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The bold and exciting Nissan JUKE Sport Cross has distinctive concept-car styling and this small sport crossover offers great performance and economy together with a comfortable and practical interior.The JUKE seats five with plenty of storage space and is offered in three trim levels: S, SV, and SL. The standard engine is a 188-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with direct gasoline injection. Together with an advanced CVT or six-speed manual transmission the JUKE is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The six-speed manual is available only with the SV and SL front-wheel drive trims. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth bucket seats, 60-40 fold-down rear seat, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system. Safety features include six airbags, active front head restraints, vehicle dynamic control, and traction control. Available features include a navigation system, upgraded Rockford-Fosgate speakers, leather interior, power moonroof, and an Integrated Control (I-CON) system with 3-mode automatic air conditioning.The 2012 Nissan JUKE is a carryover from 2011.
Stylish and versatile.
The Nissan Juke is a small, five-seat crossover with distinctive, fun styling, sharp performance and decent cargo space.Those who appreciate unique design and don't mind standing out should love it.It's a great car for running errands around town, hauling boxes, jumping in and out, parking in tight places.
The Juke was introduced as a 2011 model, so the 2012 Juke is unchanged.The Juke is built on Nissan's global B platform, proven with familiar cars like the Versa hatchback and sedan.
The 2012 Nissan Juke is offered in three trim levels, with front- or all-wheel drive, and it's available with high-end features like a Rockford-Fosgate powered subwoofer and navigation with XM traffic reporting.
The name Juke is supposed to suggest flitting around town, as a boxer might juke around the ring, and the Nissan Juke does just that.Juke's styling is aggressively quirky.It's built on a short, 96-inch wheelbase, making it agile for juking around town.
Juke's steering is responsive, and it sticks nicely to pavement on winding roads.Yet its short wheelbase, suspension tuning and relatively large 17-inch wheels combine for a ride the calls out every undulation.It's not sharp or harsh so much as bouncy.When you're driving the Juke over bumps you're fully aware you're in a tight little car.
Juke's 1.6-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine generates a lot of power for its diminutive size, giving it peppy performance.The engine delivers 188 horsepower, 177 pound-feet of torque and brisk acceleration.
The continuously variable transmission, or CVT, is one of the best examples of this technology to date.It can be used like an automatic, shifted into Drive and forgotten, or shifted manually with six speed ranges that sharpen performance.A 6-speed manual gearbox is available for models with front-wheel drive.The manual transmission wrings out the quickest acceleration and best fuel economy, but we found it also emphasizes torque steer and the raucous quality of the engine.
All-wheel drive (AWD) gives the Juke all-season capability though it reduces fuel economy slightly.Juke AWD only comes with the CVT.
Fuel economy ratings for all Jukes are lower than those of the competition.The Juke gets an EPA-estimated 27/32 mpg City/Highway with front-wheel drive and the CVT or 25/31 mpg with the manual transmission.With all-wheel drive, Juke is rated 25/30 mpg.Premium gasoline is recommended.
The Juke seats five, though there isn't much legroom in the back seats.The rear seat is split 60/40 and folds flat.And that's the best configuration: using the Juke as a two-seater with a lot of cargo space.
We found the front seats comfortable while driving about.The fabric is sporty in the Juke SV, while the leather in the Juke SL is impressive.The center console design is inspired by a motorcycle gas tank, and its hard plastic trim is painted a glossy silver or deep metallic red.It's distinctive, and cool.
The Juke competes in one of the fastest growing chunks of the new vehicle market.Juke front-wheel-drive models go head to head with the Kia Soul, while Juke AWD squares off with the Suzuki SX4, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.The stylish Juke can also be compared with the more expensive Mini Cooper Countryman ALL4.
The 2012 Nissan Juke is available in eight variants, with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual or CVT automatic.All Jukes are powered by a 188-horspepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Juke S ($19,770) comes with the CVT, cloth upholstery, air conditioning, power windows, power locks and mirrors, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels and a six-speaker stereo with single CD, XM satellite radio hardware, auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth connectivity.The Juke S AWD ($21,430) adds the all-wheel drive system, which comes with the CVT in all trim levels.
