2016 Quest New Car Test Drive
The Nissan Quest fights minivan dullness with satisfying road manners and rewarding driving traits. Passengers will like the Quest's smooth ride, while drivers will appreciate its performance and steering response, and owners will appreciate its fuel economy.
Performance benefits from Nissan's 3.5-liter V6, matched well with a responsive continuously variable transmission. Responsive CVT is considered an oxymoron, but Nissan has some of the best CVTs on the market. The transmission incorporates some pre-programmed virtual shift points, to reduce any rubbery response, which has been the bane of some CVTs. All models are front-wheel drive.
On the whole, the powertrain doesn't struggle or complain. In fact, the entire setup feels quite peppy while propelling such a big vehicle.
Steering delivers good feedback to the driver, while body roll is better curtailed than in other large minivans. Simply put, Quest may offer the best handling among minivans.
Space utilization is disappointing, however. Front-seat passengers get sufficient leg and head room, as well as storage for small items. But sliding side doors don't open wide enough to easily accept large people or objects. A Quest seats only seven passengers, while most rival minivans seat up to eight, though that won't matter to buyers who want a seven-seater. The second-row seats fold forward, but doesn't disappear into the floor and is not removable. The third-row seat does fold flat, but remains in place.
Cargo space totals 35 cubic feet behind the third-row seats, 108 cubic feet with all rear seats folded down, and 64 with the back row folded. Most rival models top 140 cubic feet.
Many consider Quest design to be more adventurous than that of other minivans, helped by an abundance of flared lines up front. At Quest's no-pillar greenhouse and near-vertical tail, there's a similarity to the Ford Flex crossover SUV.
This fourth-generation Quest was introduced as a 2010 model. There are no significant changes for 2016.
Despite family-friendly intentions, safety ratings fall below average. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Quest Good crash-test ratings for front and side impacts, but Acceptable for roof crush. In the small-overlap crash, Quest was among the worst they'd observed.
The 2016 Nissan Quest is available in four trim levels. Quest S comes with power air conditioning but lacks satellite radio, rearview camera, or Bluetooth.
Quest SV includes Bluetooth, USB port, rearview camera, power sliding doors, a 4.3-inch LCD audio display, and automatic climate control.
Quest SL upgrades with leather seating, power front passenger seat, power liftgate, heated front seats, heated mirrors, automatic headlights, and 18-inch wheels. Quest Platinum adds satellite radio, a navigation system, power third-row seat, DVD entertainment with 11-inch screen, and xenon headlights.
Safety features include a full complement of airbags, stability control. Extra-cost safety features include a rearview camera (standard on the top three trim levels), a 360-degree AroundView camera and blind-spot monitoring.