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    2012 Nissan Quest LE



    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    August 21, 2012

    One nameplate that has seen its share of ups and downs in Nissan’s lineup is the Quest. Introduced back in 1993 as a contender in the Minivan marketplace, the Quest came out of partnership between Nissan and Ford. For nine years, the Quest enjoyed success as being an alternative to the stalwarts of the class; the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager.

    When it came time to introduce the next Quest, Nissan went down a very different path. Arriving in 2003, the second generation Quest did ‘shift’ what a minivan could be. The styling was out there for a van, looking like Nissan asked a group of art school students to design a production-ready van. Even more surprising was how much fun the Quest was to drive. Hampered by its unusual looks, the second-generation Quest didn’t do well in sales and Nissan pulled it off the market in 2009.

    So that brings us to the third-generation Quest. Introduced last year, the new Nissan Quest takes another try with an unconventional look. The question is, will it work?

    Next: Step Outside


    Exterior

    The Nissan Quest’s design is very distinctive from its contemporaries, looking like Nissan imported one of its vans from Japan. Well, that is what Nissan is doing with the Quest; an Americanized version of the Japanese market Elgrand van.

    Starting with the front end, Nissan wisely decided to remove the chromed-out front end on the Elgrand and go for a pentagonal grille, with chrome trim running around the perimeter. Nissan also swapped out the huge stacked headlights and went for a set of projector headlights.

    gallery_10485_458_423341.png

    The side profile of Quest features wrap-around glass running from the front door all the way to the tailgate. The glass helps disguise the B, C, and D-Pillars. There are also two character lines; one starting from where the hood and front end meet to the front door and other starting from the taillights and running along the sliding door. Finally, Nissan fitted ground effects and a set of seventeen-inch alloy wheels.

    gallery_10485_458_149002.png

    The back end of Quest drops Elgrand’s full length taillights. Instead, Nissan goes for a regular pair of taillights which are separated by a chrome bar that hides the release for the power tailgate.

    gallery_10485_458_94459.png

    Next: Come On In


    Interior

    The seating arrangement is the Quest’s strongest and weakest point. Up front, driver and passenger are seated in leather-wrapped, heated, and powered seats. (Driver gets eight-way with memory, passenger gets four-way). For the second row, it’s a set of captain chairs that can recline and move forward and back to make yourself comfortable. The third row is a bench seat which can fit three kids or two adults. Headroom is very generous due to high roof. Legroom is very good for the first two rows. In the third row, legroom can vary due to how far the second row seats are set back. Adults can sit back here comfortably if the seats are set all the way forward or have been pushed back slightly. If the seats are pushed all the way back, then it’s really only comfortable for kids.

    gallery_10485_459_722172.png

    Nissan has also outfitted the backseat area with some surprising luxuries. For starters, passengers sitting back have their own control for the HVAC system, power windows for the second row, and pull-up shades for the second and third-row windows.

    However, the seating arrangement also highlights the Quest’s biggest weakness, cargo space.

    gallery_10485_458_10813.png

    *Underfloor Luggage area is included in the Quest’s measurement

    With all of the seats up, the Quest is right behind the Odyssey and Sienna in cargo space. But when it comes time to load up more cargo, the Quest loses big time. The reason is due to the second and third row seats being permanently locked in, meaning you can’t take the seats out of the Quest or fold them into the floor. The only thing you can do to the seats is to fold them down.

    Materials used throughout ranged from leather on the door pulls, soft touch materials on the dash, and hard plastics on the non-touch point. All of the materials look like they belong on a $43,000 minivan. Build quality is very high with no gaps nor pieces coming apart.

    gallery_10485_459_874422.png

    One item that drove me crazy during the week I had the Quest was the placement of the shifter. Nissan places the right next to the controls for the HVAC and Radio. Put the Quest into drive, and the shifter blocks your view of the controls and forces you to reach around to get to them.

    For your entertainment, the Quest LE comes equipped with a 4.3-inch touchscreen that provides navigation, car information, and AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3/USB/Bluetooth. All of that audio comes out a 13-speaker Bose system which fills the car with very good sound quality. Back seat passengers can watch a movie on a DVD entertainment system which includes an 11-inch screen and wireless headphones.

