Nuts & Bolts: 2012 Nissan Quest

June 15, 2012

Bottom line: Large families will love it. It has lots of space and cushy comfort. Small families don’t need all that and will probably ignore it.

Ride, acceleration and handling: You can get a speeding ticket in the Quest LE. I unfortunately proved that, without trying, in my Northern Virginia community. (Please do not even moderately exceed the speed limits in Arlington and Fairfax counties!) Otherwise, the Quest LE has acceptably decent handling and an okay ride — nothing spectacular.

Head-turning quotient: It has all of the allure of a city bus.

Body style/layout: The 2012 Nissan Quest is a full-size, front-engine, front-wheel-drive bus/minivan/wagon based on the luxury Elgrand “minivan” sold by Nissan in Asia and other overseas markets. The new Quest is sold in the United States in four iterations — the base S, the better-equipped SV, the popularly equipped SL and the full-luxury LE.

Engine/transmission: The Quest comes with a 3.5-liter, 24-valve, double-overhead-cam V-6 engine with variable valve lift and timing (260 horsepower, 240 foot-pounds of torque). The engine is linked to a continuously variable automatic transmission (no fixed gears) to help improve fuel economy.

Capacities: Seats up to eight people, depending on seating arrangement. Kick out at least six of those people to get a cargo capacity of nearly 108.4 cubic feet. With all three rows of seats in use, your cargo capacity drops to 25.7 cubic feet. The Quest can handle a payload of 1,270 pounds and be equipped to pull a trailer weighing 3,500 pounds. The fuel tank holds 20 gallons of gasoline (regular grade is recommended).

Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel vented disc brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, a whiplash-protection system of head restraints for both front and rear passengers, and air bags.

Price: The base price of the 2012 Nissan Quest LE is $42,350. Dealer’s invoice price on that model is $38,774. Price as tested is $46,275, including $3,115 in options (power dual glass roof, roof-rail cargo bars, splash guards, cargo nets and other goodies) and a $810 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $42,211. Nearly $3,000 in customer rebates were available at this writing.

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