2012 Nissan Quest Long Term Road Test

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: VQ35 Fuel Curiosity

November 09, 2012

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Recently, Oldham and I were compiling one of the monthly fuel economy updates. The question came up: which grade of fuel does our longterm 2012 Nissan Quest use?

It's 87 octane, but the question had me thinking about the other Nissan corporate product in our fleet that uses the same powertrain as the Quest, but requires premium.

Both the Quest and our longterm 2013 Infiniti JX35 use Nissan's VQ35 3.5-liter V6 and CVT transmission. Ostensibly the exact same hardware plunked into a different package. 

I started wondering why it is the case that one requires premium fuel and the other does not. And for some reason, I started hearing the voice inside your head:

"Well," you're thinking, "the JX probably makes oodles more power than the Quest as a result."

Not so much. The JX is rated just 5 hp and 8 lb-ft more than the Quest. Not exactly a huge difference, especially when we're dealing with a 260 hp engine as installed in the Quest.

"Well," you're thinking, "the JX probably returns significantly better fuel economy than the Quest as a result."

Nope. The Quest returns 19/24 city/hwy mpg. The FWD JX? 18/24.

"Well," you're thinking, "the JX probably weighs significantly more than the Quest. That's why its city fuel economy is a bit lower."

JX35 AWD: 4544 lb. Quest: 4592 lb.

"Well," you're thinking, "at 5.173, the JX's final drive is shorter than the Quest's 4.878. That's why its city fuel economy is a bit lower."

That's true, but the JX uses a larger rolling diameter tire package that nullifies its shorter final drive. The gearing between the JX and the Quest is effectively identical as a result.

"Well, WTF?"

Yes, WTF, indeed. So, I inquired with Infiniti as to why the JX requires premium. Maybe there's a big jump in output elsewhere in powerband that doesn't show in the peak numbers, I proposed. Here's the response from Infiniti:

"The Infiniti JX is programmed to run on premium. Smoother response, maximum power and torque. In their words, it helps give the 'Infiniti-ness the customer expects.'

If one chooses to put regular fuel in the Infiniti JX, power and torque will decrease slightly. Not necessarily exactly to the point you mentioned in the minivan offered by our corporate, mainstream brand, but it will decrease slightly.

As for that minivan, it’s programmed to run and be happy with regular. Quite the opposite of the Infiniti JX, however, in that if one does put premium fuel in it, it doesn’t increase power and torque. Therefore, in effect, the customer is wasting their money by putting premium in that vehicle."

From what I can translate, the JX does indeed see a benefit to premium in off-peak parts of the powerband, but the Quest does not. I don't quite understand why this would be the case -- perhaps the Quest's exhaust has more backpressure and/or its intake is somewhat more restrictive. Yeah, it's not a terribly satisfying conclusion. Any theories?

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest: Well Used @ 21K-plus Miles

September 13, 2012

 2012 Nissan Quest: Cool Drawer

I checked to Oh-d'oh! during a recent refueling and to my surprise, we've already exceeded our typical goal of 20,000 miles on our 2012 Nissan Quest LE. Apparently, the Quest has had a few outings since Mark Takahashi drove it. The interior is showing wear, or at the very least, grime on its interior. With all the photo shoots, track days, family vacations, and commuting it has provided, it never has a day off. It needs a day at the spa.

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Pulling A "Jacquot"

May 30, 2012

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It's not always easy being friends with Josh Jacquot. No, seriously, he can make it difficult. Like when he pulls one of his favorite stunts: Running a car to the point that its fuel readout says "zero miles remaining," or something to that effect. He loves that. 

There was the time we were on our way back from mountain biking near San Diego, in a BMW X3 or X5 if I remember correctly. It was on empty before we entered the stretch of Interstate 5 North that goes through Camp Pendleton (where there are no exits for fuel, mind you), yet Josh just needed to see how far we could push it. "I bet BMW is conservative," he said.  

Then there was the time... 

we were on our way to Moab in a fuel-sucking Evo in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, the incredibly patient Mrs. Jacquot sleeping in the back seat, me sleeping in the front passenger seat, Josh at the wheel. I woke up to him explaining that we were on empty, had been for some time, and he just skipped what was the last exit for many miles. Why? He thought the Evo still had a few more miles in it. Sure, why not? Someone will come along to help us...in a few hours.

I don't always find it funny at the moment it's happening (like if I really need to be home by a certain time, and being stranded on the side of the road would be a serious inconvenience--when isn't it?), but looking back now, I just laugh at his weird desire to drive a car until it nearly runs out of gas. Good times, all.

So in honor of Josh I decided to push the envelope on the Quest's fuel window a bit over the weekend. At least I thought I was.

Apparently Nissan has caught onto the jackassery of people like Josh, as even though I ran it down to a theoretical zero miles of range remaining, there was still almost three gallons of fuel left in the tank when I filled it up. Of note, the last readout I remember before it turned to blank lines was 17 miles to empty.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 15,345 miles.  

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Road Trip Fuel Economy Report

April 30, 2012

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For those who missed last week's post, the Quest's EPA fuel economy ratings are 19 city/24 highway/21 combined. 

Over the weekend Monti and I drove the van on an 806-mile road trip. Seven hundred twenty five of those miles were on the interstate or two-lane highway.

On that trip I witnessed some interesting driving...

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Monticello vs. Social Responsibility

April 26, 2012

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Our Quest has been averaging 19.0 mpg combined thus far in its time with us. Its EPA ratings are 19 city/24 highway/21 combined.

