2012 Nissan Quest Long Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2012 Nissan Quest Long Term Road Test

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: She's Like Siri, Without the Creepy Auto Tune

November 08, 2012

Quest_voice recog.jpg

I volunteered to convoy with Monticello into the adult film badlands of the San Fernando Valley the other day. He needed to drop his track car at a shop for some work. We wound our way into a residential neighborhood and found the place, and when Mike disappeared around the back alley for what seemed like too long, I thought sure he was a goner. He'd either stumbled into a new career or a bad meth deal. 

I wanted no part of it and stared making tracks. The sweet Nav Lady inside the Quest asked me a series of questions in a clear, reassuring tone and calculated a route back to the office. The input and routing was pretty quick and flawless. The Quest doesn't let you input new destinations while driving, but it made more sense to speak my intentions anyway rather than peck at the dial and Enter button, even if parked. 

She wasn't quick enough, though. Monti eventually emerged, no entourage, no bloody nose, no bag of cash. Total letdown. 

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Name That Bluetooth Connection

October 21, 2012


Unless you're an automotive journalist you may not relate to this problem -- a problem that the 2012 Nissan Quest does not have, mind you. On the other hand this issue could very well be a source of frustration for those of you that own multiple vehicles from the same carmaker.

I'm talking about Bluetooth connections, and the generic and largely unchangeable names assigned to them by automakers. On you're phone you're looking for a branded Bluetooth connection name like Car Multimedia, Car Audio, BlueConnect, HandsFreeLink, Sync and others when you synch up or manage your connections. 

Such default names wind up being the same if you pair your phone to two or more vehicles of the same brand. Later on it's hard to tell which connection refers to the sedan, which one belongs to the truck.

Some carmakers -- less than 25%, I reckon -- provide a way to rename a car's Bluetooth connection so you can easily tell which connection is which when poking around on your phone. Nissan/Infiniti is one of them.

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Voice Control Saves the Day

October 15, 2012

 2012 Nissan Quest

As we've reported here, our 2012 Nissan Quest locks out nearly all functions that aren't critical to the mission of driving while the van is moving. Want to open the liftgate or either of the sliding doors? You better be stopped and in Park.

On Friday evening, I was headed home and came upon all kinds of Endeavour-related gridlock on my normal freeway route. I needed to find an alternate route on surface streets, but I moved only a few months ago and wasn't sure exactly which roads to choose. I wanted the navigation system's help, but I didn't want to pull over to get it.

So I hit the voice control button on the steering wheel.

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2012 Nissan Quest: Road Trip Notes #2

July 05, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

After Monument Valley, we headed for the nearby Grand Canyon. It's a pretty incredible sight even if you've seen it before.

Unlike southern Arizona, the higher elevations up north mean cooler temperatures, so the Quest didn't have to work as hard to stay cool like our X3. Still, the climate control in general is pretty well designed and easy to use. It's three-zone control was particularly helpful as there was often one side in the sun. 

By this time I had also come to appreciate the wireless headphones for the rear DVD system that allowed the kids to watch a movie while music plays up front. Made me wonder what I used to do in the back of our family's van on road trips all those years before DVD players.

Kelly Toeple, News Editor @ 17,863 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest: Road Trip Notes

July 03, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

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: Good Mix of Functionality

June 22, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

Although most satellite steering wheel controls do the same thing from model to model, the way in which they're arranged and their level of complexity often varies widely. I like what Nissan has done with the Quest's mix of buttons.

You get your basic volume rocker switch, a button to answer the phone and a thumb rocker to move from track to track or make a selection. Then there's the always handy "back" button and a source button to let you go from AM talk radio to FM music to iPhone podcast. That's a lot of functionality packed into a relatively small and unobtrusive space.

Ed Hellwig, Editor 

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Good Navigation Accuracy

June 21, 2012

 2012 Nissan Quest

I like the Quest's navigation system. Its interface is good, it's intuitive to use and it's got NavTraffic. Also, it's accuracy and reliability are both, in my experience at least, as good as any system sold today. 

But today I discovered some funny disclaimers Nissan includes in the Quest's manual about potential accuracy problems.

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2012 Nissan Quest: Almost Everything I Need to Know

May 08, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

I've said this about other Nissans, and I'm going to say it again about our long-term 2012 Quest: I really like how Nissan organizes and displays almost all the information I really want to know during a road trip (other than basics like vehicle speed, engine rpm, of course) on the navigation screen.