    Next: Vroom, Vroom


    Engine

    The Quest comes with only one powertrain; a 3.5L VQ V6 producing 260 HP and 240 lb-ft of torque. That power is sent to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT transmission which is then routed to the front wheels.

    gallery_10485_459_1124136.png

    For a van that tips the scales at 4,568 lbs, the 3.5L V6 had no problem of getting up to speed at all. Whenever you needed the power to leave a stop or make a pass, the 3.5L was always at the ready. As for the CVT, it was a good partner to the 3.5L. The CVT made sure you are always in the power and provided a nice smoothness.

    Fuel economy for the 3.5L is 19 City/24 Highway/21 combined. Our average for the week was 21.3 MPG, mostly on highway and rural roads.

    Next: Time to Drive


    Ride & Drive

    The Quest’s ride is comfortable and confident, thanks in part to the Quest’s independent four-wheel suspension made up of MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link setup in the back. Even driving on some back roads which haven’t been paved in a while, the Quest’s suspension isolated the bumps and ruts very well. As for sound insulation, the Quest does a good job of minimizing the amount of road and wind noise. Engine noise is also kept to a minimum.

    gallery_10485_459_372474.png

    Steering comes in the form of a speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack and pinion setup. The setup provides the right amount of weight for the situation and good road feel.

    Visibility is very good for the front and side of the Quest. Rear visibility is tricky due to large D-Pillars. Thankfully, Nissan fits a rear-view camera as standard equipment on the Quest ranging from the top of the line LE to the mid-level SV. One item I wish Nissan would fit on to the Quest is its around-view system, which provides views of the sides and back. Not only would the system make it easier to backup, but also would add a measure a safety when backing out of certain situations, like a family gathering.

    Next: The Verdict


    Verdict

    The Nissan Quest dares to be different in the minivan class and it mostly pays off. The interior and the appointments place the Quest at the top of the class. Plus, the 3.5L V6 and Xtronic CVT make the Quest a pleasure to drive.

    But the Quest does have a big flaw. Due to the seats being permanently locked in place, the cargo capacity is severely limited. This could be a deal breaker for most buyers since you lose out on a good amount of cargo space because you cannot take them out of the vehicle. Other competitors offer much more space because you can either remove or fold the seats into the floor.

    The Quest is the best in class if your primary concern is to have the most luxuries in a minivan. If luxury isn’t your primary concern, look to another van.

    gallery_10485_459_37419.png

    Cheers

    Interior

    Interior Features

    Powertrain

    Ride

    Jeers

    Cargo Space

    Placement of the shifter

    Disclaimer: Nissan provided the vehicle, insurance, and one tank of gas

    Year - 2012

    Make – Nissan

    Model – Quest

    Trim – LE

    Engine – 3.5L VQ V6

    Driveline – Front Wheel Drive, Xtronic CVT

    Horsepower @ RPM - 260 @ 6000

    Torque @ RPM – 240 @ 4400

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/24/21

    Curb Weight – 4568 lbs

    Location of Manufacture – Kyushu, Japan

    Base Price - $41,350.00

    As Tested Price - $43,715.00 (Includes $810.00 Destination Charge)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears and a connoisseur of minivans. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Great. A big, expensive, heavy tub with puny cargo space. Yeah, I know the Quest is designed more as a luxurious people mover but...oh, forget it. The minivan market left me in the dust awhile back. I loved my '89 Grand Caravan LE that weighed 3200 lbs. The second and third row seats were easy to remove and you could hall a small mansion's worth of crap back there. It was comfy and reasonably zippy. We replaced it with a '96 Voyager SE (SWB) which was similarly comfy and practical, though it weighed about 300 lbs more than the '89 had. Sorry, who wants to hear my history? C'mon gramps, get with the program. Well, suffice it to say that I don't think there's anything "mini" about today's minivans; they're huge barges and they're spendy.

    P.S. Nice review, Mr. Malley. Sorry I blew up.

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    Over all a great review on this minivan, as a people mover especially for those that love all auto's Asian this will sell.

