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First Look: Nissan’s Fourth-Generation Quest

Japanese makers aim for dominance.

by on Nov.18, 2010

With the launch of the 2011 Nissan Quest, the maker says reports of the minivan's death have been greatly exaggerated.

Who says the minivan market is dying?  Not the small band of makers that are rolling out all-new or significantly updated offerings for the 2011 model-year, a list that includes not just segment leader – and creator – Chrysler, but Honda, with the ’11 Odyssey, and Toyota, with the new Sienna.

Now Nissan weighs in, bringing to the L.A. Auto Show its fourth-generation Quest.  As it has with earlier generations, the Japanese maker is pushing the proverbial envelope on styling.  But where past versions often put form above function, there’s no denying the utilitarian bona fides of the new Quest minivan.

“The minivan remains a symbol of family commitment,” says Carlos Tavares, Nissan’s CEO for its Americas operation.

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That means several features will rise above all else when it comes to purchase considerations.  Start with easy access, like push-button sliding doors and easy fold-down 2nd and 3rd-row seats.  And with an intriguing new folding mechanism, Nissan was able to deliver a flat load floor, a slightly lower vehicle ride height – and some additional storage space in the tub below the folded-away seats.

The four versions of the Quest going on sale early next year will all feature a 253-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, mated to the familiar Nissan CVT transmission.

As you’d expect in a people-mover that has soccer moms and trips to Disneyland in its DNA, expect an assortment of infotainment features, from the 6-disc CD changer on the base model up to a sophisticated DVD video system on the top-line LE.

The list of safety features – another people-mover must – is a long one, as well, including not just the usual assortment of airbags and brake-based systems, such as stability control, but high-intensity discharge headlamps and blind-spot warning.

If recent demand for minivans – especially the new Odyssey and Sienna models – is any indication, Quest is tapping into a revitalized market segment building a resurgence as the Millennial generation enters parenthood.

Look for the base 2011 Nissan Quest to start at $27,750.

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