2012 Nissan Quest Long Term Road Test - Interior

2012 Nissan Quest Long Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (1)
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  • Long-Term

2012 Nissan Quest: Interior Glare

December 05, 2012


I was about to compose a blog to compliment our 2012 Nissan Quest on its ability to manage glare in all situations. Then the freeway turned and the sun washed out half of the dash, and most importantly, the navigation screen. So I'm going to instead compliment the Quest on its ability to manage glare in most situations. Its hard to do. That sun, well, it's bright.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 25,350 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Dealbreaker?

November 07, 2012

Quest_second row.jpg

Do minivan buyers really care about a three-passenger second row? I don't know, but the Quest doesn't offer one and it's outsold by its Odyssey and Sienna competitors. That likely owes to other factors as well; less cargo volume, love-or-loathe styling. My wife says a second-row bench is not only practical for kid hauling, but also when carrying large items - bag, box etc - that benefit from the extra stability of a seat and seatback (she also says the gaps around a center console are black holes for crumbs and wrappers).

I see her point. Bench seats are also great for curling up and catching some Z's. I tried a mock nap in the Quest second row and, actually, if you just threw a thin air or foam cushion over the center console (or the whole row), you'd be fine.

I'm curious why Nissan doesn't offer the eight-passenger option in the U.S, unlike the ElGrand model in Japan. With a middle seat option, you essentially offer two vans and extend the service life of a family's van. Two bench rows while kids are young, two captain's chairs for when they're older, at each others throats and can't share the same contact patch of seating. Our Quest is set up for that later phase, or as a luxury for adults in a business shuttle or vanpool.

I don't consider this a deal-breaker in the Quest. The rest of the van is too good. But it would make me wait it out, to see if the next refresh or generation offers the additional seat. Or it would just drive me into the seats of a new Grand Cherokee, 5-passenger limit and all.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Seats by Volvo?

October 17, 2012

 2012 Nissan Quest

Of course I know these seats are not really sourced from the Swedes, But given how they similarly manage to provide sink-in plushness along with proper back and thigh support, one could hardly blame me for feeling this way. Kudos to Nissan for also including an angle adjustment feature for the flip-down inboard armrests.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest: Tale of the Tape

July 20, 2012


Here is the seat control switch in the cargo area of our 2012 Nissan Quest LE. Press it one direction, the seatback lowers. Press it the other and it raises. This isn't the first time we've acknowledged its usefulness. But it is the first time we've measured the benefit tangibly...

When the time comes to raise the seatback, there are two options.


Option one, lean forward and grab the strap to pull it up manually. It can be difficult if the strap is not stretched perfectly straight, as in the picture. The end of it rests 24 inches from the door opening.


Option two, utilize the button. It lifts the seat so the strap is easier to grab, just 16 inches away now. Note, the button will not raise the seat far enough for passengers to jump right in. It doesn't even get to 90 degrees. Manual seatback adjustment is still required.



Do you feel smarter now?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 19,300 miles  

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2012 Nissan Quest: That's Hot

July 18, 2012


There I was, sitting in the rear cargo area of our 2011 Nissan Quest taking blog photos, when the nerve endings in my back cried out, "That's hot." Not a Paris Hilton kind of that's hot. Wait, do people still talk about her? Did she really have that phrase trademarked? Focus, Mike. Focus. Something had burned me.

I turned around to find the culprit, this cargo light. As any nerd in his right mind would do, I grabbed the pyrometer. 128-degrees? That's hot. But it didn't stop there...


Really hot.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 19,233 miles 

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2012 Nissan Quest: Road Trip Notes

July 03, 2012


No surprise that our Nissan Quest is a great road trip vehicle, but I still learned a few things on our way to Monument Valley.

1. You can't have too many cupholders. Mainly because they're really good for holding just about anything. Sure, you might only have a few drinks going at one time, but you also need someone to stash spare change, a pair of binoculars and a big wad of napkins.

2. It's nice to have a real power outlet. The Quest has a 120V outlet in the center console that charges up phones and tablets way faster than your average USB port.

3. The CVT/V6 combo in this van works well for passing on the highway. Once it finds the sweet spot it just sits there until you've made your pass. I grew to like it.

4. Definitely make a reservation at The View hotel so you can have a scene like this when you look out your window in the morning.

Plenty more to come later.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 17,654 miles


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2012 Nissan Quest: Hooked on Metrics

June 27, 2012


This handy hook is located in the back of the Quest's cargo area. I used it yesterday to hang a single reusable cloth grocery bag containing a large bottle of orange juice, same size bottle of lemonade, and eight containers of yogurt.

