The 2014 Nissan Quest attempts to breathe new life into a vehicle most commonly associated with soccer moms and rowdy children. The minivan may never be as cool as the old-school vans from the '60s and '70s, but this one comes pretty close. With innovative styling, an upscale and uniquely arranged interior and lots of clever features, the Quest may be the best minivan choice for those who dread the idea of owning a minivan.
The first thing you'll notice about the Quest is its mammoth size. All in, the Quest is a mere two inches shy of the Cadillac Escalade in every exterior dimension. Once you look past the size and start looking at the styling, you get the sense that the Quest's designers really wanted the Quest to stand out from the competition. Where its rivals are sticking with the familiar shapes and forms of a minivan, the Quest offers bold styling that makes it just different enough without looking too youthful.
What's New for 2014?
Other than some new colors, there are no major changes to the 2014 Nissan Quest.
What We Like
Comfortable interior; exceptional turning radius; bold styling; decent acceleration, available dual power glass sunroofs.
What We Don't
Massive size makes it a suburb-only affair; limited third-row space; no second-row bench seat offered; fuel economy on the lower end of the minivan spectrum.
The Quest offers only one powertrain: a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired to a continuously variable transmission, which controls all the gear ratios without actually shifting gears. The combination is good for 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, which does a decent job of moving the nearly 4,400-lb van from a standstill.
The Environmental Protection Agency lists fuel economy at 19 miles per gallon city/24 mpg hwy. Throughout the week, we saw closer to 15 mpg, but that was on purely city driving with a quick jaunt out to the suburbs to test highway performance.
Standard Features & Options
The 2014 Nissan Quest is offered in four trims: S, SV, SL and LE.
The base S ($26,850) features power windows in the sliding doors, Intelligent Key with push-button start, 16-inch wheels with full covers, fold-flat second and third-row seats, AM/FM/CD stereo with four speakers and auxiliary input jack, 6-way manual driver's seat, cloth seating, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, power mirrors and door locks, two 12-volt outlets, sun visors with vanity mirrors and extensions, sliding and reclining second-row captain's chair seating with removable center console and flush folding second- and third-row seating.
The SV ($30,600) adds 1-touch power sliding side doors, 16-in alloy wheels, tri-zone automatic climate control, a 6-speaker stereo with USB port and iPod control, Sirius satellite radio (requires subscription), fog lights, front conversation mirror, 4.3-in color audio display, Bluetooth, a rearview monitor, rear privacy glass and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The SL ($34,380) brings leather seating surfaces, 18-in alloy wheels, a power rear lift gate, 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support, heated front seats, HomeLink, auto-dimming rearview mirrors with compass, roof rails, heated outside mirrors, auto on/off headlights and leather-wrapped shift knob.
The top-of-the-line LE ($43,500) adds the 360-degree Around View monitor, navigation, 13-speaker Bose audio, memory for driver's seat and mirrors, auto-tilt-in-reverse side mirrors, manual side window blinds, 4-way power front passenger seat, power return third-row seat, dash-mounted 8-in VGA color display, DVD rear-seat entertainment system with 11-in 16:9 view screen, advanced climate control and air filter system, blind spot warning system and HID headlights.
The SV trim can be equipped with leather seating and the rear-seat DVD entertainment system, while the SL can be equipped with the DVD entertainment system and Bose audio. Dual power sunroofs are available on the SL and LE.
Standard safety equipment on every 2014 Nissan Quest minivan includes front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags, electronic traction and stability control and a tire pressure monitor.
The 2014 Nissan Quest earned the highest possible ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in all areas but roof strength, where it received an Acceptable rating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to crash-test the Quest.
Behind the Wheel
While the Quest should have no problem in rural and suburban settings, driving it on busy city streets requires a lot of attention. Its width means little room for error on narrow streets and a tight fit in some parking lots. The good turning radius helps, but Quest drivers will likely feel more comfortable on roads that are busy and less confined.
On the highway, the Quest is stable and shows little strain. But on a windy day, its slab-sided styling does make it susceptible to strong gusts despite its weight.
Where the weight does come in handy is ride comfort, where nothing but the largest road seams or potholes seem to unsettle the big van. The Quest's ride is plush compared to other minivans, adding to the luxurious feel of the LE model.
Other Cars to Consider
Chrysler Town & Country -- The heavy hitter of the minivan game does come with rear-seat entertainment as an option but doesn't do it as well as the Quest. It doesn't have nearly the interior refinement of the Nissan, either.
Honda Odyssey -- The Odyssey has gone through similar transformations as the Quest, and is arguably the closest competitor to the Nissan. The Quest's styling is a bit more striking. If you outfit the Honda with a near-identical spec sheet, it will cost $1,000 more.
Toyota Sienna -- Toyota's entry also went through a major overhaul recently and offers more storage space. The Toyota's interior isn't as well-appointed or executed, but the Sienna is not as expensive as the Quest and offers the option of all-wheel drive.
While we really liked the Quest LE, it does get expensive at north of $42,500. If you can live without navigation, we suggest the one-step-down SL, which will save you about $9,000. The rear-seat entertainment system is still available as an option -- and while you don't get the Around View monitor, a backup camera is still included. The dual-panel sunroof is available on the SL, too.