Juke SV ($21,080) and SV AWD ($23,230) upgrade with a more plush fabric upholstery, power moonroof, rear privacy glass, automatic temperature control, proximity key with pushbutton ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the integrated control (I-CON) system with Sport, Normal and Eco modes for programming engine, transmission and steering response.The front-drive SV comes with the 6-speed manual, though the CVT ($500) is available.The optional navigation package ($800) includes a five-inch screen, upgraded speakers with a powered subwoofer and a USB connection.
Juke SL ($23,400) and SL AWD ($25,550) include the navigation package, and include leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rearview camera and foglights.The front-drive SL comes with the manual or CVT ($500).Options include a Chrome Package ($540), Interior Illumination Package ($490) and a Sport Package ($1,310), which adds a rear spoiler, stainless steel exhaust finisher and Gunmetal wheels.
Safety equipment on all Jukes includes front-impact airbags, front passenger side-impact airbags, full cabin head protection curtains, Nissan's Vehicle Dynamic Control, or stability control, antilock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and a tire-pressure monitor.The rearview camera is available only on the SL.
Pretty, the Nissan Juke isn't, but it certainly shouts for attention.We'd call it cute, in an ugly duckling sort of way.It's a functional, practical package in a compact vehicle that stands out in the crowd.
The Juke is a small vehicle, with about the same footprint as the subcompact Ford Fiesta.Juke is substantially shorter in length than the subcompact Nissan Versa, though the Juke is slightly wider.Juke's exterior dimensions closely match similarly conceived crossovers like the Kia Soul and Mini Cooper Countryman.
There are lots of trendy themes in this so-called sport cross.From the side, especially the window outlines, the Juke appears to have borrowed from the reverse-wedge Soul.There's a family resemblance to the Nissan Murano and Infiniti FX, and from some angles you can also see the Infiniti G sedan.The Juke's taillights borrow their boomerang shape from the Nissan 370Z sports car.The camouflaged rear door handles, which we like, might fool you into thinking Juke is a two-door.There's a raked windshield, high beltline and broad shoulders.
The Juke also has design cues that shout originality.Its nose is full of circles, namely the big round headlights inspired by rally lights, and fog lights in the air dam.Nissan calls the amber running lights and turn signals integrated, but we'd argue that definition.They're slapped onto the tops of the fenders like barnacles.
Hyper-aggressive edged fender flares outline big wheel arches and suggest room for monster tires, making the standard 17-inch wheels look small.The 12-spoke wheels are fancy (not a bad thing) for a little car, but still lost in the cavern.The conspicuously high ground clearance adds to this effect.
The Juke looks best in the metallic charcoal brown, with gold specs in the paint catching the sun.There's also a nice metallic blue, and four different shades of gray.The optional Gunmetal finish wheels emphasize the somber effect, while the optional chrome package counteracts it.
The Juke offers more comfort and space inside than its compact exterior suggests.It's stylish (and dare we say a bit unusual), but its unique design features don't come at the expense of easy operation or practical function.Its overall finish is decent.
The weak link inside is the plastics.The door panels and dash covering are hard, scratchy and hollow-sounding.They're sturdy, and probably durable, but you can do better in this price range when it comes to appearance and pleasant surface feel.The decorative trim is even harder plastic, though it's painted deep and glossy in either silver or candy-apple red depending on the color scheme, and it looks terrific.
The seating position is high, and that affords good forward visibility.There's also a good view in the mirror through the rear glass.If it looks like it should be pinched, there's no problem.It can get a bit noisy in the Juke, especially when it's powerful little engine is working hard, but the standard audio system is up to the task, masking the noise at fairly low volume without sounding tinny.The gear-shift is set fairly high, rally car style, and the seats are comfortable in either grade of fabric or the superb optional leather.The fabric looks best in dark charcoal, and the leather in a rich brown.There's good bolstering that does its best to keep the driver's body in place, but the suspension allows a lot of upper body sway, or head toss, as it used to be called in the older Jeep Cherokees.
The gauges behind the steering wheel are good: black faces, white lettering, red needles, with brushed aluminum-like rings around the speedometer and tach.A range of useful information can be displayed in a little window between them.We like this feature, until recently reserved for much more expensive vehicles, but there's a problem in the Juke.In order to scroll for info, you have to reach buttons near the display, sort of like the trip-odo reset buttons most drivers are familiar with.That means either sticking your right arm between the steering-wheel spokes or wrapping it around the wheel while you're driving.The Juke isn't the only car with this poor design, but a scroll button on one of the spokes would sure be helpful.
