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Motoring: Nissan completes its Quest to improve

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | November 14th, 2011

In the world of the minivan, the Nissan Quest has made very little impact. The first generation was a bit too small, and the second-generation model looked weird and wasn't very nice to drive.

However, what turned me off most about the Quest was not its styling, size nor its silly centerstack instrument binnacle. No, what turned me off was the quality. The Quest sadly had the build quality comparable to the worst an American manufacturer would normally put out, so to see this type of sad quality on a Japanese vehicle was just not right.

Thankfully, Nissan has woken up and has addressed the issues regarding the Quest with their completely new 2012 model. Is it any good? Let's find out.

Let's start off with the styling. For starters, this third-generation Quest looks much more mainstream than the last Quest, and it manages to look quite handsome. I like the way this new Quest looks. Thank you Nissan for making a minivan that looks attractive.

Thanks also goes to them for finally fixing the interior. The old Quest interior looked like a bad extra from a Star Trek movie; nothing looked right and the quality was horrendous. Now the quality is much, much better, and better still, the interior now looks modern and the instrument binnacle has finally been put where it belongs, behind the steering wheel (not the middle of the dash). Occupants will also be happy with the space inside; this is a really roomy vehicle.

The 2012 Quest looks better and has a much-improved interior, but does it drive any better?

Well, as far as power is concerned, not much has changed there. It still has a 3.5-litre V6 engine, but now it produces 260 hp, and is mated with a CVT automatic gearbox, driving the front wheels. Normally I hate CVT gearboxes, but this one seems to work very well and feels much more like a normal automatic. Bravo Nissan for finally making a CVT gearbox that works.

They have also worked on the chassis, so the new Quest rides a lot better than the old one did. Handling has also improved, and thanks to its extra degree of turn at full lock, this minivan has an amazing turning circle. Parking this minivan is actually fun because of its tight turning radius. This minivan drives very much like a car, which is a huge compliment for this class of vehicles.

How does it compare to its rivals? The Quest now has power windows in the rear doors, which is a good feature, but while some rivals have all the seats fold into the floor, in the Quest, only the rear bench folds into the floor.

What about fuel economy? A family vehicle gets driven a lot, so will it hurt the bank? Thankfully, the Quest is actually quite frugal; I averaged 12.5-litres/100km, which means it is better than most of its competition.

It's priced well, too, starting at $29,998, however the fully loaded model is a whopping $48,578.

So to cap it all off, the new Quest is much improved over the old one. If you were put off by the Quest the last time you bought a minivan, its time now to take a look at it again. It might just be what you're looking for.
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