Was that over 4 kg? I have no idea.

Does your brain think in kilograms or pounds?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 17,134 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest: That's Not Very Big

May 31, 2012


The Quest is a big thing. The sunroof in the Quest, at least the one in the front, you know, over the important people, is not a big thing. It's tiny. Incidentally, that is as far as it will open no matter how many times you press and release the rocker switch for the sunroof.

Not that this will matter to most, but it's so narrow my shoulders wouldn't even fit through there. I guess the ejector seat will have to go in the second row.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 15,350 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest: Using the Outlet

May 25, 2012


Our long-term Nissan Quest (as well as our new long-term Jeep Cherokee SRT8) is equipped with a 120 volt AC outlet, or a plug, as you might call it around the home. It's a great feature. And I use it. All the time.

It's on the console, between the Quest's front seats.


Unless it's in use, the outlet is covered by this little spring loaded door. 


To activate the outlet you flip this switch, which is located on the van's centerstack below the radio.


I've used the Quest's outlet many times to charge my phone, once to plug in a small vacuum and for my camera's battery charger. 

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief   

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2012 Nissan Quest: Compared To A 2004 Quest

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

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2012 Nissan Quest: Driver Seat Showing Wear, But Likely Normal

May 18, 2012


I happened to notice that the outside driver seat cushion bolster is showing some wear creases after nearly 15,000 miles. The problem is that due to the seat's elevated height (relative to say, a sedan's), everytime you get in or out you're squishing that bolster with your butt. And since it's leather upholstery, it starts to hold creases.


I suspect this is pretty common for a vehicle like a minivan, though. I was able to dig up a photo of our long-term Odyssey's seat (pictured right) and it looked pretty similar. But it does make me wonder what the Nissan's seat will look like after a few more years of hard use.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Small Request

May 10, 2012


The pull-straps on the backs of our 2012 Nissan Quest's 60/40 third-row seat don't get as much use as in other minivans -- because our LE model has a power-fold feature (which we demo'd in a video) that does most of the manual labor for you.

The straps are a little longer than most straps of this variety, and for whatever reason, Nissan omitted the usual bits of velcro on the straps and the seat-backs to keep them secure when they're not in use.

It's a little thing, and I'm sure said velcro (as seen in our departed 2011 Sienna and 2011 Odyssey) would eventually cease to be sticky, but for the first 50,000 miles of the van's service life, it would save you the small hassle of fishing around in the cracks for wayward straps.


Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest: Front Seatbelt Fit

May 09, 2012


"Finally, this seatbelt is perfect," said my 11-year-old daughter when she buckled the Nissan Quest's front seatbelt this morning.

I asked her what she meant, and she showed me how the shoulder harness adjustment slid low enough to bring the belt to the perfect level for her 4'10", 77-pound frame.

She hasn't been riding in the front seat all that long, and I wasn't even aware that she was so dissatisfied with the fit of the front belts. She had never complained about it before.

"Most of them feel like they're choking me," she said.

I know at 5'7", I immediately slide the adjustable shoulder harnesses to their lowest point, but I feel bad that I never before considered it from her shirmpy perspective.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 14,495 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Beats Its Rivals on Road Trips

May 07, 2012


I took a mini vacation to La Quinta (the desert city in California, not the mid-range motel chain) with three friends over the weekend. Why such a big vehicle? Well, originally, there were going to be six of us, but at the last minute, the group shrunk to four but I already had our long-term 2012 Nissan Quest, so off we went.

We haven't even had the Quest six months, but it has already seen a lot of road trip duty -- it went to Oregon with Dan's family and more recently took six adults to Vegas for Caroline's family reunion.

After this short trip, all I can do is agree with pretty much everything that has been said about the Quest: it's a fine road trip vehicle. Actually, I'll go farther. I don't think I've ever driven a minivan that was more suited to road trips (provided you don't need 8 seats). Here's why:

The ride quality is superb over most types of pavement (even in L.A.), and the cabin is exceptionally quiet. It was easy to participate in conversation with the passengers in the second row. The Odyssey and Sienna aren't this quiet.

I also was reminded that I think this is the best application to date of any continuously variable transmission (CVT). The ease with which you can put the pedal down to access a lower gear ratio range and get a few more revs from the 3.5-liter V6 for passing is just so nice. There's no waiting, no gearchange drama, the torque is just there when you want it. The six-speed automatic in the Sienna is good, but even it can't match the smooth transitions you get with the Nissan's CVT.

