CarCorner Review: 2012 Nissan Quest 3.5 LE

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By Cathy Droz and Bill Zervakos –

The minivan has certainly evolved over the years, with its functionality improving and with more creative ways to stow seating and increase cargo area. But the one thing that sticks out for me, and apparently a lot of others judging by the number of comments I received, is the size. I’m not sure how it can be described with the adjective “mini” attached to it any more. The Quest is one big “mini-van.”

Redesigned for 2011, the 2012 model hasn’t changed much since last year. Trims range from the base S model to the top-of-the-line LE, which is what my tester was. The Quest is available in front-wheel drive only. There’s also only one power train setup: a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission of which the jury is still out on as far as I’m concerned.

The LE is loaded with pretty much all the bells and whistles including full power automatic sliding doors and hatch, power seats, fold flat second row captain’s chairs that slide and recline and come out when necessary for cargo area, navigation, a rear-passenger entertainment system, wood trim accents and leather seating, just to name a few. The interior does have touches of Infiniti luxury and the console even teases us with a bit of the piano dash set up that makes the ergonomics easy to use. Ironically, the only options are the floor mats. Strange isn’t it, a $41,500 base price that doesn’t include floor mats…oh well c’est la vie. The test car came in at $42,365 with destination charges. Long and short of it, the Quest LE is one very nicely appointed mini-van with lots of comfort features and pretty good looks.

Driving the Quest was not unpleasant by any means, although I am not a fan of the aforementioned CVT. But other than that, it handles well, has pretty decent acceleration and handles road conditions fairly well. I have to admit that reviewing mini-vans is a challenge for me as I have absolutely no need for one, so knowing just how functional they are in the real world is a bit of a question. I will say that moving the center captain’s chairs was no big deal and the power controlled third row is a piece of cake. That said, I don’t know how easy it is to remove the center row to add to cargo space but at least they can come out.

Summing it all up, I would say without a doubt, if you’re in the market for a “mini” van, definitely put the Quest on your list of must-drives. It is one of the best looking ones out there, if not the most functional, and of course balancing form and function is always the challenge. So if form is important, the Quest may just fill the bill.

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