Nissan makes its minivan even better
The too-small original Nissan Quest couldn’t compete effectively in the mainstream minivan market. So the designers went back to their computers and when the second-generation Quest appeared in 2004 it was every bit as spacious and useful as the big boys in the family hauling game.
But Nissan also decided minivans didn’t have to be boring, so the Quest came with cutting-edge, futuristic looks and a cleverly designed cabin that was anything but dull.
The only interior miscue lay in the instrument cluster, shaped like a big pie plate and stuck in the centre of the dash rather than in front of the driver.
For 2007, that has been fixed, along with upgraded trim quality.
After what Nissan calls “a great deal of comment,” the cluster has been moved to the conventional position, behind the steering wheel. Not only is it easier to watch your speed, the buttons for the audio and climate control systems have also grown in size, too.
The CD feeder slot still lies below all the switchgear in the centre console, but is now joined by an audio-in jack. This means it is plug-and-play compatible with iPods and other MP3 players.
For those who crave more entertainment, there’s an available in-dash six-disc CD player and Bluetooth hands-free phone system. Everyone sitting behind the driver can benefit from the two large fold-down LCD screens. But because the rear HVAC controls are mounted off to one side of the van, it’s a fair stretch for passengers sitting across from it.
Those looking for maximum cargo and passenger capacity should pay extra attention to the Quest. That’s because it’s the biggest minivan around in terms of internal space. The third-row seats fold flat while the middle seats fold into the floor. But the floor doesn’t end up being completely flat. The end result is a cargo area that’s big, but a bit bumpy. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about removing the headrests any more — they fold down as well. The available SkyView glass-panelled roof makes for a brighter interior, as well.
Three trim levels share a carryover 3.5-litre, 235 hp V6 engine, but the 5-speed automatic transmission has been improved with wider gear ratios to facilitate easier highway passing.
Pricing starts at $32,498 for the very well-equipped 3.5 S base model, ramping up to $36,998 for the mid-range 3.5 SL and $46,998 for the loaded top-line SE.
For a handsome blend of space, style and a sporty driving experience, there’s very little that can touch the Quest. Particularly with eye-catching looks, the open-air feel of that SkyView roof, and the minivan segment’s widest-opening sliding doors.
2007 Nissan Quest