How The 2014 Nissan Quest Ended My Life-Long Anti-Minivan Bias

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Nissan Quest
The 2014 Nissan Quest. 
Given my frequent observations on cars as art, this may come as a surprise, but my favorite minivan thus far is the 2014 Nissan Quest.

And it has nothing to do with looks.  Frankly, it is awkward, appearing like nothing so much as a loaf of bread on which a careless bagboy put something heavy.

Side view of 2014 Nissan Quest
2014 Nissan Quest.

But behind the wheel, all that fades away.  Not only is the Quest tastefully appointed, everything is placed so that the driver is comfortable, with excellent lines of sight---all that glass really pays off.  And it drives easily and smoothly, not at all trucklike.  These are not attributes that would excite automotive enthusiasts, but that is beside the point.  Nissan seems to understand exactly what the target driver---a harried mom with children and a perhaps too-full schedule---needs and wants.

Interior view of 2014 Nissan Quest
2014 Nissan Quest interior.

The Nissan Quest comes in four trim levels with more than $16,000 difference between them.  Our test vehicle was the top-of-the-line LE with a base price of $42,640.  But at that price, you get essentially everything.  As with all Quests, the engine is a 3.5-liter V6, with a Continually Variable Transmission or CVT.  Tri-zone climate control with front and rear controls and air purifiers, an eight-way power driver's seat with memory, leather-appointed seats all around, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, satellite navigation with real-time traffic, weather and Zagat Survey reviews, a DVD entertainment system that plays through an 11-inch widescreen for the rear seat passengers and on the 7-inch dashboard display (when the car is parked), Bluetooth, an around-view monitor and blind spot warning to ease parking, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with illuminated controls, and a conversation mirror that allows Mom a full view of what is going on in the second and third rows.

Also standard: Power sliding doors and power liftgate, rear privacy glass, roof rails and fog lamps.  The only options are two that you would want and our test vehicle had: a dual panel moonroof for $1,350 and carpeted floor mats for $210.

The as-tested price including $860 destination charges was $45,060.  And the gas mileage is better than you might expect for a vehicle this large and capable, at 19 city/25 highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

I have never been a minivan person.  Ever.  The Quest could change that. In fact, it may have already.