The number of manufacturers competing in the minivan market has decreased in recent years but the competition is still tough. Virtually all of the current minivans have been updated in the past year, and it is clear that they are trying to listen to what families need in a family hauler.
The Nissan Quest is a strong competitor in the minivan segment and was completely redesigned for the 2011 model year. My family and I spent a week with the Quest as we learned all about the features it has to offer to keep both parents and children happy.
Nissan Quest – Safety
The most important component in a minivan for our family is safety and Nissan has listened to what families think is important to families on many fronts including safety. For example, they have built a van that earned top marks in the IIHS crash tests. Safety features include side curtain head airbags for all three rows as well as torso airbags in the front seats for all trim levels. An interesting safety feature that is included is a sensor for when you are filling the tires with air. On the Quest, the horn will honk once the appropriate pressure has been achieved.
Nissan Quest – Comfort
The Quest excels at interior comfort and at making family road travel enjoyable. We found the 7 person capacity of the Quest to be very comfortable. The front and 2nd row captains chairs are supportive and accommodating. If you have two car seats installed in the 2nd row, then the center console in the 2nd row can be removed for easy access to the 3rd row. The third row feels spacious even for tall passengers because the side walls of the van don’t slope in very much.
Extra Features on the Nissan Quest
My son sure loved the rear entertainment system which features an 11 inch screen and my husband and I certainly appreciated the wireless headsets that allow the children to listen to the movie while parents enjoy their own music or conversations. On the top of the line Quest, the Bose stereo sounded great with a variety of music types that we enjoy. Of the minivans I’ve looked at, including the top of the line Honda Odyssey Touring Elite, I found that the Quest Bose stereo sounds the best.
Available on all trim levles, Nissan’s Advanced Climate Control System does a great job of keeping the van smelling fresh when it detects odors in the air. The system does this in two ways. First, once and odor is recognized outside the van, it shuts down the airflow into the van. Then, the system uses a filter to decrease the allergens in the air and an ion generator to eliminate the odors. This sort of system is usually included in luxury car models and truly made traveling in the Quest more enjoyable, especially when we had take out food or sports gear in the van
Another feature that is very handy and available on some of the trim models is the keyless entry system. This feature is not currently available on all of the Quest’s competitors but it sure makes loading children and groceries a lot easier especially when combined with the power sliding doors.
Cargo space and storage is always important in a minivan. The Quest approaches these two components a little bit differently than some minivans. First, the Nissan has added covers for the trunk well area that is located behind the 3rd row. The covers are handy for storing items that you may not want visible from outside the van. What’s even better is that these covers can be removed or stowed if you need to use the space for items that won’t fit under the covers. The Quest offers 3rd row and 2nd row seats that fold flat while many minivans have 3rd row seats that stow into the rear well.
There are certainly pros and cons to both systems. The seats that stow into the well require that the well be empty and emptying that area each time the seats need to be stowed can be a hassle. The downside to having the seats folded down is that they occupy some of the cargo space which decreases the overall cargo volume on the Quest. Since the 2nd row seats also fold down instead of having the ability to remove them entirely, it will also decrease on the amount of hauling space available.
Car Seat Installation
As far as car seat installation goes, I found the two captains chairs to be easy for seat installation. I tried a combination of rear facing, forward facing, and booster seats and didn’t have a problem getting acceptable installations. The 3rd row could have more seat incompatibilities because of the location of the buckle stalks. The Quest has the buckle stalks a few inches up above the seat bight. Also important to note, the Quest has three sets of LATCH anchors and and 4 top tethers.
Overall, we enjoyed our week with the Quest. While it has its quirks, it also has plenty features that make travel with family as easy and enjoyable as possible.