I can't say I'm a fan of the Quest's Toyo all-season tires, which howl through assertive left turns and detract from its braking ability -- although our long-term van stopped better than an earlier Quest we tested with these tires. I know these tires may contribute to the van's ride quality, but if I owned it, I'd be looking for a grippier alternative when it was time to replace them.

Life was great inside the van as well. None of the friends agreed with my assessment that the Quest looks cool (or my contention that minivans in general are cool), but all liked our LE's accommodations and the sheer convenience of its power-operated doors. Everyone but the driver (me) dozed off in its leather captains chairs, and the triple-zone climate control eliminated any need to negotiate over the set temperature while keeping the whole cabin cool in near 100-degree temps. Of course, you can find these conveniences in any modern minivan, but the Quest's second-row captain's chairs are some of the most luxurious seats you'll come across in the minivan class.

I do wish the driver seat-bottom cushion was a little longer to support my thighs better. The Friday afternoon drive to La Quinta took five hours total (with three stops to pick up passengers), and by Hour 4, dead butt was starting to be an issue. The trip back took only three hours with stops, and I had no such complaint.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,150 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Getting Dirty in Tonopah

April 26, 2012


No, our 2012 Nissan Quest didn't visit a ranch -- not that kind of ranch, anyway. But it did spend some time on some graded dirt roads.

If you must know, I'll lay my nerd cred on the table: last weekend's trip to the ET highway was a geocaching trip. Some insane person put out 1,500 of the things in the area around Rachel, Nevada, each spaced exactly 0.1 mile apart.

A team of 17 even more insane persons nerds known as Team DNF, myself included, made an assault on the ET series in five vehicles. I signed out the Quest because of it's spaceous middle row, power sliding door and low step-in height. After all, my runner would be stepping in and out a lot.


Most of the 150-mile route was paved, but about 50 miles were graded dirt roads. Even some of the pavement counts as dirt because the Nevada highway department reminds cachers that the paved miles require us to travel on the unpaved shoulder near each ground zero. It was all reasonably smooth and well within the capability of a 2WD minivan, but I still had to keep a sharp eye peeled for holes and protruding sharp rocks.

Whether on asphalt or dirt, the process went like this: each car would do a mile's worth of searching and logging, then haul ass 4 miles and leapfrog the other four teams to their next assigned mile. They're doing the same thing too, of course, so there's a lot of honking and waving as the various cars pass and repass their stationary brethren every few minutes throughout the day.

There's also a lot of Gatorade, beef jerky and sunscreen.

If it sounds dumb, it is. But it's also loads of fun.

No, really. 


At the end, the Quest was dirty, but not irreversibly so. The wind was blowing the right direction most of the time, so less dust than you'd think drifted inside through the open doors. Once I got home my trusty microfiber towel took care of it in all of 5 minutes. Still, it helped that my runners remembered to wait three-Mississippi before opening the slider.


After we finished we headed for Tonopah, Nevada, stopping at the entrance to the Tonopah Missile Test Range on the way.

The Quest did great. The A/C and it's cabin air filter kept the dust at bay, and my passengers didn't have any complaints in the backseat. We used the heck out of the 120V inverter and the USB jacks in an attempt to keep our electronic devices charged.

All day long the well behind the third seat proved to be a great place for our ice-chest, food and on-deck drinks. Down there it couldn't slide around and any icy dribbles fell harmlessly down below the level of the "good" carpet of the load floor.

And I'm even more impressed with the Quest's CVT transmission than I was already. We accelerated from rest hundreds of times, and each one was smooth and seamless; no one turned green.


Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 12,876 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest: Dog Report

April 17, 2012

nissanquest 001.jpg

Before the trip to Vegas, I had to drop off my dog Mya at the sitter's. Definitely no real struggle in our huge 2012 Nissan Quest. Only issue, if you want to call it that, was trying to stop Mya from jumping in the car and then squeezing between the second-row seats to the back. In past backseats, she never had that option of extra space and easy access to those spaces. Here, she was like, "Where do you want me? Here? Or in the backseat? Or maybe in the front seat?" But no big deal and I got the hang of it for the second time when I had to pick her up after the trip.

nissanquest 020.jpg

Since the second row isn't a benchseat, Mya (looking very devil dog-like in the above nighttime photo) had to sit upright for the ride but she liked looking out the window. If it were a longer trip, however, she probably would have to curl herself into a tight ball to lie down.

