Last sold as a 2009 model, the Nissan Quest is back as a completely redesigned 2011, going on sale early in 2011. As a full-size minivan, it competes with the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. It comes in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and LE.
The 2011 Quest is a few inches shorter from bumper to bumper than the previous generation, and its wheelbase is 6 inches shorter. The van is distinguished by black pillars that combine with tinted rear and side windows to lend a floating-roof appearance. All trim levels have a prominent chrome grille strip, chrome door handles and a spoiler atop the squared-off rear end. The base trim gets 16-inch steel wheels, the SV trim's are aluminum alloys and the two highest trim levels have 18-inch alloys.
The sliding doors have power windows, though power-sliding doors are standard on all but the base, S, trim level. Other features that are optional — or standard on higher trim levels — include a moonroof, xenon headlights, fog lights, heated side mirrors, a power liftgate and a roof rack.
The Quest seats seven, with three seats in the third row and two captain's chairs forming the second row. The captain's chairs flank a removable center console. All five seats can be folded forward to form a flat cargo floor. Because the third row folds forward rather than back, there's a deep well behind it that remains usable even when the seats are flat. A rigid cover over the well keeps the load floor continuous when the seats are lowered. In the SL and LE, the two third-row segments are spring-loaded to fold flat at the pull of a lever. A power seatback return feature is standard on the LE trim level.
Cloth seats are standard on the S and SV, and the SL and LE have leather upholstery with heated front seats and power adjustment of the driver's seat. Driver's seat-position memory and a power front passenger seat come on the LE.
The S trim level is stripped down, lacking several features that are standard on the SV, SL and LE: a backup camera, iPod connectivity and a Bluetooth hands-free phone system. Options include a navigation system, a Bose premium audio system, XM Satellite Radio and a DVD video system for the rear seats.
Under the Hood
A 253-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine powers the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
The Quest has six airbags, starting with the front pair. The front occupants get seat-mounted side-impact airbags and active head restraints. Side curtain airbags protect all three seat rows in the event of a side impact or rollover. Antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard. Safety options include a blind spot warning system.
Nissan has also enhanced the standard tire pressure monitoring system with Easy Fill Tire Alert, which flashes the hazard lamps to confirm when a tire is being filled with air, and also chirps the horn once the specified pressure is reached so you know to remove the air hose.
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