If I didn’t have kids, I would still drive a mini-van, in fact, I drove a mini-van in high school and for a brief period during college. True story. Of course, it was my parents’ vehicle in high school and I inherited it after moving away to school.
It was the party van when I was behind the wheel – only because it fit so many passengers that I quickly became the official designated driver for every occasion. Of course, that meant I had to spend the night wherever we were if alcohol was involved but that was fine with me. I could sleep in the back comfortably with the seats down. I’d use blankets and a sleeping bag to stay warm so it was perfect for me for so many reasons.
My snowboard fit perfectly in the back as well, so the seats usually remained folded down. I’d use the back to get dressed and undressed after a day on the hill.
For a small period after this mini-van stage, I did drive smaller cars. I drove a Plymouth Horizon, a 1967 VW Beetle and a 1999 Honda Civic. The Civic was what I was driving when my first son was born. It didn’t take too long to realize that it wasn’t the most convenient vehicle to get a car seat in and out of after having a c-section. I hit my head one too many times backing out of the back seat after getting him settled into his spot. It got old really fast, although I do wish I had the luxury of having my mid-life crisis car on hand as well.
The third generation Nissan Quest came out in early 2004 and with its unique design (at the time), it appealed to me in many ways. I purchased a brand new SL edition when my son was just 4 months old. It was the perfect upgrade for a new mom. The features were great, especially the automatic doors and the fact that I could sit in the back row seat to breastfeed, change his diaper and easily store the stroller along with groceries and large boxes of diapers without compromise.
When I moved (two times in the last two years), the seats folded down to reveal the massive space where I was able to fit dozens of boxes, furniture and pretty much every single one of my possessions. And now that I have a new baby, I’m revisiting the back row to breastfeed and change his diaper. And, once again, the Costco trips are much easier with the automatic back door that allows room for the big boxes of items we stock up on every month.
Recently, I had the opportunity to test drive the new 2011 Nissan Quest and although I didn’t have my kids with me at the time (I was pregnant with Baby #2) I fell in love with the new features that make this 4th generation mini-van even more appealing than my current vehicle (the 2004 Nissan Quest).
The back seats go down now with the touch of a button and the windows roll down in the second row where my kids would be. My oldest son would love this feature. He always complains that his window doesn’t open. I know we’d all appreciate the dual opening glass moonroof. The Clean Air System is also an exciting feature since it filters out the cigarette smoke coming from the car in front of you (my biggest pet peeve while driving).
The body of this mini-van stands out again as it does not look like a mini-van nor does it look like a boxy SUV. Driving it was a dream. It felt like a luxury vehicle and (maybe because my kids weren’t in the back) it did not feel like I was driving a big car with room for 7 passengers.
My family is visiting soon and I’m eager to put the 2011 Nissan Quest to the ultimate test. I’m waiting to find out if we’ll be able to have an extended test drive in March so that each of the seats can be utilized and we can truly check out all of the features and get the full experience of having the car in our possession for more than a few hours.
If I didn’t have kids, I would still drive a mini-van and the 2011 Nissan Quest would be the one I would choose if I could.
Nissan provided me with a spa treatment and lunch on the day of my #NissanQuestDrive experience.
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