    Interior I like except for the placement of the shifter, same bloody place in the last two versions and I hated it then.

    Exterior, I am glad you showed it besides the Japan version as I love the Japan version, they should have sold it as is here. I think they watered the body down for America. Why? What makes them think we are more conservative than Japan when it comes to design?

    Over all great review, Interior is nice except for the cargo space and shifter and exterior body get a thumb down for me. This is a deal breaker as the styling is just blaw!

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    I still want to drive one to experience it. My guess is that it is the most luxurious feeling and driving of the Mini-van crowd. Yes you can load a Sienna up, but a lot of the materials other than seating surfaces in the Sienna are cheapo carry over from the base model.

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      View full article
    • By William Maley
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      Make: Kia
      Model: Optima
      Trim: SXL
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 245 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,350-4,000 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/32/25
      Curb Weight: 3,594 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: West Point, Georgia
      Base Price: $35,790
      As Tested Price: $36,615 (Includes $825.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      N/A
    • By William Maley
      Most luxury SUVs will never go fully off-road. The closest they’ll ever get is driving down a gravel road. But that doesn’t mean some automakers aren’t filling them with the latest off-road for that one person who decides to. Case in point is the LX 570. Lexus’ variant of the Toyota Land Cruiser has been updated inside and out to try and draw buyers away from the usual suspects in the class.
      For 2016, Lexus has softened the LX’s boxy-shape with some rounded edges and more imposing fenders. The front grille has grown in size to match other Lexus vehicles, though to our eyes it looks more like the head from a Cylon in the 1980’s Battlestar Galactica tv show. The rear features new taillights and a reshaped tailgate. The interior has somehow become more opulent since the last LX we drove. A new dash design features real wood trim and more soft-touch materials. Our tester featured leather upholstery that can be described as red-orange. At first, I thought it was a bit much. But over the week I grew to like the color as it adds some personality. Sitting in either the front or second-row seats of the LX is a pleasant experience. There is plenty of head and legroom for both rows, along with heat. Front seats also get ventilation as standard. The third-row seat is a bit of joke. Getting back there in the first place is quite difficult due to the small gap when you move the second-row forward. Once back there, you find legroom is almost negligible. Finally, the way the third row folds up by side walls and not into the floor hampers cargo space - only offering 41 cubic feet. Lexus’ Remote Touch interface has arrived in the LX this year with a gargantuan 12.3-inch screen sitting on top of the dash. On the plus side, the screen is vibrant and easy to read. The negative is the remote touch controller as you’ll find yourself choosing the wrong function because the controller is very sensitive to inputs. Power comes from 5.7L V8 with 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel drive system. On paper, the V8 should move the LX 570 with no issue. But a curb weight of 6,000 pounds negates this. Performance can be described as ho-hum as it takes a few ticks longer to get up to speed. At least the eight-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator and quick to respond when you stab the throttle. The LX 570 is chock full of clever off-road tech such as crawl control, hill start assist, 360-degree camera system, and multi-terrain select system that optimizes various parts of the powertrain and four-wheel drive system. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to put any of these to the test. No matter the condition of the road, the LX 570 provides a smooth and relaxing ride. Impressive when you consider the LX is riding on a set of 21-inch wheels. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. Lexus added a set of adaptive dampers for the 2016 LX and you can adjust the firmness via a knob in the center console - Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. The dampers do help reduce body roll in corners, giving you a little bit more confidence. Steering is what you would expect in an SUV, light and numb. This makes the LX a bit cumbersome to move in certain places such as a parking lot. Compared to the last LX 570 we drove, the 2016 model has gone up in price. Base price now stands at $88,880 and our as-tested price comes in at $96,905. This one feels a bit a more worth of price tag that Lexus is asking for, but I still think a Cadillac Escalade or Range Rover are slightly better in terms of value. If you’re planning a trip to Death Valley or the Rocky Mountains and want something that can you there and back, along with providing all of the luxuries, look no further than the LX. Otherwise, there are a number of other luxury SUVs that make more sense if you’re planning to stay on the pavement. Year: 2016
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LX 570
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 383 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 403 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15
      Curb Weight: 6,000 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japn
      Base Price: $88,880
      As Tested Price: $96,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Mark Levinson Audio System - $2,150.00
      Dual-Screen DVD Rear-Seat Entertainment System - $2,005.00
      Luxury Package - $1,190.00
      Heads-Up Display - $900.00
      Cargo Mat, Net, Wheel Locks, & Key Glove - $250.00
      All-Weather Floor Mats - $165.00
      Heated Black Shimamoku Steering Wheel - $150.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00