The rear overhead vents kept her panting to a minimum. I'd like to think she appreciated the Quest's low step-in since at seven she's getting up there in years and can't jump as well as she used to. Only thing she didn't seem to like was the sliding doors which made her twitch nervously as they moved and shut themselves.

As for me, I liked how the seatbelt latches protruded from the seat, making it a cinch to buckle her in. And loved how easy it was to tuck her blanket into the seat so she couldn't kick it off. And naturally all that space for her doggy weekend bag was nice.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest: Full House

April 16, 2012


I never thought I'd be SO grateful for a minivan. I don't have kids to take to soccer practice and I don't normally haul a bunch of stuff around. But this weekend I really needed our 2012 Nissan Quest since I had to haul around my family, six people altogether for a family reunion in Vegas.

Unfortunately, the Quest seemed to be in much demand. First, editor Chris Walton had signed out for it and then the big boss, Scott Oldham, said he needed it. Currently it's the only vehicle in our fleet that can accommodate six passengers.

Thankfully, for one reason or another, which I won't even question, it worked out for me and my family. So here they are enjoying the roomy accommodations of the Quest on the way to the reunion.

The third-row passengers appreciated how easy it was to get in and out of the back. "It helped that the second-row seat is easy to move forward when you pull the lever to pull the back part down," said my sister. "Makes it easy to keep your dignity when entering and exiting the vehicle, even in heels and a flapper dress." (By the way, we had to dress up for the family reunion in 1920s fashions.) They also noted that it was comfortable with decent legroom.

My dad thought the sliding doors were magical and my mom felt oh-so fancy stepping out of the new minivan with its "magical doors" in front of her relatives. She loved that the vehicle wasn't too high off the ground and easy for her to step down from unassisted.

It was the perfect conveyance for the weekend. Really made me see the Quest in a whole new light, too. Forget kid-hauling, it'd be perfect for taking friends out for a night on the town.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor@ 10,590 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest: Power Liftgate Video

April 11, 2012


Last May I posted videos of the power liftgates of both our long-term 2011 Toyota Sienna SE and our long-term 2011 Honda Odyssey. Well, now its the Nissan Quest's turn. 

Listen for the beeps. 

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Nissan Quest: Cool Drawer

April 10, 2012


I've been spending a lot of time in our long-term 2012 Nissan Quest. And it seems with every mile I discover another cool feature this van offers. Yesterday I made use of this hidden drawer that pops out of the bottom of the center console between the front seats.

It's not a huge space, but it's more than large enough for a family's worth of nick nacks, or even my nine-year-old's Nikes.

I ended up using it all day for our phones, my camera and the paperback my wife is reading.


Unless you know to look for the drawer, you'd never know it's there. Nice touch Nissan.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Could Be My Minivan

March 31, 2012

Quest front int.jpg

First off, why are these things are called minivans when they're anything but? Still, if I had four or five kids and decided to get a "maxivan" (sorry Dodge) instead of a Ford Flex, the Quest would be my choice. My main reasons why echo the sentiments of some of my colleagues...

Solid Driving Dynamics: 
The Quest's V6 packs plenty of punch and yet, driven in a worst-case scenario environment (heavy-footed staff and perpetual L.A. "freeway" gridlock) we are averaging 19 mpg. Nissan's CVT is the best in the business as it smoothly transfers the power to the wheels without feeling like an old automatic with a slipping torque converter. Lastly, the Quest provides a plush ride without feeling like a King size mattress on four beach balls when a faster corner comes up. 

I know this is about as big a concern in this segment as singing ability is to Nicki Minaj. But on the other hand, I just couldn't drive something as fugly as the Odyssey and the Sienna is just bland. The Quest is the only one that strikes me as approaching attractive. Yes, the front end is a little weird, but I like the profile with its sweeping character lines and Mini Cooper/Ford Flex-like greenhouse with its blacked-out roof pillars that give a wrap-around glass effect. Just watch the lower skirting when you open the passenger's door next to a high curb. 

As other staffers have noted, the Quest's inner sanctum looks and feels a cut (or two) above the others. The flowing dash design, convincing fake wood accents, high quality materials and contrasting piping on the seats make it seem as if the Quest LE was indeed at first slated to be an Infiniti. 

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest: Excellent Long-Haul Seats

March 22, 2012


If you're going to buy a vehicle that facilitates road trips, it should have good seats. Actually, all vehicles should have good seats, but the for the sake of this post I'll limit things to our long-term Quest. A few reasons why these chairs work:

1. They're soft enough to conform to your body, yet they don't sag so much that you automatically slouch after 20 minutes behind the wheel.

