But none of this means the Quest handles like a soggy fish. All the while it carves through the numerous tight corners with reassuring accuracy, if not speed -- this is, after all, a minivan, not a 370Z.. The direct and well-weighted steering that felt good on the open road on the trip up from California proves to be just as well suited to this sort of terrain.
And the CVT transmission remains impressive over the rollercoaster of tight corners, short uphill bursts and longer grades. The very seamlessness of the thing only adds to the impression that the Quest is effortlessly gliding along.
The only thing this CVT seems to lack is something akin to a first gear hold for the ultra-steep twisting downhill that is my parents half-mile driveway; the provided "O/D off" and "L" settings don't cut it, leaving me no choice but to ride the brakes instead.
December 22, 2011
It's that time of year again. Time to pick a vehicle to head north to Oregon for the holidays. The recent arrival of our new 2012 Nissan Quest LE made the choice easy.
How well does it go down the road? Will the seats be comfy over the long haul? And what about the Quest's atypical (for a minivan) seat folding strategy?
In loading our stuff, I've already begun to form an opinion on that last point. The second and third rows fold forward, on top of themselves, which eliminates the "where to store them?" question for the second row while creating a level floor. Thing is, that floor is higher than other minivans by the approximate thickness of those folded seats.
My daughters are of course sitting in the second row seats on this trip, so this middle row strategy doesn't help me any, as the Quest's higher load floor extends all the way to the back, where the highish liftover comes across a bit like a crossover. That said, the tall, boxy Quest has plenty of usable space in the cargo area (and in a hidden underfloor compartment) for what we're carrying this time out.
TIme to close the hatch and hit the road. Should be interesting.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehilce Testing @ 1,067 miles