2011 Nissan Quest Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Most reviewers agree that the 2011 Nissan Quest has performance that, while not superb, is pretty good for a minivan. Reviewers like the adept handling and powerful V6 engine, even as they complain about the transmission and occasional road noise.
- "It’s a package that is great for skipping from stop sign to stop sign or cruising down the freeway, but not so happy being hustled down a mountain road." -- Road and Track
- "The 2011 Nissan Quest drives like you'd expect a modern minivan to drive." -- Popular Mechanics
Acceleration and Power
The 2011 Nissan Quest is powered by a 260 horsepower V6 engine that also makes 240 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is a CVT, which reviewers aren’t overly fond of, in part because it lacks a system to keep the Quest from rolling backward when starting on a hill. Still, reviewers also report that acceleration is good, so long as you don’t floor it. When you do, the drivetrain protests and there’s some torque steer -- a common problem in front-wheel drive vehicles.
The EPA hasn’t released fuel economy ratings on the 2011 Nissan Quest yet, but Nissan reports that all trims get 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. That’s better city mileage than most other vans in the class, but the highway gas mileage is just average.
- "The van is happiest when driven smoothly. The CVT and V-6 deliver seamless acceleration that's smooth enough to put any baby to sleep in its car seat. More aggressive acceleration is less fluid. When rushed, the CVT and engine dawdle while selecting the right gear ratio and engine RPM the driver needs leading to some throttle lag and blustery driveline noise." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Although it doesn’t give the 4400-plus-pound van a cheetah-like pounce, it does have sufficient grunt to generate mild torque steer. The bigger letdown is bolted to the engine, where the only transmission choice is a CVT. We never enjoy the characteristic engine moan that accompanies these transmissions, but we don’t suppose many Quest buyers will notice." -- Car and Driver
- "Nissan's ubiquitous 3.5 V6 liter provides ample power in all situations, though a somewhat touchy gas pedal results in occasional lurchiness from a stop. It's strong off the line with enough muscle for passing, though the CVT occasionally strained during uphill climbs." -- Consumer Guide
- "Passing slower traffic on the highway is made easier thanks to quick reactions from the throttle and transmission, while there are advantages in fuel efficiency as well. The steady drone of the engine, which is typical of the steady-state rpm that comes with the use of a CVT, is really only evident on uphill grades." -- Edmunds
- "Aside from what seems to be excessive power is a CVT that turns throttle response into something slightly better than a steamboat captain calling for more wood. No big deal if you treat the Quest as a family appliance well suited for traversing neighborhoods and Costco parking lots." -- Road and Track
- "Weighing more than 4300 pounds, the Quest accelerates briskly at wide-open throttle. The combination of the V6's torque and the CVT work well together. You can feel every one of the 260 hp, and occasionally the steering wheel reacts with some torque steer. " -- Popular Mechanics
- "The powertrain, more specifically the continuously-variable transmission, lacks any type of electronic "hill hold" to prevent the minivan from rolling backwards on an incline (unlike traditional stepped gearboxes which hold a vehicle stable on all but the steepest hills when in gear, most CVTs will roll backwards even when in "drive"). Most other automakers have embraced the "hill hold" for basic safety reasons. Nissan should too." -- Autoblog
Handling and Braking
Reviewers report that the 2011 Nissan Quest has decent handling and breaking. It’s not something you’d want to use to carve up twisty back roads, but it’s comfortable and easy to drive around town. Like most minivans, the Quest feels numb to many reviewers, but that’s also the comfortable, uncomplicated feel that most minivan buyers want. Several reviewers complained about some intrusive road noise on their test drives.
- “The Quest proved smooth and quiet while driving around town. No corners were late-apexed during the research required for this article. The electrically-assisted steering didn't encourage verve-filled driving thanks to its Zanax-numbed feel." -- Automobile Magazine
- "The Quest’s rock-solid new structure yields a wonderfully boom-free cabin as well as reasonably tidy handling, and the electrohydraulic speed-sensitive steering has positive on-center feel with a natural buildup in effort as one turns the wheel. Smooth transitions are easy in the Quest, and that’s not something we can say about every family box out there." -- Car and Driver
- "Quest's smaller-for-2011 dimensions and very tight turning radius aid close-quarters maneuverability. Steering is responsive and has a solid, weighted feel. Body lean in corners is fairly pronounced. Braking action is firm and smooth." -- Consumer Guide
- "The drive route Nissan provided included mostly suburban driving, and in this environment, the Quest proved smooth and quiet. Just as you'd expect. It's not a bank vault, however, as there is some engine noise up front and some wind noise in the rear rows." -- Popular Mechanics
- "Handling is competent and safe, even up to about six-tenths of its capability. Push harder and the tires will scream long before the chassis throws in the towel." -- Autoblog