The 2012 Nissan Quest continues to make the once perennial also-ran model fully competitive with the top vans in its class.
Tired of running mid-pack in the minivan race, Nissan completely reworked its Quest last year. Its predecessor's angular, avant-garde styling gave way to a tall, slab-sided design that prioritized function over form, while the interior was refined to luxury levels in the top trims. The end result is a much more appealing minivan, though the Quest still has some drawbacks.
Save for a couple of options changes, the 2012 Nissan Quest follows the same formula. A powerful V6 engine, a smooth CVT, spacious seating and quiet cabin with user-friendly technology make the Quest a comfortable carriage from which to navigate the daily hustle. With above-average handling and power delivered seamlessly upon request, the Quest even feels somewhat playful on open, bending roads.
The Quest offers such reassuring and on-demand spirited passage that you almost forgive its central weakness: It only seats seven. Instead of a small second-row center section that accommodates a third passenger, the Quest offers up two large, comfortable captain's chairs and a removable center console. And although three adults can sit in the reclining third row without much protest, the inability to drop the third row into a rear well -- as competing vans allow -- reduces cargo space and raises another consideration for shoppers. On the upside, however, the second and third rows fold forward and flat, creating a lengthy load floor without your having to remove the middle-row seats. In other words, the Quest prioritizes versatility over maximum utility.
Really, it depends on where your minivan priorities lie. The traditional titans Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna both offer eight-passenger seating and larger cargo spaces. The current-generation Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan are also notably improved and worth a look, especially since their new and more refined Stow 'n Go seating allows for versatility and maximum utility. However, if passenger comfort and overall refinement are key metrics in your minivan search, the 2012 Nissan Quest is well worth consideration.