Long-Term Update 1: 2011 Nissan Quest LE
I recently took the Quest in for its first scheduled maintenance -- an oil change, tire rotation, and full inspection -- at 7500 miles, which Nissan of Thousand Oaks charged me a very reasonable $53.27 for. I also had NoTO fix a loose trim piece just aft of the quarter window near the driver door and some loose weather stripping on the same door -- both were repaired at no cost under warranty. Other than those two minor issues, the Quest has held up well and performed flawlessly thus far.
Speaking of performing, I've been enjoying the Quest's "sport" mode, i.e., the CVT's overdrive-off button. When tackling a twisty road or heading up or down a mountain pass, hitting this button spikes the tach needle right up into the 4000 to 5000-rpm range, providing plentiful passing power and right-now acceleration as well as excellent engine braking, which helps keep the four-wheel discs from getting too hot. CVTs have their benefits, and this ability to stay right in the engine's sweet spot sans any shifting or jerkiness is one of them. As far as I'm concerned, a CVT makes a lot of sense in a minivan; there's a constant smoothness to the Quest that equates to an especially pleasurable driving experience. The steering, while a tad slow on turn-in, is otherwise praiseworthy, delivering a nicely weighted linearity that makes maneuvering this 4576-pound vehicle a relative breeze. And as Nate Martinez noted of the ride after he took the Quest to San Diego for a weekend, it's very Cadillac-esque -- smooth, comfy, yet still planted.
While not the quickest minivan out there, the Quest has never made me think, "Man, this thing's slow." Thanks to the CVT, the 260-horse 3.5-liter V-6 provides a lovely rush of power under WOT and even a hint of torque steer, which I find more amusing than annoying. Zero to 60 takes a respectable 8.0 seconds, which is 0.6 slower than that of our long-term six-speed Honda Odyssey Touring Elite. But guess what? The Quest's just as quick to 60 as a VW Jetta TDI and 0.3 quicker than a Ford Focus Titanium. See, I told you it wasn't slow. Moreover, to nip the quarter mile, the Quest needs 16.1 at 90.0 mph, which is only 0.4 slower than the Odyssey (15.7 at 89.2) and, yep, speedier again than both the Jetta (16.2 at 85.1) and Focus (16.3 at 86.7).
A couple complaints I have from my recent drive time: The bottoms of the doors sit just nine inches above the ground, so parallel parking next to curbs can mean scratches or even the inability to get in or out. The 20-gallon fuel tank and 24-mpg highway rating equals a cruising range of 480 miles -- not bad but not as interstate-friendly as the Odyssey Touring's 588 miles (21-gallon tank x 28-mpg highway).
|Months/miles in service||3/9169|
|Avg econ/CO2||20.1 mpg/0.97 lb/mi|
|Energy cons||168 kW-hr/100 mi|
|Maintenance cost||$53.27 (oil change, tire rotation, inspection)|