The 2016 Nissan Quest minivan leaves us hungry. Despite its family intentions, the Quest’s safety ratings are below average and its seating system is the least flexible on the market. It’s more rewarding to drive than its competition, but the Quest remains a difficult vehicle to recommend in this segment.
Depending on your expectations, you might find the Quest’s design a bit more adventurous than other vans. With an upright stance and lots of flared lines up front, the Quest’s straight-edged passenger box looks more like the Ford Flex, mainly its pillarless greenhouse and nearly vertical tail. The interior is more formal and less risky, with woodgrain trim on a plain dashboard that stacks some controls in counterintuitive places. Audio buttons and switches, for example, are grouped in two locations, some to the right of the shifter, halfway out of sight.
The Quest’s use of space is disappointing. It’s still a big vehicle in the larger scheme, and front passengers won’t be short of legroom or headroom, or for storing small items. From there, the Quest slips behind other minivans, first with sliding side doors that don’t open enough to load large people or objects. Second, it can only accommodate seven people while most of its rivals can accommodate up to eight. The second row seats fold forward, but do not disappear into the floor and cannot be removed. The third row seat also folds flat, but stays in place while the third row seat of each van folds down to create a flat cargo floor. A lot of usable space is wasted in the process, and in a type of vehicle that prioritizes seats, space, and safety, that’s a bummer. In all, the Quest has 35 cubic feet behind its third row seats, 64 cubic feet with the third row folded down and 108 cubic feet with the second row folded down. Most competitors exceed 140 cubic feet.
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Performance? It is a strong moment. A 3.5-liter V6 mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is the Quest’s only powertrain. It doesn’t growl as much here as it does in other Nissan’s, and that’s pretty cheerful for such a big vehicle. The steering has good feedback, the CVT has programmed “shift” points to reduce the generally rubbery response, and the body roll is more tempered than in other large vans. Overall, the Quest has the best handling of its kind, which follows its slightly more compact footprint.
Security and functionality are areas where the Quest just doesn’t compete. The IIHS says the Quest gets “Good” ratings for frontal and side impacts, but gives it “Acceptable” ratings for roof crash and marks its “Poor” performance in a small overlap collision as one of the worst the agency has seen.
The base minivan comes with the usual airbags and stability control, but all-wheel drive isn’t offered, and to get Bluetooth and a backup camera, essential safety features, we think you’ll need to spend around $ 31,000. $. With the main options — power side doors and power tailgate, leather, satellite radio and DVD entertainment system — it’s possible to spend over $ 44,000 on the Nissan minivan.
The CVT helps make the Quest one of the most fuel efficient minivans on the market. The Quest offers EPA fuel economy ratings of 20 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined. The combined number corresponds to the new Chrysler Pacifica in combined mpg.