Tomorrrow morning Monticello (yes, that Monticello) and I are leaving on an 800-mile trip. Seven hundred of those miles will be on the highway where I drive conservatively and at the limit. Can't speak for the other guy.

Can we match the EPA numbers?

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Nissan Quest: Weekly Fuel Cost

March 07, 2012

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After driving 312 miles, I filled up the Quest's tank yesterday.

Cost for 87 octane in Santa Monica was $4.40 per gallon.

That means I paid .25 cents per mile.

My daughter's school is six miles from our house. That means it cost $3 per round-trip just to get her to school and back.

Suddenly a $600 annual bus pass sounds less absurd.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 7,292 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest: Underestimated Fuel Economy

February 28, 2012

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I made it a point to check the fuel economy gauge on my recent trip to Las Vegas and compare it to actual calculated mpg. In our experiences, we have noticed that these gauges have a tendency to be overly optimistic. Not so in the 2012 Nissan Quest.

I filled up twice on my last trip and in both situations the in-car display was 0.3 mpg less than the actual calculated figure.

First fill up -- Displayed MPG: 19.5 (19.8 actual)
Second fill up -- Displayed MPG: 23.9 (24.2 actual)

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2012 Nissan Quest: Low-Roller Weekend

February 27, 2012

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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.

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2012 Nissan Quest: 10 Ways Its Better than a CLS63

February 06, 2012

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Mike Magrath has been tasked with doing the Edmunds rating on the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG. I've been tasked with doing the Edmunds model review on the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG. Though I was fully prepared to lirpa him to shreds in a fight to the death to get what could very well be my favorite car, luckily geography was on our side. We live in blocks away, and as we often do, made a switch midday Saturday after Magrath took the first round of custody. I can only imagine what a bystander would think seeing two guys flipping the keys to each other's wildly different cars then driving off.

Clearly, they'd think he'd lost this trade. Badly. Not quite Babe Ruth to the Yankees bad, but not good. Still, in order to make him feel better, here are 10 ways the Nissan Quest is better than a Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG:

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Return Trip From Oregon

January 03, 2012

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The plan was simple. We'd set our alarms at 5:30, grab a quick breakfast, say our goodbyes and load ourselves into the 2012 Nissan Quest in time to hit the road before the sun came up at 6:30 am. With any luck we'd make it home the same day.

No one bothered to tell this tree -- or the weather, for that matter, which had dumped eight inches of rain over the previous two days and made everything soggy.

We came upon the fallen tree while rounding one of Capenterville Road's signature pitch-dark corners, where homes are non existent and overhanging trees block the starlight. Good thing I wasn't hustling too fast. Good thing the Quest has bright high-beam headlights and steady brakes.

Lucky for us this 12-inch diameter tree had shattered on impact into 6- and 8-foot logs that my daughters and I could push, roll or otherwise drag off the side of the road. In ten minutes we were back on our way, fully awake.

Personally, I prefer to start my morning with a good strong cup of coffee.

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Oregon Day 3 -- Bend to Brookings

December 27, 2011

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Yeah, we've been out and about in our 2012 Nissan Quest for more than three days, but the last couple don't count because we sat planted in one place, exchanging gifts and stuffing our faces. That we were doing so in Bend, Oregon was a huge plus.

Today we got back on the road and headed for Christmas II at my folks place on the Oregon coast just north of Brookings near a place called Pistol River.

Between here and there sits Crater Lake National Park, but with no time to stop we skirted along its northern flank on our way over the Cascade range. The steady climb up highway 138 started out dry enough, but it quickly turned to slush, patchy ice and, near the 5,400-foot summit, snow. That we got through without a cracked windshield from scattered patches of pumice laid down by ODOT snowplows was something of a minor miracle.

This was by no means a severe test, and there was certainly less snow than we found the last time we came through in our long-term Ford Flex. But the front-drive Quest and its all-season tires did manage to make the Bend-area locals and their studded tires look a little silly. (Actually, long-time Bend natives scoff at the studded rubber, too, attributing their popularity to Southern California transplants that have never heard of Blizzaks, apparently.)

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Oregon Day #2 -- Welcome to Bend

December 24, 2011

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We have arrived in Bend, Oregon, the first of two holiday stops on this trip. The 2012 Nissan Quest cruised uneventfully up Oregon's highway 97, deposting us at our destination with nary a sore butt or wrenched back.

This is far from the usual result. My wife and I almost never find the same seats comfortable, but that's the case here. They're supportive, well-bolstered and are just soft enough. Each has its own adjustable inside armrests and the front pair are toasted by excellent two-stage seat heaters.

Before we hit the road for this last leg, however, we made a brief stop to pick up a little something for our hosts.

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Oregon Day 1 -- Mt. Shasta

December 23, 2011

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Day one of our Oregon holiday trip saw the 2012 Nissan Quest make it 650 miles up the road to Mt. Shasta, California. The night chill certainly makes it feel like December up here, but the weak coating of snow on this southernmost member of the Cascade range looks more like late spring.

Nearly all of the trip took place on the I-5 freeway, save for a self-imposed 100-mile detour we took onto the northern stretch of highway 99 to avoid construction delays on the interstate. Strong head- and crosswinds belted us wherever we went all day, but the Nissan Quest didn't seem to notice and tracked straight and true.

In fact the Quest's steering is emerging as a strong suit. It's nicely weighted, precise (but not to a nervous and over-sensitive degree) and the on-center position is well-defined. And the steering wheel rim has a nice heft to it. All day I was reminded of the Infiniti QX-56, a big SUV I enjoyed far more than I expected on the way to Mammoth a couple summers ago.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Nissan Quest in VA is:

$131 per month*
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