I am also new to this website but I am not a newbie when it comes to CVTs. I first drove a CVT with my 2011 Nissan Rouge SV. I have been driving manual transmissions all my life but had to settle for an automatic so that my wife can drive too.
Before buying the Rouge, I did all my research. I heard about the engine drone and some other stuff but overall I liked the Rogue compared to its rivals. The CVT on my Rogue did cause engine drone at high acceration and was a bit slow to pick up speed. However, it was very fuel efficient and quiet once I learned how to adjust my driving styles and appreciate the CVT to my advantage. The CVT is not designed for regular 0-60 MPH tests, instead it is designed for smooth and gearless shifting compared against conventional automatics. Moreover, I noticed there is a CVT lag, especially in cold winter mornings. This was remedied by simply warming up the vehicle and waiting for the gauge to hit pass the cold level.
Now, my second experience with a CVT is with my current 2013 Nissan Quest SV. It was with a heavy heart that we had to trade-in our Rouge last January 2013 because we welcomed our second child. I noticed that the CVT is more compatible with the Quest’s V6 engine because there’s no more engine drone and its more smoother. However, fuel consumption is disappointing at an average of 12 miles per gallon in Chicago driving conditions this winter. How much is your average?
I personally think the Quest drives just fine from a full stop. I feel there is plenty of power as the engine would roar and the van would pounce if accelaration is pressed so sudden. We cannot expect this minivan to drive and accelerate like a sedan because it is totally a different machine , as it is much heavier and less aerodynamic as well. Just as a hatchback drives differently from a pickup truck. Perhaps, your driving expectations are still fixated with that of a sedan. A simple acceptance that you are now driving a totally different machine can make a lot of difference in your driving attitude.
Initially, I also experienced the “jerk” while turning at corners and shifting my foot from pedal to pedal. I remedied this by taking corners at more controlled speeds. Slight “jerking” while going to a full stop is normal. It is called engine braking, which is very useful in reducing speeds without braking in manual transmission vehicles. I think Nissan calls this the EBD. I actually do not feel this “jerking” while stopping at red lights on my Quest.
As for the fuel gauge, I cannot say that it reads inaccurately as I have never experienced any trouble. Once the gauge hits half full, I replenish it immediately. This is important, especially in cold weather states as the bitter cold can effect the “floater” in the tank and alter fuel gauge accuracy. I suggest you replenish your tank immediately once it reaches half full to preempt any issues.
Lastly, for the brakes. Here I agree that the Quest’s brakes are not providing superb stopping power considering its has four huge ventilated disc brakes. In fact, according to Edmunds.com, Quest took a lot longer stopping distance compared to other minivans in their brake tests. Because of this facts and experience, I adjusted my driving style even more. I always approach intersections with more caution and at lower speeds. I always observe speed limits and never tailgate. Specially, if I know the orange light is about to come on.
Overall, the Quest is a very good minivan compared to others. I love driving it around Chicago and the freeway. A little change in driving style is all that is needed. Good luck.