The center stack is nice and big and wide, more like a square with rounded corners.At the top sits the audio system, or the optional navigation package and its 5-inch screen.All the buttons, knobs and dials allow simple, low-distraction function.Below are the climate controls on base models, or the I-CON (for integrated controls) system on all other Juke models.Think of I-CON as a central command center and display, adopting different display colors and functions depending on how it's used.In climate mode, the display shows the interior temperature settings, and the buttons control air-flow preferences.In D-Mode, the buttons change the three driving modes (Econ, Normal or Sport), while the display shows engine- and drive-related information.
The small screen shows turbo boost or g forces measured by the on-board accelerometer in Sport mode, and engine torque in Normal.It took a while to figure out what was showing in Eco mode.Our best guess is that it tells you how far your foot is down on the gas pedal, and it's useless.You don't need to take your eyes off the road and refocus them on a small screen down at the bottom of the center stack to know that.
We played with the navigation a bit, and we liked the way it gives ample notice before a turn.It wasn't challenged much, to be sure, because our route kept us on one highway, and a waterway, which the navigation lady who lives in the center stack couldn't see.Stay on the road for 28 miles, she said, as the ferry pulled away from the dock and headed 28 miles across the water.
Nissan says the center console was inspired by a motorcycle gas tank.Fair enough.It's awfully pretty, and it adds shape and contour to the car's interior, as opposed to the more typical, long box with levers and crannies on it.The Juke's console is a shapely tube, painted that rich, glossy finish.It begins at the bottom of the wide center stack, where the shift lever rises out the top.From there ii flows down and back and narrows, with a long black E-brake lever on the left and two cupholders and a coin holder on the right, before ending with an open bin between the seatbacks.
The Juke is a 5-seater, and the back seat works fine for kids into their early teens.Not surprisingly, there isn't much legroom in the rear seat, only 32.1 inches.Three people back here will be squeezed in every direction but up, and maybe up.too, if any of the three are taller than six feet.
With the rear seat up, there is 10.5 cubic feet of cargo space, comparable to a fairly small trunk.When the 60/40 rear seat is folded flat, which it does with one motion, there's a lot more room for stuff: 35.9 cubic feet.That's plenty of boxes or luggage, and slightly more room than you'll get in Nissan's Versa hatchback.On the other hand, there's quite bit less space in the Juke than in the comparable Kia Soul (50.4 cubic feet), and less than what's available is some compact five-door sedans like the Ford Focus (44.4).
When it comes to storage, front-drive Jukes add a secret stash that isn't available in all-wheel-drive models.There's an extra bin under the load floor, with a couple of cubic feet of empty space that's occupied by running gear and suspension attachments on AWD Jukes.
The Nissan Juke is a fun car to drive, in a jaunty, engaging way.Its modestly-sized engine is strong, made more powerful and efficient with direct gasoline injection, and acceleration is good.Its ride is fairly compliant but a bit bouncy, and that translates to some side-to-side body movement.Yet its steering response can be sharp, and it sticks to the pavement nicely.The NISMO performance-tuned variant, expected for 2013, offers genuine promise for enthusiast drivers.
The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine isn't new, but this is its first use in the United States.It accelerates convincingly up to 6400 rpm, where the rev limiter gently chokes the engine.Nissan claims that the full 177 foot-pounds of torque is available at 2000 rpm, and we trust they have charts from an engine dynamometer that say so.But there's a lot lost in the translation to the seat of a driver's pants, for example through the transmission.All we know is that when you floor it and watch the tach climb, you feel the strongest surge at about 3500 rpm.And when you floor it in a high gear at 2000 rpm, it feels like the torque stayed back there on the dyno bench.
This discrepancy is more pronounced with the CVT automatic.The six-speed manual still delivers the best acceleration, once you have the right gear.Yet the manual has its drawbacks.For one thing, there's torque steer (a sideways tug on the steering wheel) that doesn't exist with the CVT model under hard acceleration.For another, there's more noise, vibration and harshness in the Juke when a driver is working up and down through the gears with the manual.
We're still impressed by the responsiveness of the CVT.Technically, a CVT does not shift in steps like a conventional transmission, because its power transfer ratio varies constantly, keeping an optimum level for the engine and road speed.Yet the Juke CVT has six defined ranges, like speeds, and each can be selected manually.That makes a big difference in a small, lively car.
