I'm halfway through the Quest's yearlong tenure, and I just surpassed 15,000 miles. My goal is to hit 30K by the time its 12 months are up -- generally, we put 20,000 to 25,000 miles on a long-termer -- but it's not going to be easy. You see, I broke in the Quest by using it as a support vehicle on a 2800-mile, seven-day road trip with a Lotus Evora. So making up almost 3000 miles in the second half will be tough, but, hey, the Quest has the features (navigation, satellite radio, DVD entertainment, automatic climate control, power front seats) and usability (seven-passenger capacity, fold-flat second and third rows, power sliding doors and hatch) to make it happen.

Speaking of the 15,000-mile mark, the Quest was due for its second service stop, so I took it back to Nissan of Thousand Oaks for an oil change, tire rotation, full inspection, and replacement of the cabin air filter, all for $258.11. I also had the service technician diagnose an annoying rattle that was coming from the rear of the vehicle -- turns out there was a loose latch assembly in the hatch, which was tightened and fixed under warranty. Since then, I've been motoring around in quiet bliss.

Whenever I transport passengers in the Quest, one thing happens without fail: at least one seatbelt gets tangled and caught up in a locking clip, leaving about two feet of belt sitting on the floor. The locking clips look like any other locking clips, so I'm not really sure why it happens, but it does. In other safety news, I saw where the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently released its Top Safety Pick awards for five minivans. Sadly, the Quest was not one of them, due to an "acceptable" (and not a "good") rating for the rollover test. The rollover test measures roof strength and to earn a good rating, IIHS requires that a roof have a strength-to-weight ratio of four (withstanding four times a vehicle's weight before the roof caves in five inches). The Quest's? A quasi-close 3.36. "Top Safety Pick" minivans included the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna, and the Chrysler trio (Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, and Volkswagen Routan). IIHS noted that the Chrysler minivans all underwent roof structure enhancements for 2012 (as you can imagine, top safety scores matter to minivan buyers), so I expect Nissan to make similar enhancements on the Quest, probably for a 2013 model year refresh.


2011 Nissan Quest LE
Months/miles in service 6/15,236
Avg econ/CO2 19.7 mpg/0.98 lb/mi
Energy cons 191 kW-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $311.38 (2-oil change, tire rotation, inspection; 1-replace cabin air filter)
Normal-wear cost $0