Here's an observation I've made:

As far as driving the vehicles, I've noticed that the Pathfinder is noticeably better on the road than the Quest. Granted, the Quest is a bit taller and boxier, but as far as family-carriers go, the Pathfinder is the one I'd rather live with. The CVT is almost unnoticeable for normal driving and the ride is smooth and comfortable. However, despite the fact that it's a bit lighter, acceleration in the Quest feels labored. Perhaps some different programming for the CVT is in order, but under throttle and merging onto the highway, it doesn't feel like it's got enough grunt to keep up.

However, when looking at their direct competitors from Honda, the Odyssey is much better on the road than the Pilot. The Pilot, to me, drives like an old truck. It's bouncy and not that pleasant, while the Odyssey is nice and smooth. Perhaps the ride height and drivetrain are a partial cause: the 6-speed auto is as good an automatic as I've ever driven in a family car. In the Pilot, the 5-speed seems like it's hunting for gears between 35-50 mph depending on grade and throttle position.

Now, it's not unreasonable for people to cross-shop SUVs and vans, but it seems that Honda sells a lot of Pilots to people who can't admit to themselves they should get a van. Nissan doesn't sell many Quests at all, but Pathfinders are everywhere.

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What are your thoughts?