2. There's a good range of adjustment. They go low enough for floor scrapers like myself and high for those who like to tickle the ceiling with their hair. Plenty of legroom too.

3. An adjustable, fold down armrest. It's not really a proper captain's chair if you don't have an armrest on the right side. The one in the Quest ratchets to just about any angle, perfect.

Ed Hellwig, Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest: Not the Miniest Minivan

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

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2012 Nissan Quest: Low-Roller Weekend

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.

 Quest Cargo.jpg

I brought four friends with me and we packed the cargo area to capacity. Like Brent, I also would have preferred more traditional minivan "trunk well" design, since the flat floor forced us to do a balancing act on our stacked luggage.

The Quest was very quiet, comfortable and easy to drive. It had plenty of power and one of the smoothest continuously variable transmissions I've ever experienced. Many of my passengers fell asleep and had plenty of room to stretch out.

While I was keeping tabs on my gas consumption, I didn’t take any extreme measures to maximize my fuel economy. I set the cruise control to about 5 mph faster than the posted speed limit, when possible. When I came across a decline, I turned off the cruise control and let the car's momentum move it forward.

On the way to Las Vegas, I averaged 19.8 mpg. This wasn't a true highway number because I drove around on surface streets for a while before filling up. For reference, the Quest's EPA numbers are 19 mpg city, 24 highway and 21 combined.
My fuel economy greatly improved on the way back. I made fewer stops and I was able to fill up soon after getting off the freeway. My return-trip fuel economy was 24.2 mpg. This is a new record for the Quest. The previous best was 23.6 mpg, set back in December.

I was impressed that the Quest was able to meet its highway fuel economy figure with five passengers and a full load of cargo. In total, I travelled 590 miles and had a total trip average of 21.7 mpg, slightly better than the EPA combined average.

That same day I witnessed just how variable gas prices can be. I filled up the tank at $3.73 per gallon (87 octane) before leaving Las Vegas. When I arrived back in Van Nuys, California and had to refuel, a gallon of gas now cost $4.40 per gallon. It's going to be a rough next few months.

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 6,832 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest: Favorite Minivan To Drive Everyday

February 15, 2012


If I had to choose between our Odyssey, Quest and Sienna to drive every day, I'd pick the Quest. At first, there's nothing dramatic that stands out about it. But there are some little things that combine to make it pretty enjoyable.

For one, the Quest drives smaller than it really is. The Quest's responsive CVT comes into play here, as the van is always willing to move out smartly when I ask it to. Handling is beneficial -- the Quest is more willing to turn in than average. It's also probably due to the fact that when I take a look behind me, it doesn't immediately seem like I have an aircraft hanger's worth of space behind me. The Quest is just more personable. Rear outward visibility seems better, too, which could be due to the Quest's boxier shape.

The other thing that strikes me about the Quest is that it's just nicer inside. There aren't any cheap interior materials like in our Sienna or a convoluted dashboard design like our Odyssey. The switchgear is high quality and the navigation interface is excellent. These are the things that you have to interact with everyday.

The Quest certainly has some drawbacks, the main ones for me being reduced cargo carrying capacity (the downside to not being an aircraft hanger) and exterior styling. From an ownership standpoint, those might be enough to dissuade me. But for picking a set of minivan keys off our car sign-out board, I'll go Quest everytime.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 5,657 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Talking to Myself

February 10, 2012

Quest_convo mirror.jpg

By request of our reader, commenter and pal subytrojan, a photo of the Nissan Quest conversation mirror. I've probably done him a disservice by shooting an empty cabin, with no perspective of other humans in the bendy glass. Nope. Just me, the dust, and an open bag of Teddy Grahams sliding around in one of the rear door pockets, a solitary man on his way to the car wash.

This high-performance, Nismo-spec convo mirror not only looks vaguely sci-fi sinister, like the visor of some mechanical villain from George Lucas's imagination, but its high-definition widescreen also makes it a pretty good analog blind-spot detector - a good supplement to the electronic referees already embedded in the Quest's side mirrors.

It also makes me think the Quest could devour that smartfortwo alongside in a single bite.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest: Thoughts From The Freeway

February 09, 2012


Took our Quest on a long highway drive yesterday. Nothing shocking about the experience -- it's a minivan. But a few positive qualities did stand out, most of which we're commented about before in various posts.

