Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2012 Nissan Quest: I just don't get it...

Nissan Quest
Much to my dismay, the rental company was out of full-sized cars and gave me a minivan (horrifying, I know). A Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey, or Toyota Sienna would have been passable, but instead I was given a Nissan Quest. I'm completely baffled by this car, and cannot understand what Nissan was going for in their design. Click through for my thoughts.

Nissan Quest
The front end of the Quest looks like a weird spaceship. Its concavity reminds me of the new Lexus RX. Unfortunately, the front end is probably the least offensive part of the Quest, and that's not saying much. The end is too boxy and the taillights look like eyes; seriously uncool. The side profile of the Quest is probably its worst angle, as it looks like a breadbox ready to tip over. It's too narrow and boxy in the wrong places. The downward crease on the doors would have been attractive if the front end wasn't so high up. If the hood were to be reshaped at a similar downward angle, the entire design could have been salvaged, but I realize that the engine takes up space and that Nissan is cognizant of the rules and regulations regarding the height of the hood in case of pedestrian collisions. The result is an oddly shaped disaster.

Nissan Quest
I was unfortunately driving the base model, so a couple things differed from the picture you see above. First, there were hardly any controls on the steering wheel, so I had to adjust the radio manually. If I had kids, I would want to minimize as many distractions as possible, and it seems like a low-cost no-brainer for Nissan to stick some controls on the wheel, even on the base model. For a car that starts at $25k, this is unacceptable.

The navigation screen you see above was replaced with a plain jane radio - the same one you can get on the Sentra. It was boring and didn't look very good nestled in that weirdly shaped center console.

I didn't like the shifter mounted in the center console. Although it is probably better than the alternative - a steering wheel stalk - I still didn't like it. Then again, I'd never buy a minivan, so perhaps I'm a bit biased.

The fake wood didn't look very good, and the interior seemed chintsy. On the other hand, I did like the pop-out cupholders in the center console, which reminded me of Saabs.

Nissan Quest
There is plenty of space in the Quest. No gripes there.

The Quest's 260hp V6 engine was very responsive at low RPMs, but lacked power at higher speeds. I would give the engine experience a B+; I would definitely not characterize the Quest as "fun to drive", but I was expecting much worse for a minivan.

Overall, I'm completely baffled by the Quest. The styling, inside and out, is incoherent and in many case downright ugly. Who would buy the Quest over the other award-winning choices (Odyssey, Town & Country, Sienna)? At first I thought the Quest would appeal to the upper-class crowd, but the competitors are just as well-appointed, if not better. So, I leave thoroughly confused...someone please help me understand!

1 comment:

  1. Simply described as "bizarre asian styling".