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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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    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
    • By William Maley
      Three years might not seem like a long time. But in the automotive industry, it is an eternity. In that short amount time, a vehicle may be surpassed by competitors and sales may take a dive. Take for example the Nissan Altima. When the redesigned model was launched back in 2013, it was considered to be above-average and some key advantages over rivals. But time has passed and the Altima has been surpassed in a number of key areas by refreshed/redesigned competitors. Nissan knew they needed to do something to get the Altima back in contention. Last year, they introduced a refreshed Altima that would hopefully give them a fighting chance in the class. Let's see if it does.
      If you were expecting some big changes to the Altima’s exterior in this mid-cycle refresh, then you’ll be disappointed. The front end features a new V-shaped grille and revised headlights to bring the model in line with the current Nissan design language. Updated taillights and new wheel choices finish off the changes. The interior is mostly left alone in this refresh aside from some new choices of trim pieces. That isn’t a bad thing as the Altima’s interior is a nice place to be in with ample space for passengers, a fair amount of soft-touch materials used throughout, and a simple dash layout. 
      One item we do wish Nissan would have addressed in this refresh is the NissanConnect infotainment system. All Altimas come with a five-inch touchscreen as standard, while our SL tester featured the optional seven-inch screen. This system has a number of issues ranging from an interface that makes it look older than it really is to the system crashing our iPod on a regular basis. More worrying was the system crashing and rebooting twice during our week-long test. It would be nice for Nissan to take the system out of the Maxima and Murano and put it into the rest of their lineup as it doesn’t have the issues listed here.
      Under the hood of the Altima are the same engines that have powered it since 2013. Our Altima SL tester came with the standard 2.5L four-cylinder with 183 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.5L V6 with 270 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. No matter which engine you pick, a Xtronic CVT routes the power to the front wheels. The 2.5 does quite well around town as the engine gets up to speed at a decent rate. Getting onto the highway is another story as you’ll need to almost floor the gas pedal to get up to speed at a somewhat decent rate. This also brings forth an abundance of engine noise, something we complained about in our 2014 Nissan Altima SL review. At least the Xtronic CVT is responsive when you step on the accelerator and the illusion of the stepped gears can make most buyers believe they’re driving an automatic.
      The EPA rates the Altima’s fuel economy at 27 City/39 Highway/31 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 31.7 MPG.
      The Altima’s ride and handling characteristics are in the middle. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up most bumps, but some larger ones will make their way inside. The recently redesigned Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Passat do a better job in this regard. In the bends, the Altima feels composed and shows little body roll. But the steering is way too light and doesn’t offer enough feel to feel sporty. If you want that, a Mazda6 or Ford Fusion should be on the list.
      How do you sum up the 2016 Nissan Altima? It is a competent midsize sedan. But competent isn’t a strong selling point to a midsize sedan as you can apply to any model in the class. What you need is something that makes your model stand out whether in terms of design or features. The Altima doesn’t have anything like that.
      Picking the Altima may be the safe choice, but it be might a choice you regret.
      Disclaimer: Nissan Provided the Altima, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Nissan
      Model: Altima
      Trim: 2.5 SL
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Xtronic CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 182 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 180 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/39/31
      Curb Weight: 3,254 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Smyrna, TN
      Base Price: $28,570
      As Tested Price: $32,115 (Includes $835.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Technology Package - $1,700
      Moonroof Package - $800.00
      Carpeted Floormats and Trunk Mat - $210.00

      View full article
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