Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The interior of the 2011 Quest is very spacious. There is more head room, leg room, hip room (second row), shoulder room (second row), name-your-own-body-part room than the competition. I had trouble putting my left arm on the door armrest half the time, because there is so much space around me. This is extremely useful when I had to install the child seat and when we had to put our toddler into that child seat.
I also found it quite easy to move between the front row to the second and third row inside the minivan. Not that I had to, it was just a cool thing to do. The seats on the Quest SL are leather and very comfortable. I would totally take this on a road trip to Vegas. Arm rests on the driver and passenger seats as well as the second row captain’s chairs are comfortable and easy to adjust.
The second row seats also fold flat, as does the third row 60/40 split seat. The much-touted permanent rear storage under the floor was actually really handy. It was at a good load height and really spacious. Anything you put in there is hidden out of view too. I only wished Nissan had more cargo netting and dividers there, so things don’t just roll around while driving (a $95 option).
The Quest features useful steering wheel controls for the radio, Bluetooth hands free and cruise control, and for the most part the buttons on the center stack are easy to decipher and use. The only complaint I have is the location of the console-mounted gear shifter. It blocks the driver’s view of the climate controls and audio controls just to the right of the shifter. It’s an annoyance that I could not overcome in the 4 days I had the tester.
The rear entertainment system on the SL features an 11 inch monitor for DVDs, which was great for watching my favorite movie, Airplane! It does not have the optional dual screen set-up found in the Odyssey (dual input only available in the SL model), however, which would be great if you have more than one child.
The power sliding passenger doors and lift gate are awesome, and you wouldn’t understand how awesome these features are unless you have kids or love going grocery shopping. But this is standard on all minivans these days. The Quest does have the optional keyless entry system, which is not available in the Odyssey or the Sienna. This is a great feature, you can just leave your key in your pocket at all times, push a button to unlock and lock your doors, and push the start/stop button to turn on the van.
At $42,300 MSRP, the 2011 Nissan Quest 3.5 LE with the optional DVD entertainment system is priced at comparable levels to the Odyssey and a bit under the Sienna. All the specs and features are very similar in all three vans. They even have nearly identical HP, torque, and MPG numbers. The Quest gets 19 MPG city and 24 highway, and I averaged just over 19 MPG in combined driving. As far as family transport goes, there really is no other vehicle that offers as much space and convenience than a minivan. No SUV or crossover even comes close. But you have to be mentally prepared to deal with the fact that you’re marginally cooler than a school bus driver. No cool marketing with viral YouTube videos is going to change that.
The Choice is Yours
Like I was saying, there is no better family vehicle than the minivan as far as space and convenience goes. Any rational adult would have no problems choosing a minivan over a station wagon, crossover vehicle, or a SUV. But you have to be mentally prepared. Once you make the move, there is no turning back until your kids go to college. So if you are ready to make that move, your next decision is whether or not you want to blend in. There will be plenty of Town & Countrys, Grand Caravans, Siennas and Odysseys out there. Do you want to be one of them? Or do you want to be slightly different and unique? If you want to retain the last thread of individuality left somewhere inside of you, choose the Quest.
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