In a vehicle with a relatively short wheelbase, the cabin is going to feel the bumps more.In the Juke, you maybe feel them a little bit more than that.They're not sharp or harsh, but they are plentiful, and that translates into something the feels like sway or movement of the body.We'd call it a bit of flop more than discomfort.And still the Juke steers nicely in most circumstances, with accuracy and quick response, and It hugs every bit of the road.Its tires have a nice, large footprint for a car its size, and that has something to do with it.
The I-CON system, standard in all but the base Juke S, gives you three modes: Sport, Normal and Eco.Each mode changes the settings for steering effort and throttle (how much power for a given dip of the pedal).There's a noticeable performance difference between modes, especially with the CVT automatic, because with it I-CON changes the transmission's behavior as well.
Sport mode makes the gas pedal more responsive to movement, changes ranges in transmission more readily and makes the steering feel sharper.In Eco mode, the gas pedal is less responsive, the transmission works to optimize fuel economy rather than acceleration, and the sharp cornering gets duller.Don't expect immediate acceleration on a freeway in Eco mode, although you could hum along at 65 mph with the cruise control set, no worries.And if you're lightfooting it around town, Eco mode is great.
We didn't have a chance to test the traction in ice and snow, but we like the way the all-wheel drive works.Experience suggests that it will be a boon in sloppy conditions.The Juke's all-wheel drive is torque vectoring, meaning that it not only shifts power between the front and rear wheels, but also between the left or right wheels, as needed.This system can actually help rotate the vehicle through a curve and keep it tracking on the path determined by the steering.
There are paybacks with the all-wheel drive, of course.The Juke AWD has a smaller fuel tank than FWD models, because the all-wheel-drive mechanicals occupy some of the space used by the standard gas tank (11.8 gallons vs.the front-drive model's 13.2-gallon tank).Thus, the all-wheel-drive models have a shorter range.
They also get lower mileage.The AWD Juke is government-rated at 25 mpg City and 30 Highway, which is about what we got; closer to 25, actually, in the real world.That's not bad for all-wheel drive, and comparable to the similarly capable Mini Cooper Countryman.The FWD Juke is rated at 27 City, 32 Highway with the CVT.That's less than Nissan's Versa hatchback (28/34 mpg), and substantially less than one of Juke's obvious competitors, the Kia Soul (29/36).
The Nissan Juke is a cross between a sporty compact and a tiny SUV.Juke is charming, unique and engaging, and it accelerates in lively fashion.Its ride quality can be a little disconcerting, depending on where you drive.If mileage is a crucial consideration, a buyer can do better for less.The Juke will play well with those who put a premium on shout-out styling and visceral excitement.Those who put a premium on refinement and smooth ride might look elsewhere.
Sam Moses reported from Vancouver, British Columbia; with J.P.Vettraino reporting from Detroit.
Nissan Juke S ($19,770), S AWD ($21,420); Juke SV ($21,080), SV AWD ($23,230); Juke SL ($23,400), SL AWD ($25,550).
Options As Tested
Sport Package ($1,310) includes rear-spoiler, Gunmetal wheels and stainless-steel exhaust finisher; carpeted floor mats ($175).
Nissan Juke SV FWD ($21,080).
Roomy cabin for adult-sized passengers.
The Nissan Quest is a versatile seven-passenger vehicle.An excellent choice for families with teenagers, Quest transports four adults in comfort in the front two rows plus three more little ones in the third row.Powered by Nissan's superb V6, the Quest rides smoothly yet feels light and agile.
The 2012 Nissan Quest is essentially unchanged because it was redesigned and re-introduced for the 2011 year.This latest-generation Quest employs styling inside and out that is neither controversial nor conventional, and it merges performance and efficiency well.
All Quests come with Nissan's superb V6 engine, shared with the Z and many other models.Quest's V6 produces a 253 horsepower and is EPA-rated at 19/24 mpg City/Highway.Nissan is a leader in CVT technology and the Quest's continuously variable transmission helps with fuel efficiency.
The 2012 Quest comes in four trim levels, topping out with piped leather, a host of electronic conveniences, a screen as large as some laptops, and rear-seat entertainment options.
The Quest cabin is set up with roomy second row.The third row is smaller than most but more than adequate for small children.The forward four seats are genuinely adult-roomy.There is no eight-passenger, middle-row bench seat version.
