Long Term Arrival: 2011 Nissan Quest LE
Prior to 2011, Nissan pledged allegiance to U.S. production of its Quest minivan. The first two generations, offered from 1993 until 2002, were manufactured alongside the Mercury Villager at Ford's Avon Lake, Ohio, assembly plant. After the Nissan-Mercury deal dissolved, Nissan moved production to its Canton, Mississippi, facility, which churned out third-gen Quests from 2004 to 2009. But while U.S. production helped Americanize the Quest, Nissan never saw big sales returns, mostly due to vans that were either too small or too weird.
For Gen 4, Nissan is rewriting the formula. In an attempt to make the Quest more suitable for the U.S., Nissan has moved production to -- somewhat ironically, really -- Kyushu, Japan, where the seven-passenger van is built alongside the JDM Elgrand upon which it's based. The Quest is considerably larger than its JDM sibling, and is dimensionally comparable with the segment's big three -- longer than Sienna, narrower than Town & Country, and taller than Odyssey. The Quest now looks like a legitimate, sizeable option for American soccer moms and baseball dads. Power is segment-competitive, too, thanks to a 3.5-liter V-6 cranking out 260 hp and 240 lb-ft.
Knowing I'd be spending a full year with the Quest, I opted for the big-bucks $42,150 LE, which comes standard with just about everything a minivan worshipper could want: leather trim; 13-speaker Bose audio with XM satellite, USB interface, and aux inputs; Bluetooth; backup camera; six airbags; blind-spot warning; DVD entertainment with 11-inch screen; Intelligent Key with pushbutton start; one-touch power sliding doors and hatch; power, heated front-row seats; fold-flat second and third rows; 16 cupholders; one 120V and two 12V power outlets; HID headlamps; and 18-inch alloy wheels. You name it, the Quest's got it. One big option ($1350 dual glass power moonroof) and two small ones ($110 splash guards, $180 floormats) upped the total price to $43,790 -- a lot of moolah for a minivan, but still $545 less than our comparably equipped Honda Odyssey Touring Elite.
Whether it's as excellent as the perennially top-rated Odyssey is something we plan to find out over the next year.
|Price as tested||$43,790|
|Vehicle layout||Front engine, FWD, 7-pass, 4-door van|
|Engine||3.5L/260-hp/240-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|Transmission||Cont variable auto|
|Curb weight (f/r dist)||4576 lb (55/45%)|
|Length x width x height||200.8 x 77.6 x 71.5 in|
|0-60 mph||8.0 sec|
|Quarter mile||16.1 sec @ 90.0 mph|
|Braking, 60-0||132 ft|
|Lateral acceleration||0.74 g (avg)|
|MT figure eight||29.1 sec @ 0.56 g (avg)|
|EPA city/hwy fuel econ||19/24 mpg|
|Energy cons, city/hwy||177/140 kW-hrs/100 mi|
|CO2 emissions||0.93 lb/mi|
|Total mileage||3150 mi|
|Average fuel econ||21.1 mpg|