KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Since its initial launch as the joint venture sibling of the Mercury Villager, Nissan's Quest has been the QUESTion mark in the Nissan lineup. Those questions continued with the latest iteration, introduced as a solo Nissan effort in 2004. Whereas most of its competition embraces the bland in pursuit of the minivan mainstream, Nissan took a decidedly different tack in both exterior styling and interior execution. With an all-new vehicle emanating from an all-new Canton, Mississippi plant, both quality and marketing resultsat launchwere decidedly mixed. For 2007 Nissan performs one of its most aggressive mid-model "freshenings" ever. And while little of the money spent is evident on the outside, the interior represents another Nissan shift, but this time it's a shift nearer the sweetspot of the minivan marketplace.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're in need/want/desire of a minivan, but would enjoy taking the road less traveled, the Quest is your one-and-only. While solidly improved on the inside, and with an on-road dynamic that was never in question, the Quest sheetmetal remains as polarizing as ever. In point of fact, it is arguably the most provocative skin this side of the English Channel. Get past the exterior and you'll enjoy a boatload of utility in combination with good performance, great flexibility and one of the industry's best powertrains.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you don't enjoy drawing attention to yourself, the Quest is probably not drawn for you. Even with deeply tinted windows it's not the van in which to disappear, making it wholly inappropriate for the Drive-In. Also, like its marketplace brethren in the Honda and Toyota showrooms, this is a full seven-passenger serving whether you're needing it or not. With the additional bulk of its full-size spec comes fewer parking choices and (typically) more fuel consumption.
What's Significant About This Car?
Most vehicles get some sort of freshening/revamp in the middle of their product cycles. Rarely, however, are those mods this extensiveor expensive. The old interior, whose material choices made Kia's Sephia look like a Bentley, has been sent packing, replaced with an all-new instrument panel, available front-row center console, in-dash Vehicle Information System (standard on SE, optional on SL) and fold-flat third-row seat. On the outside the Quest benefits from a new grille, front fascia and chrome door handles. In combination with design and material enhancements inside, the overall impression is considerably more upscale and, at least inside, significantly less "funky".
The 2007 Quest continues to share its basic platformthe Advanced FF-Lwith Nissan's Maxima, Murano and Altima. To that end it not only enjoys a car-like ride and handling dynamic, but one whose on-road composure is perhaps more refined than the norm. You won't, to be sure, enter a Quest in motorsports competition, but you can be assured of accurate steering, competent braking and sure-footed roadholding. From a driver's standpoint, the eight-way adjustable seat provides a hip point as highor lowas you'd want it, giving you better visibility and the perception of better control. Finally, there's nothing to fault with the combination of Nissan's 3.5-liter V6 and five-speed automatic. It's simply one of the best engine/transmission combos at the price point.
We enjoy the functionality of the minivan, but wish designers took more chances in the segment. Nissan's design team has answered our call by giving the Quest a shape entirely its own. And the daring design doesn't in any way diminish its functionality. This is a big box with big capabilityit simply doesn't wear the skin of a two-box design.
Although it may not roll off the tongue like Chrysler's Stow 'N Go, and won't provide the concealed stowage of Chrysler's offering, we like Nissan's Fold-Away seating very much. When raised, the second-row seat is exceedingly supportive, and when folded, it's almost completely flat. The third row accommodates passengers well, providing genuine comfort to full-size adults. With this packaging you can carry people, or things, or both, with space for the things and comfort for the people.
Beyond the aforementioned redo, where dash and instrument panel are all-new and accompanied by a wholesale improvement in materials and textures, you'll be impressed by the significant upgrade in interior appearance. Almost every surfacesave the S model's steering wheelis an intriguing surface, catching the eye and begging you to touch it. This is in sharp contrast to its predecessor, which might have caused you to close your eyes and keep your hands in your pockets. Beyond the interior's tone and texture is a near-unbelievable functionality. There is space galore, made all the better by the airy greenhouse, high ceiling (truly generous headroom) and fold-flat third-row seating. The seat design is notable, looking and feeling like a contemporary display in a gallery, while the steering wheel in our test S model, although artfully designed, is all too plastic in texture.
While the majority of minivans are unified in their designsthe front half of the vehicle looks as if it belongs to the rear halfthere's intentional discord designed into the Quest sheetmetal. That discord begins at the front fender with its impossibly low cowl and continues, unabated, through the sharp upsweep taking place in the middle of the front doors. A better-integrated grille and headlamp assembly reduces the visual disconnect, but this remains as far from the mainstream, minivan-wise, as Tiny Tim. We like it, but back in the days when RenaultNissan's parentwas still in the U.S., some of us liked the Le Car and Fuego, too. Kudos go to the high quality fit and finish, with door closures sounding closer to Mercedes than Mazda.
Notable Standard Equipment
In a category catering to a family-and-convenience-oriented clientele, the S level Quest has much to offer. Passive safety is provided by the typical array of airbags, including a roof-mounted side-curtain airbag. Active safety is supplied by an all-independent suspension, four-wheel disc braking with anti-lock braking system (ABS) and traction control. Notably, a rear sonar system is standard on the S, SL and SE models, enabling the driver to detect things located immediately behind the rearward-moving van. And if your hauling needs exceed the Quest's interior volume, roof rails, too, are standard.
Notable Optional Equipment
Nissan's marketing team has created a significant gap between the comfortably-equipped SL and loaded SE . For those wishing to split the cost difference, consider the SkyView Glass-paneled Roof package. Looking up, you'll enjoy the openness of glass roof panels in combination with a power sliding sunroof. Looking in, driver and passengers will benefit from the Technology package, included when you opt for SkyView. The Technology package supplies a rearview monitor, in-dash LCD color monitor, dual-zone Automatic Temperature Control and automatic headlamps.
Under the Hood
Among those manufacturers offering a mid-displacement (between three and four liters) V6, Nissan's efforts shine. Whether this powerplant is placed in the Quest, Altima or G35, it seems eminently well-suited to the task at hand. The DOHC 24-valve layout provides 235 horsepower, a five-horsepower drop from 2006 due to a new SAE rating system. And it delivers that power, via a five-speed automatic transmission, in an entirely seamless manner, with both good throttle response and excellent cruising capability. Under the hood, it's your typical transverse installation, with good access to battery and fluids, but limited access to anything else.
235 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
240 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25
The 2007 Quest is available in four variants: a basic Quest has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $25,305, the S has an MSRP of $26,605, the SL has an MSRP $28,455 and the SE has an MSRP of $35,255. All prices include a $605 destination fee. We think the SL provides the best value, offering all of the S content along with numerous upgrades, including 16-inch alloy wheels, an eight-way power driver's seat, power-adjustable foot pedals and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Prices to see what other buyers are currently paying for their Quests. For those of you believing the true cost of a car to be its purchase price minus its eventual value as a used car, it's worth noting that the Quest's resale won't be as high as that of a Honda or Toyota. Also, value-laden vans from Kia and Hyundai will be pushing Nissan from below.