Test Drive: 2013 Nissan Quest car test drives reviews nissan
2013 Nissan Quest LE. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2012 Chrysler Town & Country
Test Drive: 2011 Nissan Quest LE

Manufacturer’s web site
Nissan Canada

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Photo Gallery:
2013 Nissan Quest

Clearly, the Nissan Quest is an alien robot from another planet in disguise, biding its time before revealing its true form.

And what better vehicle form to take to maintain a cloak of automotive anonymity than a minivan? Okay, normally that would be true, but the Quest actually rather stands out from the minivan crowd and the soccer-mom field of blobbish, swoopy family crossovers. Aside from the Flex, nothing really breaks the mold of convention like this boxy, but highly stylized van.

It’s almost refreshing in its design, and I love the single, continuous wraparound window opening, but like so many other Nissans, the grille is an epic fail. The angles and lines just seem to fight each other and the flow of this futuristic design. It’s the only part of the van’s design that I don’t like, visually. Yes, I know, my tastes are rather strange—I’m also one of the few that finds the boxy Scion xB and Nissan’s Cube appealing.

Test Drive: 2013 Nissan Quest car test drives reviews nissan
Test Drive: 2013 Nissan Quest car test drives reviews nissan
Test Drive: 2013 Nissan Quest car test drives reviews nissan
Test Drive: 2013 Nissan Quest car test drives reviews nissan
2013 Nissan Quest LE. Click image to enlarge

Functionally, I take issue with the decidedly narrow rear door openings. I mean, this is a minivan, and the sliding doors only provide about a foot and a half of access to the cabin. It’s just odd and awkward. Given, most third row occupants will be children—and the step-in height is correspondingly low—but I still think Nissan could do better.

On the other hand, it is hard to do any better than Nissan’s folding seats. A tug and a shove, and the flick of a lever and both third and second rows fold down into a completely flat cargo bay. And by cargo bay, I don’t mean a puny little cardboard box but rather a cavernous packing crate. Of course, in the world of minivans, the Quest is actually on the small side, its 3,070 L with all seats folded down trailing the Chrysler Town & Country (4,072), Kia Sedona (4,007), Toyota Siena (4,250), and Honda Odyssey (4,205) for total cargo volume, likewise with the third row folded (1,800 L) and with all seats up (728 L compared with most other minivans managing at least 900 L).

Despite lagging behind competitors in interior volume, seating comfort won’t be an issue; third row legroom is actually a class second-best 1,029 mm and class-best in headroom at 1,015 mm and the second and front rows offer lounge-like space. Dimensionally it is similar to the other minivans so this passenger space is what eats into cargo space so dramatically.

The Quest is only available in seven-seat configuration. Our test vehicle came equipped with leather-wrapped second-row captain’s chairs that did indeed seem commanding and spacious, and well spaced for siblings in conflict for those parents that prefer not to run their family with martial authority. And of course, there is always the appeasement tactic if equipped with the DVD entertainment system.

The front seats, too, are wide and comfortable, automotive barca loungers, with adjustable armrests for optimal ergonomics. However, this being a large, wide vehicle, the centre console seemed like a bit of a stretch from the driver’s seat, having to reach past the console-mounted shifter to reach the navigation and infotainment screen controls.

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