Cargo versatility is another Quest strength.The cargo area has a trunk beneath a floor level with a hatch opening.This design will be appreciated by anyone who has had to lift an expedition-size suitcase or big-box store case of drinks out of an 18-inch-deep well.
Quest and its competitors, the Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Kia Sedona, Hyundai Entourage, Volkswagen Routan are large vehicles.Roughly the same outside dimensions as full-size SUVs, the minivans are generally superior people movers.
The 2012 Nissan Quest comes in four trim levels all with a 3.5-liter V6, continuously variable transmission, front-wheel drive and seven-seat configuration.
Quest S ($27,750) includes air conditioning, cloth upholstery, power windows/locks/mirrors, manual front seats, second-row reclining captain's chairs, 60/40-split third row, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, fold-flat second and third-row seats, quick-release third-row seat.wood-grain trim, fixed front and removable second-row consoles, intelligent key/pushbutton start, AM/FM/6CD/MP3/WMA with four speakers and aux port, cruise control, rear privacy glass, 16-inch steel wheels, and rear spoiler.
Quest SV ($31,050) upgrades with three-zone climate control; power sliding doors; a more sophisticated six-speaker stereo with iPod/USB input, RDS, XM Satellite Radio and steering wheel controls; 4.3-inch screen (audio and rearview monitor); leather-wrapped steering wheel; Bluetooth telephony; alloy wheels, fog lights; auto-dimming mirror; and conversation mirror.Roof rails ($300) are the sole factory option on S or SV, although a port-installed towing package ($550) is available on all models.
Quest SL ($34,500) features leather upholstery and heated front seats,18-inch alloy wheels, power liftgate, power driver's seat with power lumbar support, HomeLink, heated outside mirrors with signal repeaters, auto on/off headlamps, and roof rails.Options expand to include 11-inch DVD entertainment ($2,100), Bose audio system ($1,150), and dual-opening glass moonroofs ($1,350).
Quest LE ($41,350) adds navigation with 8-inch screen, 9.3GB MusicBox hard drive, 13-speaker Bose audio and DVD entertainment, driver memory system, reverse-tilt mirrors, rear window shades, advanced climate control with air purification, blind-spot warning, HID low-beam headlamps, audio/video inputs and 120-VAC outlet.Only the moonroof is optional.
Safety features include dual front, front-side and three-row side-curtain airbags, active front head restraints, three LATCH anchors among 2nd/3rd rows, rear child door locks, electronic stability control incorporating antilock brakes, brake assist, traction control.Rearview camera is standard on all but Quest SE, and a blind-spot warning system comes on the Quest LE.
By design, vans are box-like with smoothed front ends to improve aerodynamics and driver visibility, and the Nissan Quest fits the mold.Roughly the same size as other minivans, the Quest is within inches of the competition in virtually every measure.There is nothing mini about the modern minivan.
Quest is built on a lengthened structure that shares basics with the Murano crossover and Maxima and Altima sedans.However, on standard wheels the Quest needs no more space than an Altima to make a U-turn, and since it's less than six feet to the top of the roof the center of gravity isn't substantially higher than that of the Murano.
Fluid sculpture is what Nissan calls the styling of the current-generation Quest, which was launched as a 2011 model.
The front of the Quest is its most generic aspect, and like other vans could easily be confused with another were it not for the Nissan hamburger front and center.The front is smooth and clean, with a wide bumper section that cants upward at the edges below the headlights.All front lights except the fog lights are in the same housing, chrome is liberal, and the LE gets HID low-beam headlights.
In side view the simple lines continue, the only trim piece used along the bottom of the doors.The window line dips down from the windshield to a low point behind the useful side mirrors, then sweeps upward and tapers to near horizontal at its aft edge.A character line beginning atop the front tire then approaches the window line, ending at the taillight, giving as much wedge as possible in a box.
What sets Quest apart most is the nearly vertical tail that maximizes cabin volume and dark pillars everywhere but the windshield.Combined with the tinted glass the windows appear as a black band all around the car with the roof almost floating on top of it, much like a Mini Clubman or Ford Flex with the alternate roof color.Dark colors don't show it off as well, but they hide the sliding door track in the rear quarter panels better.On models with the power sliding side doors they operate comparably quickly yet without the jerky stop/start of some.
The rear end bears strong resemblance to Nissan luxury-division Infiniti's big QX56 utility and gets its fair share of chromium; the deep bumper also reminds of smaller boxes like Nissan's Cube or the original Scion xB.The big hatch cinches itself shut on all models and is powered on some.The top of the bumper, as on most minivans, has no protection to prevent scratching from hauling cargo in and out, so be careful when loading.
