Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nissan Quest Finally Gets it Right

I just stepped out a week with the newest rendition of the Nissan Quest. One word? Success.

Minivans, a creation of Chrysler in the early to mid 1980's, were meant to combine carlike accommodations and driving quality with the usefulness of the full-size, truck-based "vans." They were very successful, filling a huge need, and Nissan's first Quest was one option on the market.

The Quest was a little smaller than the competition and sold pretty well, but was not the leader. Later Quests, including the version that expired in 2010, went for "weird" and overstyled. Also, the materials didn't feel quite up to the best.

Well, the new, fourth-generation model is not only massive and fully-featured, but it is richly appointed inside--even traditional there--and, other than its expressive face and rakish roofline, matches the big guys (Odyssey/Sienna) point for point. It was an extremely comfortable week of driving, although the 17 miles per gallon -- reasonable for a minivan -- was wasted carrying one person back and forth to work.

I was especially impressed by how perfectly and smoothly the car handled my iPod connection--although the location of the USB port meant I had to put the iPod away each time I left the car.

I have no need for a minivan, but this new Quest would definitely be in the running if I did.

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