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Nuts & bolts: Nissan Quest minivan

Bottom line: Would we buy the new Quest? Our answer is an easy “yes.” Its interior is palatial in terms of space, appointments and quality of materials. The seats are remarkably comfortable.

Ride, acceleration and handling: It gets excellent marks in all three.

Head-turning quotient: Choose a color other than black amethyst, one that does not highlight its oh-so-formal, funereal lines. The interior is to die for.

Body style/layout: The 2011 Nissan Quest is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive compact/midsize minivan with four side doors (two rear sliding) and a rear liftgate. There are power options for the rear sliding doors and liftgate. The new Quest has four trim levels — base S and SV, mid-grade SL, and top-scale LE.

Engine: The standard engine is a 3.5-liter, 24-valve, double-overhead-cam V-6 with variable valve timing (260 horsepower, 240 foot-pounds of torque). The engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission.

Capacities: There are seats for seven people. Maximum cargo capacity with second- and third-row seats folded flat is 108.4 cubic feet. With those seats raised, you get a sedanlike 25.7 feet of cargo space. The Quest LE can be outfitted to pull a trailer weighing 3,500 pounds. The fuel tank holds 20 gallons of gasoline (regular grade is recommended).

Mileage: Our real-world mileage, carrying loads of about 500 pounds, was 17 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, emergency braking assistance, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, and side and head air bags. The Quest LE also can be ordered with a blind-side driver warning system, which alerts the driver to traffic approaching left or right on the blind sides of the minivan.

Price: The base price for the 2011 Nissan Quest LE is $41,350. Dealer’s invoice price on that model is $37,895. Price as tested is $43,765, including $1,605 in options (power-operated, dual-opening panoramic glass roof and aluminum roof rails) and an $810 destination charge. The LE is fully loaded, including onboard navigation with backup camera, premium sound system and leather-covered seating. Dealer’s price as tested is $40,048. Compare with higher-end Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town & Country models.

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