Optional dual moonroofs open independently; three small curb-like protuberances on the closed front moonroof aid airflow over the open rear moonroof to avoid any fuel economy penalty.The rear switch for the rear moonroof can be disabled by the window lock on the driver's door.
Seven-seat is the only configuration offered on the Quest, with two individual seats in the first two rows and a three-seat arrangement for kids in the last row.The Quest feels very open and is quite roomy if used this way, the generous 206 cubic feet of volume tilted in favor of adult comfort; if you frequently put adults in the third row the Honda Odyssey is better.But who does that?
The four forward seats are very comfortable, have good-to-best competitive dimensions and are just as good for short jaunts in the school Grand Prix or interstate cruising.We spent time in the middle row and found them as supportive as the front seats; the main differences are the adjustments and the fact that the second-row seats fold.The middle-row chairs one-up the front row with an individual armrest on each side.
Cloth upholstery is used on the lower two trims, with heated leather on upper trims, and the leather is piped for the high-end look.
Sliding side doors are typical but there is a step just inside them so there's less climbing or halfway-in kids falling back out.It also tends to keep that accumulation of junk on shoes from dirtying the carpet as quickly.Rear-seat entry/exit is decent and the second-row console is easily removed (cupholders remain nearby) for walk-through access.
The third row is split 40/60 with the wide side curbside.It partially reclines, moving the cushion slightly in the process and you could put two adults back there for short trips.Most models have three-zone climate control with overhead vents outboard and the LE has four side-window shades.
Cargo carrying behind the third-row seat is one area where the Quest defies the norm.Rather than the fold-into-floor last row that's commonly used, the Quest presents a cargo floor that's level with the opening at the back.A cover on each side is rated for 220 pounds each, so fertilizer and backpacks can be tossed in but cement or masonry treated more gently.Beneath this cargo floor is open space about the size of a midsize car's trunk, and with the covers out a 35-cubic-foot area behind the third row.With the back two seat rows folded flat, maximum cargo height or volume isn't as much as most competitors but you can still get the ubiquitous 4x8 sheet of plywood inside and keep the concealed cubic-footage under the back.The spare tire is underneath where it has no effect on cargo loading, or unloading to change a flat.
The instrument panel uses a conventional Nissan layout, but it would be easy to mistake a Quest SL or LE dash as from an Infiniti.Gauges are lit white while all controls and console ambient lighting are amber.There is a mood-light option with different colors and highlights for cupholders, footwells, etc.
Analog gauges give the usual information, framed by controls on its ears for dash lighting and trip computer.Power side-door controls are up high driver's left with other vehicle controls below.Steering wheel stalks handle lights and wipers (front and rear) and the wheel itself has redundant controls for the audio system.The key can stay in your pocket because every Quest is pushbutton start.We prefer a traditional key, but that's not an option.
Everyone has a good view out and the driver has few blind spots; a warning system is optional and effective but no substitute for an over-the-shoulder glance.As is often the case, the small triangular front side windows are more useful on the far side.
The shifter is on the left side of the center panel abutment but unlike that in the Odyssey it doesn't impinge on taller drivers' right knee space.The audio system and climate controls are to the right of it, controls for the navigation and such at about 45-degrees to horizontal above the shifter, and everything works as you'd expect.On the lower face are seat heater controls, two beverage holders and a disc-drive below; the drive is recessed so your Big Gulp might not immediately become a big glitch but you'd still have to reach under the cupholders to load it.
Quest forgoes the ultra-wide screen rear entertainment in favor of an 11-inch screen, the largest 16:9 perspective screen in the business; and somehow they did it without the driver losing rear view when the screen is being used.There are only a couple of features the competition offer the Quest does not: The widescreen/dual-image arrangement, ventilated front seats, middle-row lounge chairs, and a coolbox.Quest does have an audio-mute button for addressing unruly rear-seat passengers.Also, when refilling the tires the pressure monitor system will chirp the horn when the pressure is correct, an interesting feature.
Quest's cabin is a major advance from the previous version (pre-2011), primarily because it appears more car-like, even luxurious on upper models, where the previous Quest seemed to stop at fully functional.Apart from the Nissan logo we couldn't find a single part or finish that didn't speak better quality than before.