The CVT is a standout, particularly for climbing grades -- doing the same grade in the Sienna will have you reaching for its manual gear selector to get it out from its stubborn, sixth-gear programming. The Quest's steering is also pretty tidy, as is suspension tuning. Oh, and the fancy-pants air filtration system? Worked great for when I passed roadside dairy farms. Didn't smell a thing.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Interior Tour

February 07, 2012


Click through for the video...

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 5,330 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest: 10 Ways Its Better than a CLS63

February 06, 2012

Benz vs Quest.jpg 

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

Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG.jpg 

10) Everyone always says that Americans feel bigger is better. Well, you can get a huge, crazy Japanese bus thing for $40,000, or a fast, crazy German sedan-coupe thing for $100,000. The value choice is clear.

9) The Benz has 5 cupholders. The Quest has 16 by Frio's count, so if you like peeing a lot, go for the Nissan.

8) Despite the 290-horsepower gap, the Benz gets 19 mpg combined while the Quest gets 21. Plus, the EPA says you'd only spend $480 extra to fill up the Benz every year ... cha, right. Good luck with that one buddy.

CLS63 Lip Spoiler.jpg 

7) No stupid carbon fiber lip spoiler or Alcantara wheel. They actually come with the AMG Performance Package -- I'd skip the extra 32 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque just so the car wouldn't have them.

6) The Quest can seat six of your friends. The Benz only half that. If you like people, then this is an easy choice. Since I barely do, and Magrath definitely doesn't, this probably applies more to other members of the populace.

5) I'd be more likely to want to know the person who owns the Quest. I'd really really really (x24) like to own the CLS regardless, but even I wouldn't want to know me. I'd figure I'd be going to the Sunset Strip a lot, wearing tight shirts and listening to something called a
Shingy. Oh, it's Chingy? I don't care.


4) The Benz lacks any sort of secret rum running bin.

3) The Quest has two opening sunroofs. I've been told people like more sunroofs. The Mercedes has only one and is thusly worse.

2) The Quest has a rear seat entertainment system. The Mercedes has a front seat DVD entertainment system, which you can't watch while driving. This is a travesty, for just this morning I was thinking, "You know, this car could really be improved if I could watch Downton Abbey while driving." Actually, I wasn't, but I do suppose I can't do that in the Quest, either. Still, a front seat entertainment system is totally useless. Then again if the acceleration and exhaust note don't keep my potential offspring entertained, I'm shipping them off to Switzerland.

1) The Quest helps you get some lumbar home or hauls around some old furniture. The Benz just hauls ass. Or helps you get some. Maybe that was a bad point.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ I was too excited to get the Benz to note the Quest's mileage

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Make It a Double

January 31, 2012


Cupholders. Yep. The Quest has plenty. Twelve for your moderate intake (two on each side of the third row not shown here). Then four bottle holders in the front and sliding doors for when you need a bender. You'll never go thirsty in the Quest.

Not liking the center console, though. Prefer the Odyssey's. Just lift the lid and dump stuff into a big abyss. The Quest just has that small-ish rubber-lined tray up top, and a pull-out drawer underneath. Under-utilized vertical space. Hey, these things matter when you're elected to make the In-N-Out run.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Small Power Door Buttons

January 31, 2012

Quest power door button.jpg

The photo speaks volumes. The Nissan Quest has tiny buttons for the power sliding doors.

And not only is the button small, but you have to keep it pressed for a second or two for the door to start operating. It's not just a touch-and-it-opens affair. 

My question: Why so small and hard to press?

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Floppy Bin Doors

January 27, 2012


I'm sure there's some logical reason (removability, flexibility, whatever) that the Quest's floor bins utilize fabric hinges which snap the doors to the floor. But it should be obvious from this photo why they annoy me. Yes, the hinges are fully fastened in this photo.


Here you can see the snap straps which act as "hinges" on the bin doors. Besides the fact that the doors don't remain aligned when closed, they awkwardly bind the hinge strap when fully open. You can see the how tightly the straps are pulled in the above image. There's no obvious way to stop the door in the vertical position in this case as gravity makes it fall toward the front of the van. Mazda has a similar design in the previous generation 3 and 5, both of which offer a slot where the bin door can be located while open.

Nissan's design could be better.

If it were more like Mazda's:


Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Too. Many. Jokes.

January 24, 2012


I don't know how these things go in your household, but in mine we don't need technology like Nissan's Exhaust Gas Detection Sensor to know when the stuff is present and in need of filtration.

