April 24, 2014
2011 Nissan Quest LE & 2013 Nissan Quest LE. Click image to enlarge
Review by Justin Pritchard
Vehicle Type: Minivan
History/Description: Nissan’s shot at minivans like the Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Entourage and Chrysler Magic-wagons was called the Quest. The fourth-generation model is still available for sale for model-year 2014, launched originally in 2011 after a one-year break from the market. Unique design, a proven powertrain and a distinctive look were among the ways this generation of Nissan’s family hauler set itself apart from the crowd.
Feature content included a Blind Spot Warning System, rear storage well, high-flexibility seating enabling nearly 3,400 litres of cargo space, motorized sliding doors, a household power outlet, Bluetooth, Bose audio, navigation, and more. And, since children can be smelly creatures, an air purifier and ionizer system was available to scrub offensive odors from the Quest’s cabin, too.
Other high-end features included a back-up camera, xenon HID headlamps, dual glass moonroofs, push-button start and memory seating.
Like all of its competitors, look for three rows of seating, two normal doors up front, two sliding doors in the middle, and a hatch door in the rear. Rear-seat DVD entertainment was available, as was triple-zone climate control on higher-end models.
Engines / Trim: All Quest models came the same way in the powertrain department: namely with a 3.5L V6 driving the front wheels via a Continually Variable Transmission or CVT. Trim grades saw S and SV designations applied to lower-end models, with SL and LE grades applied to top-of-the-line units. Look for cloth or leather seating, depending on your tastes.
What Owners Like: Quest owners typically rave about a spacious cabin, good on-demand power from the V6 and CVT team, refined powertrain operation, handy one-touch doors and liftgate, and distinctive styling, inside and out. Interestingly, many current-generation Quest owners say that during the test-driving and shopping process, the Quest proved appealing over the competition in terms of feature-content bang-for-the-buck and a rich-looking cabin.
What Owners Dislike: Most Quest owners who have reported their experiences online seem to love their vehicles though some wish for better fuel economy and less of a gap between the captain’s chairs for attending to infants.
Here’s a short list of autoTRADER.ca owner reviews.
The Test Drive: Start your Quest test-drive with typical minivan checks. Confirm proper operation from the motorized doors and tailgate, if equipped, ensuring each is able to open and close as expected several times with no failures. Though reports are inconclusive, these components typically tend to become problematic as the vehicle ages and wears out. If possible, avoid a model with these features all together, as they’ll eventually require repair.
2011 Nissan Quest LE. Click image to enlarge
Confirm that the tailgate, further, can stay open under its own power, even with a slight downwards tug. If not, the gas-charged struts that hold it open are likely in need of replacement. Neglect this one, and someone will be taking some liftgate to the noggin before long. Note that a power liftgate that opens, beeps and closes may be suffering from a bad sensor or in need of adjustment.
Inspect the Quest’s interior. Are the plastic panels and carpeting and seats clean and in good shape? Or worn, chewed up and encrusted with fast-food crumbs and cheerios? Note that a well cared-for vehicle will tend to appear as such on a test-drive. And, especially with the seating and entry / exit areas (cargo and door sills), scrutinize any abnormally high levels of wear and tear, calling it into pricing negotiations.
Confirm proper climate control system operation, making sure the controls for all three zones (driver, front passenger and rear) are working properly, and that both heated and air-conditioned air makes it way to each zone as expected. Triple-check for proper AC system operation, just to be safe. If not, the system will likely fail on the hottest day of summer when the offspring are extra crabby.