Next-Generation Quest Minivan On the Way

Staff - CAP staff
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You might not have noticed, but Nissan dropped the Quest minivan for 2010 and no longer offers a vehicle in a segment it's never been strong in.  It's not for a lack of trying, as the Japanese automaker worked hard to spiff up the segment with the sportiest minivan offering, although it was short on functionality with odd ergonomics and an extremely heavy and hard to handle third row seat folding mechanism. 

While many may have thought the Quest was long gone, following a trend that has seen some of the largest automakers in the business (GM and Ford) drop their vans completely in place of full-size crossovers, it appears that Nissan will be back to fight another fight in the minivan segment with an all-new model for 2011. 

Nissan released an image of what we can expect yesterday, and stated the new model will go on sale in early 2011.  No details were included with the photo, but we can assume four- and six-cylinder models will be offered along with Nissan's continuously variable transmission (CVT) taking care of "shifting" duties.  Front-wheel drive will likely be the only configuration, as sales of all-wheel drive models in the van segment are too minimal to make sense with a vehicle that will not likely entertain a large percentage of the market. 

From a styling perspective the new van will likely be more mainstream than the quirky outgoing model, although a look at the large chrome appliqué above the grille, the shape of the grille itself and its headlight treatment shows that it will keep its unorthodox demeanor. 

The Quest will continue to face heavy competition from its Japanese rivals, Honda's Odyssey and Toyota's Sienna, both updated and better than ever for 2011, while the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country will continue to dominate the segment.  Other vans that could pose problems for Quest sales include Kia's Sedona and Volkswagen's new Routan. 

Yes, the minivan segment has been reduced to a total of seven models where more than a dozen once thrived, and while this might appear good for the new Quest in its challenge to even get noticed, it also speaks volumes about how tough the market is for this versatile yet stigma-plagued category.  Only time will tell if Nissan's van manages to balance styling and features that are unique enough to wow minivan buyers yet mainstream enough to appeal to the minivan segment's conservative buyer profile.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Minivan, Nissan, Quest,

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