2012 Nissan Quest LE: 600-Mile Road Trip, Pt. 2
April 18, 2012
Our longterm 2012 Nissan Quest's transmission doesn't have a manual mode of any kind. At first, this fact gave me some some pause regarding its abiltiy to provide engine braking, which is something I use a lot to regulate speed especially on long freeway road trips.
However, its lack of a manual mode proved to be no issue at all. The Quest has a very effective and quick way to provide engine braking. In fact, it provides two degrees of engine braking. Press the button on the selector to "turn off" the overdrive ratio and you instantly get the first level of engine braking. Need more? Drop the selector down to "L". With the use of these features I never missed not having a manual mode.
And the Quest's CVT is truly outstanding in other ways. First, no shift shock. Ever! Can't say that about conventional gearbox, regardless of gear count. The Quest's CVT is uncommonly smooth, which is just what you want when you're transporting five other people (some of which are sensitive to a car's pitching movements).
The pairing of the CVT to a high-torque engine like the Quest's V6 is the secret sauce -- CVTs tend to magnify the gutlessness and buzziness of four-cylinder engines. If you have preconceived notions regarding CVTs, you owe it to yourself to experience the Nissan's V6/CVT combo. It's really the best implementation of a CVT to date and it gives up nothing to a conventional autobox.