Nissan Quest Versus Honda Element

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    I know – this is a weird one. Essentially, this is the story of how we came to own a Nissan Quest.

    In 2003 we were newly pregnant and coming through the first spring in a new house. We had a lease on a Mazda Protege coming to an end and lots of errands to run. We had thought about minivans, but came to the conclusion they were too big and too expensive. The Element, with its expanisve cargo room and utilitarian features won us over. For those two years, everything was great. The suicide foors provided ample space to get the kid in & out; while being able to lift up on seat gave us all the utility cargo room we needed. This year came kid #2.

    And the end of the Honda Element. We were getting by, but the suicide doors are only alright if you have plenty of space to swing them open. You can normally give one side enough space, but not both. The trunk is okay sized, but we were fulling it to capacity (and more) with the kids’ stuff. The utility was gone – two car seats prohibit you from lifting the seats up without a protracted LATCH effort before and after each run to Lowe’s or Home Depot.

    I should also note that filling the trunk to capacity is a safety issue in such “cute utes.” Your rear crumple zone is GONE when you fill the trunk, so the rear seats will take all the impact from a harsh rear-end collision. Something I didn’t like at all with two kids in those seats.

    So we began our minivan search anew, and you can read my other comparisons and add your comments in this section. We obviously landed on the Nissan Quest. Size was a big factor. Having the constraints of the Honda Element, moving into one of the largest minivans was encouraging. In fact, I can’t see how they refer to the Nissan Quest as a “mini” van. Another great factor was retaining the pep and power of the Element. With 160 HP from the 4 cylinder VTEC, the Element responded very well to spirited driving. The Quest as well, with its legendary VQ engine, has vital energy to entrall my wife with her very first V6. Finally, both vehicles have very modern looks — something we were both very happy to keep.

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