Honda Odyssey Vs. Nissan QuestEnlarge Photo
Deciding factors at the showroom, for minivans, usually comes down to just a handful of factors: safety, flexibility, and features. So before you read down to the handy table below, we'll spill the beans: the Odyssey handily wins our head-to-head minivan face-off with the Quest. The Quest does have some virtues that can't be matched by the big Honda van: it's smaller and thus more friendly in an urban environment, and steers as well or better than the Odyssey. The Quest is to most eyes the best-looking of today's minivans, too, with its bulldog nose and its Flex-like greenhouse.
Beyond those attributes, though, the Odyssey just clobbers the Quest. In safety scores and features, it circles the bases around the Nissan: the Honda's a Top Safety Pick and earns five stars from NHTSA, while the Quest lags in roof-strength tests and in high-tech safety features like blind-spot monitors. Furthermore, Honda has upgraded the structure somewhat for 2014 and has achieved top scores in the IIHS small overlap frontal test.
Flexibility is king in the minivan realm, and the Odyssey's three-row seating is much more spacious and useful than the seven-passenger configuration in the Quest. The eight-passenger, three-row Odyssey has a third-row seat that folds flat into the floor to create a longer load space; the Quest's third row folds down but not into the floor, leaving tiered cargo spaces that can be convenient or a nuisance, depending on your needs. Neither the Odyssey or the Quest have fold-away second-row seats, but the Honda's second-row seats tilt and slide outward for more room. The Quest used to have a cabin with two rows of disappearing seats like Chrysler's minivans, which makes the new one such a letdown.
For entertaining the troops, you'll have to buy more expensive minivans, regardless of brand. Both Honda and Nissan offer goodies like a DVD entertainment system and power sliding doors and tailgates, and neither has the trick features like Chrysler's in-car wireless internet or Toyota's massive 16.4-inch split-screen entertainment system. Although the HondaVAC system that's included in top Odyssey Touring Elite models does count as a trick feature; it's marvelous and well integrated.
Finally, for performance, both the Quest and Odyssey depend on V-6 engines for performance, the Honda sporting either a five- or six-speed automatic and the Quest using a continuously variable transmission to eke out better acceleration and gas mileage. The Quest handles pretty well, nearly as well as the benchmark Honda, but its drivetrain emits a little more noise and does a little worse on city fuel economy than the Honda--though the Odyssey's best highway gas mileage comes only on the priciest models with the six-speed automatic. Neither model offers all-wheel drive, either: Toyota's Sienna is the only minivan left in that market segment.
Some recent, significant improvements to the Odyssey have given it an edge for 2014, if it didn't have one already. A mild styling refresh includes a blacked-out grille trim, new LED lamps, dark headlamp surrounds, and a new bright cross-bar grille. Lane-departure warning and forward collision warning systems are also newly offered.
Fully trimmed, both the Quest and Odyssey easily top $40,000, a number that would make us nervous in the face of unfunded college obligations. Moderately equipped, the Odyssey still strikes us as the better buy thanks to superior safety scores and its better interior room--though if you truly want a frugal, flexible minivan with a rock-bottom price, we'd also seek out the very respectable four-cylinder Toyota Sienna or better yet, the value-packed versions of the Dodge Grand Caravan, the functionality and feature leader of all minivans, period.
|2014 Honda Odyssey||2014 Nissan Quest|
|With the 2014 Odyssey, Honda continues to innovate and offer up the most space-efficient interior for families, while driving better than most crossovers and SUVs.||The Nissan Quest may drive well, but its below-average seating and safety put it behind the rest of the minivan options on the road today.|
|Read moreThe lightning bolt does it: somehow the Odyssey stands out from the minivan crowd.||Read moreThe Quest looks distinctive, with a glassy greenhouse resembling one of our favorite crossovers.|
|Read moreHonda's baked in some of the best minivan steering and ride quality with the Odyssey.||Read moreThe Quest has a strong V-6 and good steering, but we'd swap out its CVT if we could.|
|Read moreWith some of the most useful, comfortable seats in minivans, the Odyssey's only a second-best bet to the Chrysler boxes.||Read moreThe Quest has a fold-flat seating system, but it's not tucked away efficiently--and that robs interior space.|
|Read moreThe Odyssey is one of the safest vehicles you can buy--and Bluetooth and a rearview/sideview camera are now standard.||Read moreWith a low rating in the roof-crush crash test, the Quest doesn't earn safety scores as high as its competition.|
|Read moreHonda's doing better with features in less expensive versions of the Odyssey, but the latest safety and infotainment gear is reserved for the Touring Elite.||Read moreYou'll have to spend more than $30,000 on a Quest to get the features we'd require.|
|Read moreThe Odyssey has the best fuel economy of any minivan, period.||Read moreThe combination of a CVT and a powerful six-cylinder nets the Quest good, but not stellar, fuel-economy figures.|
|from $28,825||from $26,220|
|from $26,366||from $24,710|
|Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway|
|Front Leg Room (in)|
|Second Leg Room (in)|
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