We've got two kids. I'm a Dad. Things happen.

And while I'm certain the company's Plasmacluster Ion Control Stink Annhilator will easily ward off such indelicacies, it occurred to me that Nissan might have improved the icon had it gone with something like this:


Because, after all, when there's a gas problem, it's too often on the inside. And when that's the case, recirculation is the last thing you want.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor. 

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: It's Like an Infiniti in Here

January 20, 2012


My colleague Mr. Frio was right (for once.) Our long-term 2012 Nissan Quest LE is grand. The interior is supremely luxurious for a van -- it's like an Infiniti in there.

Check out the rich leather upholstry -- with piping! Then there's the nice leather-wrapped steering wheel and quality wood (look) on the dash. Finally, there's that rotary knob/touch panel interface for the navi/radio. It looks and operates just like that on Infinitis.

But where our Quest differs from other Infinitis, in general, is in the ride. I've found the ride quality on our long-term M, FX, and some G-series that I've sampled to be too firm and uncomfortable. Not so on the Quest. Although I haven't driven it on the freeway for an extended time, the ride I've experienced is silky smooth -- and like a Lexus -- not an Infiniti.

Overall, the Quest is my favorite van, so far.

And like JLo and Pitbull, it's something else that Frio and I can agree on.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ ~4,000 miles (Photo by Scott Jacobs)

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2012 Nissan ?uest LE: It's Grand

January 18, 2012


I love this tall, slab-sided mutant freak. Pathetic, I know. Fawning over a minivan is like marveling at the tax code. But I thought it was the best of the bunch when Erin wrote her minivan comparo several months ago. I don't feel much different after driving our new long-termer for the first time. The V6 and CVT are a great match. Where the Odyssey's six-speed auto is indecisive and hesitant, the Quest is linear and almost seamless. The Sienna delivers its power in pretty authoritative fashion, but still not as fluidly as the Quest.

It feels like a proper big van.

Big, tall doors that slam shut with some wallop. Wide captain's chairs that could probably benefit from slightly more bolstering. Jumbo mirrors, and a rich feeling cabin with wood inlays and quality leather. Unfortunate color, though. We will absolutely destroy these tan seats and carpet with the kids, dogs, sand, dirt, bikes and lumber that will pass through in the course of 20,000 miles.

Look forward to getting this thing on a good road trip, and see if the fold-flat seating eats as much cargo volume as the specs say. See if it's a real deal breaker.

For the longest time, I never really got Nissan. When the cool kids started swapping SR20s into their 240's, I stayed in the Honda end zone, rallying around B18C's and then the K20. You were either a front- or rear-drive guy in those days. If you were into getting sideways, you weren't in a Honda. Fast-forward to the worlds of parenting and kid-crap hauling, and I'm now a Nissan homer all day.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Stinky Feet

January 17, 2012


Following is an exact quote from a Nissan press release explaining the Nissan Quest's super fancy climate control system:

One of the most innovative and certain to be appreciated new technologies is the Quest LE's standard Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) with Plasmacluster air purifier, Grape Polyphenol Filter and auto recirculation control. The system works three ways to help reduce allergens and unwanted odors within the Quest cabin. Its automatic intake control utilizes sensors to constantly monitor outside odors and automatically closes the intake port to prevent inflow of exhaust fumes or other unpleasant smells into the interior. It then restores fresh air flow automatically when the offensive odors have passed.

The ACCS also employs a Grape Polyphenol Filter to help reduce the number of harmful allergens in the interior air. Finally, an advanced Plasmacluster purifier, generates ions to "scrub" the interior air of unwanted odors--whether they come from outside or inside the vehicle.

All I know is that everytime I see the "grape" icon appear on the instrument cluster, I smell stinky feet. It's as if feet are being scrubbed instead of unwanted odors.

Anyone else smell the smell I smell?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 4,042 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Power Third Row

January 12, 2012

 Nissan Quest power 3rd row.jpg

Our long-term 2012 Nissan Quest LE has 60/40 split power 3rd row seats. The Quest's system is a lot faster in both raising and lowering the 3rd row than on some competitors, even those with manual operation.

All versions of the Quest can quickly drop the 3rd row, but only the LE trim has one button press seat drop and power seat raise. Just press the switch in the cargo area and the seat drops instantly.  You must press and hold the adjacent switch for the seat to power up. In the video on the jump, I briefly release the switch to show that the seat will stop raising when the switch is released.

One small hiccup...  

