2007 Nissan QuestPosted on February 24th, 2007
by Jim Woodman
When I first started reviewing new automobiles in 1992, one of my biggest eye-openers was how car-like minivans had become. The old “soccer mom” minivan stigma had certainly skewed my thinking and perception on minivans and I was sure I’d never own one.
Fast-forward 15 years and not only do I have a greater appreciation for minivans, I own a 2002 Honda Odyssey. With three children under eight, my wife and I have been sold on the conveniences and safety aspects of our minivan.In 2002, after narrowing our choices to a few minivans, the Honda won because of its folding rear “magic seat.” Had I been in the market for a minivan today, I’d be pretty overwhelmed with my choices. Every minivan’s jumped on the fold-away seat bandwagon and it’s nearly impossible to not find all the creature comforts, horsepower and safety features you’d expect in any luxury sedan.
Redesigned 2007 Model
With these thoughts in mind, I eagerly anticipated test driving the redesigned 2007 Nissan Quest. My most recent Quest experience was at the 2004 San Diego Auto Show where I couldn’t get past the very controversial center console dash. The gauges were placed over a tilted, and very odd-looking round center console. Above the steering wheel, where we’re all used to seeing gauges, there were none. I assume Nissan was hoping to appeal to those wanting something a little funkier and different. But it didn’t work. After a couple years, with very poor sales, they realized some modifications were in order.
I’m pleased to report that the 2007 is quite possibly one of the more appealing interiors in any minivan. For starters, the driver’s console was completely changed and gauges are now found above the steering wheel. They’ve still got a center console but it’s not as parallel to the floor as its predecessor model. Gauges were all easy to read and knobs were well-positioned. My only slight gripe, and an adjustment period might have solved this, was the fact the radio preset buttons were stacked vertically onto each other and separated by the radio. It was an effort to reach over to preset buttons 4, 5 and 6.
An 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support and memory function ensured I’d always be able to reset my adjustments after my wife drove the car. Heated front seats and separate rear heating and air conditioning controls are also a nice touch for keeping the interior nice and comfy in winter or summer.
While I don’t normally rant about color, I loved the “Chili Leather” interior. Not only did it seem to class up and differentiate the vehicle from every beige, grey or black leather seat combo on the market, but it complemented the exterior Chestnut color exterior very well. Again, not to be overly critical, but even though the little “pores” in the leather seats looked cool, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if my two-year-old spilled his chocolate milk onto any of the seats.
Sky View from all Rows
In addition to a sunroof with one-touch operation and automatic reverse, the second and third rows featured glass panels in the ceiling that allowed my children to see the sky – very cool feature for the little ones.
Speaking of the little ones, they loved the integrated DVD player – with separate screens for the second and third row. Two wireless headphones with independent volume controls round out the package but, with three children, I found myself listening to Sponge Bob way more than I wanted. Okay, I admit, I was jealous I couldn’t see the screen.
Just for grins I timed my wife, with a stopwatch, to see how long it would take to install our two-year-old’s car seat. She had not seen the interior before and I told her not to rush. We were both amazed that she had both side latches, the rear clip and seat belt threaded through in one minute, 41 seconds.
And no description of a minivan nowadays would be complete without discussing the foldaway third row seat. The Quest scores big points by having the rear headrests fold down onto the seat via a quick release handle behind the seatback. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve removed those headrests from my Odyssey and never had a convenient place to store them. This is a great idea from Nissan. A spring-load feature helps even the smallest person easily lift the seat out of its floor space. Folding the seat into its compartment, however, takes a little getting used to as the seat and backrest tend to lock into place – at a 90 degree angle from each other. I needed to get used to not having the two lock in place when stowing away the third row. I also would’ve like to see a 60/40 split option for the rear stoway seat.
The second row seats were very easy to fold down. A simple quick release lever lets each second row seat fold down onto itself and into the lower foot well in front. So with very little effort, one can have a complete cargo van without removing any of the seats.
From the exterior, the Quest scores with its bold styling that separates it from the typical boxy-looking minivan. The grille features chrome inserts and the front bumper fascia is more angular. Door handles are now chromed rather than body-colored and chrome-finished roof racks round out its unique styling. The Quest is available in four trim levels. All trims come with the same five-speed automatic transmission. A four-speed unit, which used to be offered in lower-end models, is history. Nissan’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivers a very respectable 235 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque.
The Quest had no problem accelerating from a dead stop or merging into freeway traffic. The automatic transmission shifted very smoothly and road noise was very minimal at highway speeds.
Concerning safety, the Quest gives you air bag coverage in all three rows. In addition to front and side impact air bags for the front row passengers, the second and third rows are protected by a roof-mounted curtain side impact system. My Quest also featured the Michelin PAX® System which allows you to drive up to 55 mph for up to 125 miles with zero tire pressure. Add standard traction control and a tire-pressure monitor system in addition to anti-lock brakes and everything else you normally find on a vehicle nowadays and you’ll know the Quest scores very well for protecting your family.
As I mentioned up front in this article, if I were in the market for a minivan today I’d certainly feel like a kid in a candy store. The options and features from all the manufacturers are quite overwhelming but also very similar. When considering the Quest, I’d certainly put it high on my list simply because it’s a little different looking then you’re typical box-style minivan and it still delivers everything, and more, that you’d expect in a high-end minivan.
Base price: $33,900
Horsepower: 235 Hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 240 lbs.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
0-60mph: 8.5 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: Standard
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 18/25 mpg city/highway
Comments: Test model was a loaded 3.5 SE that included the optional technology package ($800); Foldaway Seat Package ($750); Navigation & PAX System ($2,650) and DVD Entertainment ($2,000).
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