At a glance, I can see:

- where I am on the map,
- what my next turn is,
- approximately how much traffic awaits on the route,
- the miles left to my destination,
- the approximate time left to my destination,
- the current time,
- the signal strength for my Bluetooth-connected mobile phone,
- and my current radio station, CD track or other media source

There are just two other bits of infomation I'd like to see here...

I wouldn't mind seeing an approximated battery life display for my phone (other systems show this).

More importantly (and specific to my life), I'd like to see the current score and inning on the bottom of the screen when listening to a baseball game on XM radio (i.e., LAD2 SF1 T5). Mind you, I can certainly get this info if I toggle to the satellite radio menu, but one neat/nerdy convenience in our TSX wagon, was that you could watch the map on the main screen and then see the score/inning on the small audio display below the nav unit. The Acura didn't integrate all the other info I listed above as tidily as the Nissan does... so I still prefer the Quest overall. The baseball score thing is more of a would-be-nice request.

Aside, I wasn't really bothered by the Quest's shifter location during my desert getaway. Yes, in "D" it obstructs the climate control system's off button and the audio system's power/volume knob. But I never had occasion to to turn off either system during eight hours of total driving time. And to adjust the volume, I mainly used the steering wheel toggle button.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,160 miles

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: What's The Speed Limit?

May 01, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

Speed limits, in case you haven't noticed, change arbitrarily. Especially in California. One mile the limit on the freeway is 65 mph and the next it's 70. We found this was particularly true on two-lane state roads in Arizona last weekend. The limit would climb to 65 and then be back to 55. Then, heading through a roadside community, you might see 35 mph.

The Quest's nav system does a fairly reliable job of telling its driver the limit on the road they're using. Certainly it doesn't keep up in the most remote areas, but I found myself relying on it more than a few times last weekend.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor 

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Everything You Need To Know

April 30, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

We lowlanders are always baffled when our cars are slow as a result of thin air. The weekend trip involved some driving up to about 6,500 feet where the otherwise stellar Quest powertrain felt genuinely anemic. 

Fortunately, we were able to verify our suspicions that this was the case using the navigation system. Its submenu offers a feature which displays lattitude and longitude coordinates in addition to elevation in real time.


Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Remote Control Range

April 27, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest 

Stan forgot something; his trekking poles, I think. He turned around and walked back toward the 2012 Nissan Quest to go get them.

But the doors were locked because of a traumatic formative experience I suffered at age ten in the Harrah's auto museum parking lot in Reno, Nevada. Our car was robbed and Mom and Dad accused each other of leaving it unlocked. Suffice it to say I've been a chronic door-locker ever since.

A small group of us was farther up the hill than Stan. I was in no mindset to turn back because I was On My Way to the ridgetop. The remote key fob was my best hope.

It worked. The faraway warning beeps were very faint, but the door opened for Stan and he retrieved his stuff. I used the button to close it when he was done.

We continued on up the hill and got to the top a couple minutes before Stan, who was still catching up. Curious, I fished out the keys once more and tried again while we waited. 

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Getting Dirty in Tonopah

April 26, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest 

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.

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Height-Adjustable Headlights

April 25, 2012

 2012 Nissan Quest

Last night on my way home I used this switch to adjust the height of the Quest's headlight illumination pattern. I flipped it between postition "0" and position "3" and was never able to discern a difference in what I could or couldn't see.

So I performed a test when I got home. 

The below image was shot with the switch in position "3." As you can see, the arrows are aligned with the highest cutoff point of the pattern, which raises and falls from right to left.

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2012 Nissan Quest: Power Sliding Door Video

April 20, 2012

 2012 Nissan Quest

Every parent knows that the power sliding door is the second best invention in the history of mankind, television being number one.

So here's a little video of the Quest's passenger side power sliding door in action.

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2012 Nissan Quest: Power Liftgate Video

April 11, 2012

 2012 Nissan Quest

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. 

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Exhaust Gas Detection Actually Works

April 02, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

Let's get this out of the way right now: That's a diesel-powered Jeep Wrangler in front of me. Yes, diesel. It's an older model and clearly had an engine swap. Also, based on the frequency and intensity of the black exhaust pouring from its tailpipe, little care was given to the diesel engine's emissions system. Such is the curse/blessing of a diesel swap in California. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.

I followed this guy in the Quest for five or so miles down an isolated road in the Cleveland National Forest. There were no other cars on the road and we were miles from civilization. I can confirm that the van's Exhaust Gas Detection system isn't a gimmick. Every time the Wrangler driver would open the throttle, the Jeep emitted a thick stream of black soot which I intentionally drove through.

