The Nissan Quest has typically had a supporting role in the minivan market. The first two generations of the Nissan Quest in particular, were rather anonymous and subpar. The more recent third-generation Nissan Quest made a huge leap ahead in terms of styling and performance, though it, too, never really caught on with the public.

The newest and latest Nissan Quest, however, is the most competitive model yet. Its bold styling, interior refinement and smooth V6/continuously variable transmission (CVT) place it firmly in the discussion among the leaders of the pack: the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Current Nissan Quest
The Nissan Quest minivan is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 making 260 horsepower, put to the ground through a slick CVT. It is available in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and LE. The base S is sparsely equipped for a minivan, but still offers an auxiliary audio jack and a few other niceties. The SV adds a wealth of other items such as alloy wheels, power-sliding doors and high-tech items like Bluetooth and an iPod interface. The SL trim is more luxurious thanks to its leather upholstery and one-touch folding third-row seats, while the top-trim LE offers a navigation and DVD entertainment system and an optional panoramic moonroof spanning nearly the length of the roof.

Inside, the Nissan Quest ‘s controls are logically grouped on the center stack and easily navigable. Interior materials are above average even on lower trim models, while the leather-appointed cabins in the range-topping trims feel premium and luxurious. But the Quest’s second-row captain’s chairs eliminate the option for an eighth passenger, and although its seats fold neatly into the floor, it results in about 40 cubic feet less cargo capacity than other mainstream minivans.

Overall, though, the Quest is no longer a lower-rung choice, but a legitimate first-look consideration. Thanks to its compliant ride, composed handling and smooth power delivery, it should serve families quite well.

Used Nissan Quest Models
The current, fourth-generation Nissan Quest was introduced for 2011. There have been no significant changes since then.

The third-generation Nissan Quest was produced from 2004-’09 (there was no Quest for the 2010 model year). At its debut, it shook up the minivan world with its avant-garde body styling, unique cabin design and a marketing campaign that did its best to disassociate the van from its soccer mom image. The Quest’s pillar-style center stack was certainly distinctive, but the multitude of similar buttons made operating often-used functions a hassle. Thankfully, the busy center stack was replaced by a much more user-friendly layout in a 2007 refresh.

All Quests of this generation were powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 235 hp, and power was sent to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. Four trim levels were available — the base 3.5, 3.5 S, 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE — each with an increasing number of features and conveniences. Oddly enough, none of these trim levels included rear seats — forcing customers to pay extra for a seat package that included second-row captain’s chairs and a flat-folding rear bench.

This Quest had a few things in its favor, including a roomy interior and handling that was a cut above most other minivan competitors. However, downsides were numerous, including a third-row seat that wasn’t split, a relative lack of cargo capacity and limited availability of stability control. Overall, minivan shoppers would be better served by other top choices in this segment.