2011 Nissan Quest 3.5 LE:Luxurious, and more conventional

13 Jun 2011 | 2,089 views | No Comment
      By Donald Hammonds  The  first impression you have of  Nissan's all new 2011 Quest can be summed up in one word: Big. It's really not any bigger than other minivans, but the design sure makes it look more massive. It's  a square-shouldered, unapologetically masculine look that immediately sets it off from other minivans. You won't be mistaking this one for anything else.   Come to think of it, that could be said about the last generation Quest,  but that model was, well, unconventional inside and out in ways that didin't draw a lot of consumners.  We don't think that will be a worry with the new model.  It  may have a look all its own, but it's still utterly conventional and not likely to offend anyone.   The strong card of this minivan is clearly the interior.  There was plenty of room for everybody, and the third row was especially comfortable. There were no knees up in our chests, cramped hips or other issues that you often have with any product that has three rows. And we really loved the power feature of the third row which allowed you to both raise and lower them at the touch of a fingertip.  And kudos to the dual opening glass moonroof  which provided lots of fresh air and sunlight in both the front and rear sections. And it was really easy to get in and out of the second row seats, thanks to an easy entry feature and second row sliding and reclining captains chairs. In addition, the interior of the  new Quest is elegant. We had the top of the line LE model, and its interior handily topped the Toyota Sienna's top model, which seemed to have downgraded the appointments a bit in its latest version. Lovely chocolate colored piping surrounded the outside edges of the caramel hued leather seating, and the combination of aluminum, leather and chrome, along with some nice wood trim, looked terrific. The dash design with all of the tony-looking trim, looked like it came straight out of a luxury car. Of course, nothing comes cheap, and neither does this top of the line version of the Quest. The LE  has a base price of $41,350 asnd the moonroof, destination charges and other options brought the final price to $43,740. You do get a long list of standard features, including eight way power driver seat with memory function,  heated front seats, fold flat seconbd row captains chairs, a rear storage well with a spit lid which really in handy, a 13 speaker boss audio system with music box, XM satellite radio,  USB Audio interface, a navigation system, Blue Tooth rear view monitor and color display, climate control system  air filter, full power equipment such as windows and door locks,  16 bottle and cup holders, power sliding doors and other features too numerous to mention. The Quest is powered by a 3.5 liter 260 horsepower six,  which gets 19/24 miles per gallon.   Annual fuel bill is $2,142, based on 15,000 miles of driving and gasoline priced at $3.oo a gallon. The six  moves the car nicely on the highway or in urban traffic. Handling is quite composed and entertaining considering the sheer size and mass of the Quest. We think the Quest really is one of the better handling minivans on the market. Disadvantages? One concern, and this isn't limited to  Nissan and Quest, is that there are lots of good things that come on the LE that aren't available elsewhere in the Quest lineup, and that means you either pony up the extra cost or do without. This is all because manufacturers these days package things together so you end up buying stuff you might no otherwise want. Also, if  you need an eight passenger van, you'll have to look elsewhere because the Quest only holds seven. That was just fine by us, but others might disagree. We also have heard concerns that there wasn't enough storage space and places to put things, but we thought that complaint wasn't justified.  The Quest turned out to be more than adequate for our purposes. All told, the new Quest is a huge improvement and well worthy of your attention.

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