The 2012 Nissan Quest is arguably the most luxurious minivan on the market.
It is also very versatile, capable, fun and attractive, providing what Nissan calls "unrivaled family mobility."
That's not just marketing hype; this vehicle truly lives up to its billing. We -- husband, two grandchildren, sister-in-law and I -- put that to the test on a recent 10-day road trip, totaling more than 2,400 miles, including mountains, two beaches and lots of shopping.
Under the hood of all models is a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Front-wheel drive is standard, and the engine is connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission.
We had plenty of power for merging, overtaking and climbing the mountain grades, even with the vehicle loaded to the max with people and enough stuff for a week at the beach.
Everyone was comfortable, thanks to such amenities as the multi-adjustable heated front seats, reclining second-row captain seats that fold and slide forward for easy third- row entry; folding/reclining (60/40) third-row bench seat; and separate air vents/reading lights/assist handles for each seat. The conversation ("spy on the kids") mirror didn't help much in seeing all the way back to the third row, but it did give a good view to the driver and front passenger of anyone in the middle seats.
The fold-flat seat backs of the third row had quick-release buttons on the sidewalls of the cargo area, with a power-return feature. The cargo area was wide open with the seats folded, with very little intrusion from the wheel wells.
The cargo bed measures 86.5 inches long, 63.2 inches wide at the wall, and 40 inches deep, and will haul 37.1 cubic feet of stuff. Under the cargo area is another large storage area with a 60/40 split lid. We could easily have hauled twice the stuff we took with us.
There was a removable center console in the second row, with plenty of room for DVDs and the wireless headphones and remote for the entertainment system (standard on the LE model), which had an 11-inch screen that pulled down from the middle of the ceiling.
While the Quest obviously isn't a sports car, or even a sporty car, it handles very well, even with a wheelbase of 118.1 inches, a height of 73 inches and a turning diameter of 36.7 inches.
2012 NISSAN QUEST
Base price: $25,990
Price as tested: $43,730
EPA fuel economy: 19 mpg city/24 highway
Engine: 3.5-liter, V6
Power: 260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
Wheelbase: 118.1 inches
Length: 200.8 inches
Height: 71.5 inches
Cargo capacity: 108.4 cubic-feet
Seating capacity: Seven
Bottom line: luxurious, versatile family hauler