Nissan derived the Quest from sporty sedans and a sporty crossover and that paid dividends in driving characteristics.The Quest comes across as relatively light on its feet.It isn't light by any stretch, though it's among the lighter in vans and feels and drives smaller than it is.
Nissan's superb V6 engine has been proven in a variety of sizes; Quest uses the 3.5-liter size.Rated at 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque (using regular unleaded fuel) it is the mildest 3.5-liter Nissan makes, but don't equate that to slow.A Sienna V6 has 266 hp and Chrysler's newest Town & Country 283 but both use a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission; Honda's Odyssey has 248 hp and more torque but uses conventional 5- and 6-speed automatics.
The Quest uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT), dubbed Xtronic, proven in other Nissan V6 products.Rather than six gears to choose from it has an infinite range and can therefore ideally match performance and efficiency parameters for any demand.Floor the pedal at an on-ramp and the engine speed will rise near 5000 rpm, where the engine makes peak power, and stay there until you lift off the gas pedal or reach maximum speed.It's much like a powerboat getting on plane, but instead of the prop slipping the transmission is constantly changing its ratio.
Conversely, around town the CVT uses only the minimum engine revs needed to get the job done.At highway speeds it lopes along with barely 2000 rpm showing at 75 mph and if you need to accelerate there is no gear change felt.The CVT has an Overdrive Off switch but that only locks out the highest range for more sprightly response or controlling speed on long downgrades.If you select Low, the transmission uses engine braking to slow the Quest better than virtually any other van.On the minus side the CVT is very loose at idle and it will not hold the van on a hill without using the brake pedal.
EPA ratings are 19/24 mpg City/Highway for the Quest, matching the Sienna V6.Town & Country gets 17/25, and the Odyssey rates a bit higher at 18/27 mpg (19/28 with the top-line 6-speed model).However, it's been our experience with Nissan and other CVTs that their real-world mileage is often better than EPA calculations, and we expect the Quest to be fully competitive in this regard.Our trip computer showed 22.4 mpg average after a couple of hours of primarily urban driving.
Electric-assist steering is used on the Quest and the feel and operation are on par with conventional systems.Quest is quite maneuverable and requires less than 37 feet to make a U-turn.A three-row SUV or crossover with roughly the same exterior dimensions, smaller cabin and cargo space, and only half-an-inch more ground clearance needs more than 40 feet.
Ride quality is very nice, regardless of what row you're sitting in.Although the Sienna is the only van rated to carry more weight, the Quest doesn't feel overly stiff with just one occupant nor like a tub of Jell-O when it's loaded down.A sporty Sienna SE or Odyssey Touring might handle better than the Quest, but we like the blend of ride comfort, grip, and directional stability Nissan has calibrated here.
We made no observations on braking, which means pedal feel and the van's reaction are both appropriate.The CVT can help control or retard downhill speed.
In terms of performance, the upper models enjoy only the slightest, often immeasurable, advantage in steering crispness, minimum braking distance and cornering speeds because they have one-size wider 18-inch wheels but weigh more.On the other hand, the 16-inch wheels will be less-expensive to replace tires, could be used for a set of winter tires if you upgrade, and might make chain-fitting easier.Ride quality should be a little better with the taller sidewalls of the 16-inch tires, also.
A Quest may be configured to tow 3500 pounds maximum, right in line with other vans.The tow limit is one reason you'd have to step up to an SUV and take a fuel economy hit; the other is if you need four-wheel drive for trail adventures.Otherwise, the van makes more sense than an SUV.
The Nissan Quest does everything a family van should with no shortcomings in performance, efficiency, comfort or environmental features.The Quest drives nicely, with an optimum balance between ride quality and handling and a responsive V6 engine.The cabin is designed well for four adult-sized people plus two or three children.
G.R.Whale filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report after his test drive of the Quest around Del Mar, California; with staff reports.
Nissan Quest S ($27,750); Quest SV ($31,050); Quest SL ($34,500); Quest LE ($41,350).
The list of optional equipment below represents a mix of optional dealer or factory installed features. Some must be added by the manufacturer during the production process whilst others can be installed here at the point of purchase. Please note that this list is intended for informational purposes only. If you have any questions please contact us for clarification.
50 State Emissions
Port Installed Options
Splash Guards (PIO)
Chrome Package: Includes chrome lower rear hatch applique.