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First Drive: 2011 Nissan Quest

A serious new entry – and that’s no joke.

by on Dec.13, 2010

Nissan completely redesigns the Quest for 2011.

Minivans just don’t get no respect, as Rodney Dangerfield might have expressed it.  Not only do the people movers take their regular hits from the likes of Letterman and Leno, but they’ve seem demand steadily shrink, in recent years.  Yet, in an auto industry where diminished expectations have become the rule the minivan still musters enough volume – nearly 600,000 units annually – to convince a fair number of manufacturers to keep pumping them out.

Nissan, for one, which will be launching an all-new version of the Quest for 2011, the well-equipped, comfortable, and functional remake set to reach U.S. showrooms right at the beginning of the New Year.


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Coming up with a way to add a little sex appeal to the exterior design of any minivan has been a chore for industry stylists for the better part of three decades.  The problem is that the van’s classic boxy shape is dictated by the vehicle’s functionality.  Complicating matters is the sliding door, which has vexed more than one talented design team.

But with the 2011 Nissan Quest, designers  have given it the old college try.  Head on, they have succeeded in giving the front of the new Quest a distinctive face and an overall appealing shape in front of the A-pillar.

The gash along the side for the sliding door, seemingly a defining minivan characteristic, has been offset with character lines, and the rear hatch — another black hole for traditional minivan design — has been given some distinctive sculpting thanks to a rounded spoiler that serves as an eye-catching detail when when the rear liftgate is raised.  Another notable detail is the wraparound rear window panel.


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.


Nissan Reveals First Pics of 2011 Quest Minivan

It faces tough competition from Honda, Toyota – and Chrysler.

by on Jul.07, 2010

A first look at the 2011 Nissan Quest.

Nissan has taken the wraps off it’s next-generation Quest minivan, showing the automaker plans to take another shot at a segment it has long struggled to find a place in – and which a number of key competitors have already abandoned.

The 2011 Nissan Quest significantly ups the level of style in a segment where functionality is normally the touchstone for designers and engineers.  The maker went on a similar, er, quest, when it launched the last version in 2004.

That was arguably the most stylish offering of its time, but the last-generation Quest was faulted for some fundamental flaws, notably including  a third-row seat that didn’t feature a 60/40 split and thinly padded second-row seats which many found uncomfortable.

Whether the 2011 Nissan Quest will resolve those and other issues related to features, function and comfort remains to be seen.

Quest sales have lagged behind industry leaders notably Chrysler, whose Town & Country and Dodge Caravan models have regained ground since the maker’s 2009 bankruptcy – and which now control nearly half the U.S. minivan market.


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(Click Here for more on Chrysler’s resurgence in the minivan market.)

But the 2011 Nissan Quest will go up against some tough Asian competition, as well.  And both the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna vans will go through complete makeovers for the coming model-year.  Toyota will retain the focus on functionality, while Honda, like Nissan, is hoping that a little more sporty touches to the Odyssey will draw in those who disdain classic soccer-mom shapes.