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    • By William Maley
      Most luxury SUVs will never go fully off-road. The closest they’ll ever get is driving down a gravel road. But that doesn’t mean some automakers aren’t filling them with the latest off-road for that one person who decides to. Case in point is the LX 570. Lexus’ variant of the Toyota Land Cruiser has been updated inside and out to try and draw buyers away from the usual suspects in the class.
      For 2016, Lexus has softened the LX’s boxy-shape with some rounded edges and more imposing fenders. The front grille has grown in size to match other Lexus vehicles, though to our eyes it looks more like the head from a Cylon in the 1980’s Battlestar Galactica tv show. The rear features new taillights and a reshaped tailgate. The interior has somehow become more opulent since the last LX we drove. A new dash design features real wood trim and more soft-touch materials. Our tester featured leather upholstery that can be described as red-orange. At first, I thought it was a bit much. But over the week I grew to like the color as it adds some personality. Sitting in either the front or second-row seats of the LX is a pleasant experience. There is plenty of head and legroom for both rows, along with heat. Front seats also get ventilation as standard. The third-row seat is a bit of joke. Getting back there in the first place is quite difficult due to the small gap when you move the second-row forward. Once back there, you find legroom is almost negligible. Finally, the way the third row folds up by side walls and not into the floor hampers cargo space - only offering 41 cubic feet. Lexus’ Remote Touch interface has arrived in the LX this year with a gargantuan 12.3-inch screen sitting on top of the dash. On the plus side, the screen is vibrant and easy to read. The negative is the remote touch controller as you’ll find yourself choosing the wrong function because the controller is very sensitive to inputs. Power comes from 5.7L V8 with 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel drive system. On paper, the V8 should move the LX 570 with no issue. But a curb weight of 6,000 pounds negates this. Performance can be described as ho-hum as it takes a few ticks longer to get up to speed. At least the eight-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator and quick to respond when you stab the throttle. The LX 570 is chock full of clever off-road tech such as crawl control, hill start assist, 360-degree camera system, and multi-terrain select system that optimizes various parts of the powertrain and four-wheel drive system. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to put any of these to the test. No matter the condition of the road, the LX 570 provides a smooth and relaxing ride. Impressive when you consider the LX is riding on a set of 21-inch wheels. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. Lexus added a set of adaptive dampers for the 2016 LX and you can adjust the firmness via a knob in the center console - Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. The dampers do help reduce body roll in corners, giving you a little bit more confidence. Steering is what you would expect in an SUV, light and numb. This makes the LX a bit cumbersome to move in certain places such as a parking lot. Compared to the last LX 570 we drove, the 2016 model has gone up in price. Base price now stands at $88,880 and our as-tested price comes in at $96,905. This one feels a bit a more worth of price tag that Lexus is asking for, but I still think a Cadillac Escalade or Range Rover are slightly better in terms of value. If you’re planning a trip to Death Valley or the Rocky Mountains and want something that can you there and back, along with providing all of the luxuries, look no further than the LX. Otherwise, there are a number of other luxury SUVs that make more sense if you’re planning to stay on the pavement. Year: 2016
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LX 570
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 383 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 403 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15
      Curb Weight: 6,000 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japn
      Base Price: $88,880
      As Tested Price: $96,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Mark Levinson Audio System - $2,150.00
      Dual-Screen DVD Rear-Seat Entertainment System - $2,005.00
      Luxury Package - $1,190.00
      Heads-Up Display - $900.00
      Cargo Mat, Net, Wheel Locks, & Key Glove - $250.00
      All-Weather Floor Mats - $165.00
      Heated Black Shimamoku Steering Wheel - $150.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00
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