One small hiccup in the Quest's system is that the 3rd row doesn't raise all the way up to a suitable seating position, even coming up short of vertical.  You have to pull and hold the strap to release the seatback, then adjust to the correct position with your other hand.  This isn't very convenient if your hands are full.

But the Quest's power system is way better than trying to read the tiny directions and trying to figure out which straps to pull on our long-term 2011 Toyota Sienna SE and 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring. On our Quest, you just push the buttons.

Of course, the Limited trim (only) on the Sienna offers power 3rd row seats, but even the top trim level of the Odyssey, the Touring Elite, does not offer this feature. Surprise.


 2011 Toyota Sienna 8th seat stored.jpg  

(Our long-term 2011 Toyota Sienna SE with straps)

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 3,825 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Hello, I'll Be Your Changing Table Today

January 09, 2012

2012 nissan quest diaper change

Dan Edmunds already mentioned the Quest's highish liftover/load floor, comparing it to that of a crossover. I agree. It's very crossover-like. I found this height to be particularly convenient this weekend when the cargo area became an impromptu changing table for my squirmy 16-month-old.

Cargo areas are often impromptu changing tables in my world, and the Quest's was pretty easy on my back (unlike other minivans), which is always appreciated. My personal car is a compact crossover, and it was pretty comparable to that experience.

It might be hard to tell from this photo and I didn't actually measure it, but I'm a long-torsoed 5-feet-8-inches tall, and the changing floor came up to about 6 inches below my hipline.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 3,793 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Return Trip From Oregon

January 03, 2012


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.


We fueled up in Smith River, just this side of the California border where I could pump the gas myself -- something I like to do when I'm trying to take fuel economy readings.


No trip to the California redwoods is complete without a stop at Trees of Mystery to pose with Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox, Babe.


I've seen auto-recirc systems before, but the one in the Nissan Quest works better than any I've seen. The sudsy car icon above actually represents unwanted odors outside the car that have tickled the Quest's olfactory sensors enough to engage recirc mode.

At various times during the trip it accurately sniffed out 18-wheelers and other poorly-tuned diesel contraptions on I-5, some dairy farms and those roadside cattle pens near Harris Ranch, a rusty old pickup we came up behind well before we could positively identify it as a pickup, and many others. Suffice it to say that my wife, who usually exhibits the same eagerness to stab the recirc button as she does the seat heaters, was perfectly happy to let the auto-recirc feature do its business.

As for the grapes, don't ask. Something about ions. On this point the manual reads like it was written by someone from Sedona. In any case the grape icon stayed on 100% of the time while the word "quick" came and went once in awhile. Whatever it's specific contribution, the Quest's interior environment stayed consistently pleasant for the duration.

The miles rolled on while we listened to a Terry Pratchett audiobook synched to my iPod through the Quest's excellent USB inteface. Along the way there were two more stops for gas, a couple of stretch breaks, a 2-hour visit with my wife's sister and, once we got within shouting distance of So-Cal, a dinner at In-n-Out.

In the end we made the trip home the same day with little more personal wear and tear than we started with thanks to comfy seats, a smooth and quiet ride and a willing engine and transmission. Of the three minivans in our fleet right now, this is my hands-down road-trip favorite.

But the Quest drank more than I thought it would along the way. It averaged 19.7 mpg over 2,296 miles, much of it highway. To my mind that compares poorly to the EPA rating of 19 City/24 Highway/21 Combined. This sort of trip should result in an average slightly north of EPA combined, I'd have thought.

We have a year to see if things improve on this front. And I'm not yet sure that I could live with the Quest's cargo and seat-folding strategy, either.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,363 miles 

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Oregon Day 4 - Crab Run

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.


With non-removable middle row seats that fold flat, and third row seats that fold forward to meet them at the same level, this shelf represents the overall load floor height in the Nissan Quest. Mom's crab chest fits, but the space available here feels more crossover than minivan. There is a well beneath this level, but in our Quest LE it's no more than 10 inches deep.

This is nothing like the usual minivans that have third row seats that fold back on themselves into a low well with removable middle seats and a low load floor ahead. The Nissan Quest can't touch the low liftover of something like this 2008 Honda minivan, which has tons of deep well space...


Nissan does this in order to make second row removal unnecessary (and, by design, impossible), but I don't think that's a worthwhile tradeoff. My family of four has previously been able to pack all of our luggage for a week-long summer Oregon trip in the space shown above. That's impossible in the Quest.


Meanwhile, 10 Dungeness crab + 12 people + 30 minutes = time for dessert.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

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