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Buying used: Nissan’s redesigned Quest has held its value well

2011 Nissan Quest

Ted Laturnus/The Globe and Mail

If you're in the market for a 2010 Nissan Quest, you're out of luck. Why? There is no such animal. It was absent from the market that year.

The previous generation was, by the company's own admission, a disappointment, so it pulled the plug, went back to the drawing boards and re-did just about everything. With its unorthodox styling, off-putting interior layout and comparatively high price tag, the previous version missed the mark and buyers stayed away. Nissan went back to its roots and brought the 2011 model out in mid-2010.

Power for the reborn Quest was supplied by Nissan's ubiquitous VQ series V-6 that, in this case, displaced 3.5 litres and delivered 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. It was mated to a CVT automatic transmission only and performance for the 2,000-kilogram Quest was adequate, but not earth-shattering. By this stage of the game, Nissan was fully committed to CVT technology, and it's arguable if this was the best transmission choice for this particular vehicle. Some like it, lots don't.

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This iteration of the Quest utilized Nissan's D platform, which was also found in the Murano and Altima and Maxima sedans. It gave the Quest good around-town handling and manoeuvrability, with a comparatively tight turning radius. You could actually execute a U-turn in one go on most typical two-lane streets, and low-speed manoeuvres, such as parking, were straightforward and undemanding.

With seating for seven, and a unique hideaway rear storage compartment, it also featured a stiffer body than its predecessor, and was wider, with a lower step-in height and improved fuel economy.

Like the one that came before it, this was made in Japan.

Quest had a fairly high standard equipment level. Roof rails, heated outside mirrors, push-button start, fold-flat rear seats and first- and second-row centre console were standard issue and, as you moved up through the model range, you could get power sliding doors, power front seats, power rear tailgate, leather interior, Bluetooth, a Navi system, larger 18-inch wheels and tires, rear entertainment system, "panorama" power sunroof and window blinds. Four different trim levels were offered, and you could also order Nissan's blind-warning system, which alerts the driver, via a small mirror-mounted light, if there is a car in his or her blind spot.

One safety recall from Transport Canada to report, and it's a beauty. On some vehicles, if you're decelerating or coasting down a hill and have less than a quarter of a tank of fuel, the engine will starve itself and stall out. That means a complete and instant loss of power. This is due to a glitch in the fuel pump control program, and affects 2012 models as well.

NHTSA has this problem on record, too, with 14 technical service bulletins to go along with it. These include a sometimes unresponsive cruise control, issues with the power door locks, "clicking, clunking, buzzing, thumping, or knocking" noises coming from the engine during acceleration and problems filling up the gas tank.

There are 30 complaints from owners, virtually all of which concern numerous problems with the low fuel level/wonky fuel pump. According to some owners, this problem can crop up at any time, including while you're stopped at a traffic light. In short, don't let this one get below a quarter of a tank of gas and, if you're considering buying this year of Quest, have this problem checked out.

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Aside from the fuel pump problem, Consumer Reports likes – but doesn't love – this version of the Quest. It scores well in most areas, with the exception of the audio system and body hardware. C.R. gives it an "average" rating, observing that reliability of new models was a predicted 17 per cent below average. Comments from owners: "Lots of room for six passengers, with four passengers, lots of luggage room," "feels supportive in the front seats" and "good power, pickup and amenities for the price."

Market research firm J.D. Power gives the 2011 Quest an average predicted reliability rating, noting that it received the highest possible crash ratings for front, side, and rear impact collisions from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

From a base price of less than $30,000 for the S, this iteration of the Quest has held up reasonably well. Prices range from the high teens/low $20,000 mark to the high $20,000s – low $30,000s for a loaded LE.

Tech specs

2011 Nissan Quest

Original Base Price: $29,998; Black Book: $22,850-$31,125; Red Book: $18,075-$28,725

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Engine: 3.5-litre V-6 Horsepower/Torque: 260 hp/240 lb-ft

Transmission: CVT

Drive: Front-wheel

Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 11.1 city/8.1 highway; regular gas

Alternatives: Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan, Volkswagen Routan, Kia Sedona

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