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.
(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.