Only on one brief occassion did I detect the stench of diesel exhaust. This, I'd guess, is because the system in only active when in "auto recircluation" mode. I left it in this mode the whole time, but because the Jeep didn't spew stink the whole time, I presume the system switched to recirculation only when necessary. Could be that it requires a few seconds to react. In any case, this was an succesful showing for a system which I doubted until now.

Good work, Nissan. Now if you could do something about stink coming from inside the van.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: For Us Simple Folk

March 16, 2012

Quest daylights savings time off.jpg

Breaking news flash! Mikey was able to change the Quest's clock for Daylight Savings Time last weekend. Yes, a complete shocker.

All kidding aside, the Quest does have a neat feature for quickly and easily changing the clock the two times a year that we need to do so here in North America.

You simply hit "on" or "off" when the clock setting on the display screen prompts you about DST. 

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Rear Entertainment Review

February 24, 2012


"The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than a hundred were made. My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion."

"It is his fault he didn't lock the garage."

My daughter watched a movie (not Ferris Bueller's Day Off) on our Quest's rear-seat entertainment system (RES) earlier this week. Figured I'd follow up with a few semi-professional thoughts about how well it works.

I also reviewed our Odyssey's RES last July, so I'll be comparing the two systems quite a bit here.

Like most other rear-entertainment systems, the Quest has a fairly standard setup with a single CD/DVD player up front and a flip-down display screen for the second and third rows. It's an 11-inch screen, however, and has a better wide-screen aspect ratio than the 9-inch screen in the Odyssey. (Note that our Odyssey had the standard RES; an upgrade is also available.)

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2012 Nissan Quest: Pushing Its Buttons

February 16, 2012

 2012 Nissan Quest

It's a pretty minor thing, but I dig the push-button releases for our Quest's power sliding rear doors. One press and voila, the door opens. Granted, it's not very different than normal minivan door operation where you just pull on the handle to open the door. The Quest has that functionality, too. But the button (as does the handle) works even if the van is locked, as our Quest has the keyless ignition/entry feature (Nissan's "Intelligent Key").

If your hands are full of stuff (which is common as a parent), being able to unlock and open the sliding door just by pressing a button is a nice little touch.

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2012 Nissan Quest: Touch-Free Loading

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. 

Minivans FTW!

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Comments On Bluetooth Audio

January 31, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

Last night, while navigating menus of the Quest's Bluetooth audio system, I came to realize that there's no means to switch between playing music and listening to a podcast through the van's audio or touchscreen interface. Doing so requires picking up your audio device and swapping between sources using its menus.

At least this is the case using my iPhone 4 and its iOS 5 operating system. Nissan acknowledges this in the Quest's owners manual by saying "...it may allow basic control for playing and skipping audio files using the AVRCP Bluetooth audio profile. All Bluetooth devices do not have the same level of control for AVRCP."

Following the "menu" button at the bottom of the screen led me here:

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Too. Many. Jokes.

January 24, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

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:

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Exhaust Gas Detection Sensor

January 23, 2012

 2012 Nissan Quest

While I'm at it, I might as well point out that the Quest is also equipped with an exhaust gas detection sensor which can sniff out "industry odors such as pulp or chemicals, and exhaust gas such as gasoline or diesel," according to the owner's manual. When the system senses such stinks it automatically switches from outside air circulation to recirculation.

It works when the "Auto recirculation" button is pressed, the external temperature is above freezing and the air flow control is not in the defroster mode. I'm yet to see it in action for myself, but I've got a few ideas for its improvement which I'll share tomorrow morning.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: "Clean" or "Quick Clean?"

January 23, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

That is the question, after all. 

It's possible you're not familiar with the Quest's comprehensive filtration abilities. If that's the case, you should take a quick look at Kelly's blog which describes its features in rigorous detail. It also scoffs at Nissan's gratuitous press release on the subject, which is wholly deserving of the lampooning.

Last weekend I noticed the grape icon in the display cycling between "quick clean" and simply "clean." I figured I couldn't lose either way, but I dug out the manual anyway to investigate.

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Then I Let the Alpine Play

January 19, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest

With source, playback and preset controls framed by two knurled, faux-chrome knobs, illuminated by orange backlight, the audio unit in the Quest looks and feels like a proper old-school head unit. Like.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Nissan Quest LE: Stinky Feet

January 17, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest 

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: Return Trip From Oregon

January 03, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest 

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

2012 Nissan Quest 

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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