2012 Nissan Quest LE: Appropriate Powertrain
January 21, 2012
If you're a regular reader you've likely heard us rail against CVT transmissions. Their pitfalls include everything from slow responses to endless engine droning under accelereation to poor control interface. Most of us aren't huge fans.
That's not the case with the powertrain in the Quest. At least for me.
Here we've got an appropriate application for the CVT. And pairing it with a big, torquey V6 is the only way to make such a transmission good. Better, in fact, than its conventional torque-converter-equipped competition.
Step on the throttle in the Quest and it goes. Right now. No waiting, regardless of the situation. Rapid response isn't something I would ever have thought would be important in a minivan until I had it . And now I can fully appreciate a van that goes when asked. Hammer it from 60 mph to make a pass it acclerates. Immediately. Do the same in the Sienna or Odyssey and guess what happens first? The car slows down -- yes, it decelerates -- while the transmission finds the right gear, selects it (often with a huge surge to the powertrain and lots of noise) and then it begins to accelerate. Not so in the Quest.
Furthermore, because this Quest's VQ35 powerplant is actually powerful enough to push the van around at modest rpm, the engine drone is minimal and short lived.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor