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2012 Nissan Quest A Family Space Shuttle>

With seating for seven, power sliding side doors, a remote power liftgate, second row captains chairs, and an optional second row DVD entertainment system, Captain Kirk and Mister Spock would have traveled light years to get their hands on the 2012 Nissan Quest. It may not be the ultimate terrestrial family shuttle, but it can clearly transport you and your crew wherever you want to go in comfort…with plenty of space.

All trim levels of the Quest do a nice job of achieving a feel of luxury, with quality leather or fabric upholstery. We also liked the soft touch surfaces and decorative wood trim. On the dashboard, the controls for the climate control and optional navigation system are easy to read and operate. Our tester had an upgraded Bose audio system with XM Radio —plus a USB interface for MP3 players. The system is fully capable of setting sonic moods ranging from classical and serene…to metallic and driving, depending on who happens to be assigned to DJ duties.

From the pilot’s perspective, the Quest is no slouch.  We felt that the 265 horses generated by the 3.5-liter V6 engine pushed the vehicle along efficiently. Like many new Nissan’s the Quest has a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that provides smooth acceleration and helps the minivan achieve an estimated 25-MPG on the open highway and 18 MPG around town. The firm suspension minimized body sway through the curves and created confident connection between the chassis and the roadway.

On the outside the Quest doesn’t try to disguise the fact that it’s a minivan. It has somewhat boxy lines, but its large panels of shiny sheet metal are nicely offset with plenty of glass. For Quest passengers, those large windows translate into nice views of the outside world zipping by, and that makes for nicer family road trips.

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“Are we there yet?” When your junior time travelers start to show signs of boredom and mutiny, the deep storage well behind the Quest’s third row of seats can come to the rescue when stocked with games, activities, and their favorite snacks and drinks. There’s also plenty of space down there to stow suitcases…or smuggle your latest haul of designer shoes in clandestine fashion. With both rows of rear seats in the folded position, the Quest becomes quite the cargo carrier, capable of hauling 108 cubic feet of stuff.

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The 2012 Nissan Quest garnered the top ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in both frontal offset and side-impact crash testing, along with an “acceptable” rating in the rollover category. Standard safety features include an advanced airbag system, 3-point seat belts, child safety rear door locks, anti-lock brakes, vehicle dynamic control, traction control, and electronic brake-force distribution.

To see all the different trim levels, special options, and color choices for this highly functional, family space shuttle, click here.

Written by: HerHighway Staff Contributor and Editor Christina Selter