If you recall the Nissan Quest from the 1990s and from the 2000s, the current minivan may or may not come as a surprise. Each generation of Nissan's family hauler has been a distinctly styled vehicle unrelated to the others. Most recently, it was a rather swoopy-looking vehicle that broke new ground for the segment--sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
This time around, the Quest relies on a Japanese-market van for its fundamentals, so it's by nature more upright, and more boxy than before. In a way, it's faintly hip, especially from the sides, where it bears a passing resemblance to the Ford Flex. At the front, Nissan's stylists have done a fair job of making the nose look smaller and lower, and lighter too with large air inlets. It's capped at the rear with large taillights, faired in for better aerodynamic duty.
Inside, the Quest strays a lot less from the minivan norm, but you'd have to sum up the look as modern-retro Japanese, with its stacking of rectangles and plain-looking LCD displays. There’s a wide span of woodgrain trim across the dash for relief from the plastics, and it’s not too objectionable, but the shiny gray plastic surrounding the utilitarian-looking climate and audio controls doesn’t match it well. The transmission lever lines up vertically on the center stack, and it blocks the driver's view of some knobs and buttons.
Atop these controls, Nissan parks an LCD screen slots. The screen is offered on mid-level models, where it’s a simpler 4.3-inch LCD. On top models the screen grows to 8 inches and incorporates more audio and navigation controls. A deck of buttons sits at the screens’ feet, piano-key style. If you're not accustomed to playing, you'll wish you'd studied, as you figure out the Quest's audio controls.