By KBB.com Editors
Most of the Nissan Quest's minivan competitors are, stylistically, somewhat predictable, conforming to the basic notion of an engine in front and a big box behind for all the people and cargo. But, for the Quest, built at Nissan's Canton, Mississippi plant, the designers and engineers took a decidedly different tack in both exterior styling and interior execution, with a look that's modern and definitely won't get lost in a parking lot. Last year, a freshening moved the Quest a bit closer to the mainstream of the minivan market, where it's a viable alternative to offerings from Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Kia and Hyundai.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're in need of a minivan, but would enjoy taking the road less traveled, the Quest might be for you. While solidly improved on the inside, and with commendable on-road behavior, the Quest has an exterior that remains as distinctive as ever. Once inside, occupants will enjoy enormous 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 2008 Nissan Quest, with an exterior that definitely stands out in a crowd, is probably not for you. Also, if you really don't need space for seven passengers or lots of cargo, you might appreciate something that's smaller and more nimble.What's New for 2008
The SL trim level receives a power sliding left-side door, automatic on/off headlights and the RearView monitor system, while the SE gains standard Bluetooth and XM Satellite Radio.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2008 Quest shares its basic platform with Nissan's Maxima, Murano and Altima. To that end it not only delivers car-like ride and handling characteristics, but its on-the-road composure is more refined than might be expected of a minivan; you can be assured of accurate steering, competent braking and sure-footed roadholding. From a driver's standpoint, the eight-way adjustable seat contributes to improved visibility and, therefore, the probability of enhanced control. Finally, Nissan's 3.5-liter V6 and five-speed automatic transmission make for one of the better engine and transmission combinations in the segment.Favorite Features
Nissan's design team has given the Quest a shape entirely its own. Yet, the daring design doesn't in any way diminish its functionality; this is a big box with big capability, but wrapped in a stylish exterior.
The second-row seat is exceedingly supportive and, when folded, it's almost completely flat. The third row accommodates passengers well, providing genuine comfort for full-size adults. With this packaging you can carry people, or things, or both, with lots of space for the things and plenty of comfort for the people.
Thanks to last year's redo, when the dash and instrument panel received improvements in materials and textures, you'll be impressed by the interior appearance. Almost every surface is intriguing, catching your eye and begging you to touch it. Beyond the interior's tone and texture is a remarkable functionality. There is space galore, made all the better by the airy greenhouse, high ceiling (which delivers truly generous headroom) and fold-flat third-row seating. The seat design is worthy of note, looking and feeling almost like a contemporary display in an art gallery, while the steering wheel, although artfully designed, seems a little too plastic in texture.Exterior
The front of the Quest starts with a very low cowl that leads into a sharp upsweep in the middle of the front doors. The nose incorporates a well-integrated grille and headlamp assembly that sweeps across the front. Even though it's unusual, we like it, and the Quest also receives high marks for the quality of the fit and finish, with door closures that sound closer to Mercedes than minivan.Notable Standard Equipment
Standard equipment on the base Quest includes power mirrors and door locks, power windows with one-touch auto up/down on the front, air conditioning with second-row controls, tilt steering column, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD, traction control, tire-pressure monitoring and front, front-side and three-row side-curtain airbags. The S trim level adds power sliding rear passenger's-side door, power rear quarter windows, power liftgate and illuminated visor vanity mirrors. Move up to the SL and add 16-inch alloy wheels, power sliding rear driver's-side door, color information center, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, power adjustable pedals, power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, six-disc CD player, MP3 capability and upgraded speakers. The top-of-the-line SE includes 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, tilt-down mirrors, Bluetooth, power passenger's seat, memory for the driver's position, heated front seats, leather for the first and second rows, Bose audio with ten speakers and subwoofer, XM Satellite Radio and Vehicle Dynamic Control.Notable Optional Equipment
Major option packages include DVD Navigation, SkyView power sliding glass moonroof, Driver's Power Package for the S trim, a Leather Package for the SL trim and a variety of Panasonic DVD Entertainment Systems for the S, SE and SL trim levels. There are also several stand-alone options and accessories.Under the Hood
Among those manufacturers offering V6 engines in the range of three to four liters, Nissan's effort shines, and this powerplant is eminently well-suited to the task at hand. The DOHC 24-valve layout provides 235 horsepower and delivers that power, via a five-speed automatic transmission, in an entirely seamless manner, with good throttle response, excellent cruising capability and reasonable fuel economy.
235 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
240 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24
The 2008 Nissan Quest is available in four variants: A base Quest has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $26,000, while the S is around $26,500, the SL around $30,000 and the SE near $36,000. We think the SL provides the best value. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Prices to see what other buyers are currently paying for their Quests. The Quest's residual values aren't expected to be as high as those of a Honda or Toyota, and value-laden minivans from Kia and Hyundai will be pushing Nissan from below.