2007 Minivan Challenge: 2008 Nissan Quest, Week Two nissan car comparisons
Click image to enlarge


Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2008 Nissan Quest:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

Photo Gallery: 2008 Nissan Quest


By Dave and Carolyn;
edited by Paul Williams

The exterior styling of the Nissan Quest is certainly the most adventurous of all the minivans on the market today. Both Dave and Carolyn like this about the Quest, as they prefer something different/unique to a more conventional design.

But inside, other than the unusual centre stack that protrudes into the cabin (and which neither of our testers care for), the Quest doesn’t offer features or solutions that are more creative, interesting or clever than other minivans.

High points so far, are the Quest’s willing engine and predictable handling, and its value. Many features are included in this “S” version with Convenience Package and DVD.

Dave’s first impressions of the 2008 Nissan Quest

In my first impressions of the Nissan Quest I mentioned that the front seats in this van sit lower than the passenger seats, but upon closer inspection I see that the second row seats are placed equally low. This van is configured somewhat like a station wagon in that the floor section behind the middle seats is elevated, but only by a few inches (it’s not very obvious). Consequently, when the middle seats are folded down (which, as with the rear seats, is easy to do) you end up with a fairly flat floor overall; not as flat as in the Chrysler Town & Country, but flat enough for most situations in (e.g., hauling things) in my opinion.

2007 Minivan Challenge: 2008 Nissan Quest, Week Two nissan car comparisons
2008 Nissan Quest. Click image to enlarge

This is accomplished using comfortable, normal-sized, middle row seats, unlike the Town & Country’s smaller, less comfortable, middle row seats. However, unlike the Town & Country, the Nissan does not include those rather large and very useful storage compartments used to house the middle seats.

Regarding storage space, although the overall inner volume of the Nissan Quest appears just as large as in the other minivans we have tested, it would benefit from more storage compartments. For example, not unlike the Montana, this vehicle has only one large glove compartment, and the storage compartments on the front doors are small. Further, our test Quest does not include a handy, middle row console between the seats.

The more I drive the Quest, the more I must agree with Carolyn regarding the cockpit-like arrangement of the front dashboard and centre console – although aesthetically pleasing, it is confining. Despite the fact that the front seats are roomy and comfortable, you feel slightly cramped — not unlike my experience in the Mazda5 — and this seems to be due primarily to the protruding centre stack.

2007 Minivan Challenge: 2008 Nissan Quest, Week Two nissan car comparisons
2008 Nissan Quest. Click image to enlarge

Our Nissan Quest test vehicle is the S model which is the lowest priced model. Even with the convenience package included with this van (a great package including the power lift gate) the overall price is well below the $40,000 ceiling for this minivan challenge (and well below most of the minivans we have tested so far). I am very impressed by our test vehicle’s relatively low price; you certainly get a lot for the money (e.g., DVD system). However, the sound system in this van, which is easy to use, is adequate at best, a leather interior would be nice, and climate control would be great to have.

Interestingly, the SL model, which includes all of the features in our test vehicle, plus climate control and upgraded speakers (among other things), is also priced under $40,000. It’s a shame we are not testing this van because it would, in my opinion, represent a fairer comparison with the other minivans in this challenge.

Nonetheless, I am still positively impressed by the Quest’s build quality, its handling, its comfort and quietness, and its acceleration. I find the cornering lights on this vehicle to be a helpful feature when navigating at night in poorly lit conditions. Lately, we have encountered some rather inclement weather (e.g., heavy snowfall), and the Quest handles the icy roads admirably. The heating system and defroster (including the heated mirrors) work very well.

2007 Minivan Challenge: 2008 Nissan Quest, Week Two nissan car comparisons
2008 Nissan Quest. Click image to enlarge

Carolyn’s first impressions of the 2008 Nissan Quest

With each passing day I am more impressed with the exterior design of the Nissan Quest; it really stands out in this regard. This vehicle accelerates and handles very well in my opinion, and this is most noticeable when I am going up one particularly big hill on my way to work.

The Quest’s are fairly comfortable, and overall the minivan is roomy enough. However, I really do feel confined in the front row due to the design of the dashboard console (it juts out too much and wraps around your legs). In fact, it would be hard to find your feet down there and to tie up your shoelaces (if you needed to do this) because your feet and legs seem to disappear underneath.

Concerning storage, I think that the Quest needs a few more compartments and cup holders. As it stands, there are just too few spaces to put and store things, and this minivan reminds me of the Mazda 5 in this regard.

I like the way that the power sliding side doors can be operated from the exterior by simply pushing on the handle. This makes it really easy for me to open up the door if my keys have fallen or are simply not easily accessible. I also like the way that the cornering lights illuminate the way when you activate the right or left turn signals (you can see what’s beside your vehicle in the evening, as you turn). This is a really good safety and convenience feature.

2007 Minivan Challenge: 2008 Nissan Quest, Week Two nissan car comparisons
2008 Nissan Quest. Click image to enlarge

To some extent, however, I find that the interior of this minivan does not match up to its exterior. In this regard, the interior of this minivan is simply not as aesthetically unique and pleasing. While the Quest offers several handy features, in my opinion more attention could be given to its interior styling and design (e.g., the dashboard lights could be fancier, a nicer clock and/or ambience lighting might be appreciated).

I have had the opportunity to benefit from the back-up sensor which makes a clearly audible sound when you are about to back into something, and this has proved to be a very good safety feature. I like it.

So far, the Nissan Quest is impressive in terms of its exterior design (i.e., very car-like and trendy/unique looking) and driving quality (very peppy, quiet, and corners/handles well). I understand that the Quest can be purchased in a higher specification, though, and it’s unfortunate that we could not test drive a Nissan Quest in a comparable price range to the other minivans we have driven to date.

I’ll have to check, but the Quest’s gas tank doesn’t seem to be as big as some of the other family vans we’ve tested so far, and therefore I am having to stop at the gas station more frequently, which is a bit of a pain. However, the Quest does not seem to be any less fuel efficient. (Maybe the gas gauge indicates “Empty” but less is actually required to fill the tank. At 76 litres, Quest fuel tank is not appreciably smaller, compared with 77.6 for the Chrysler Town & Country, 79 L for Toyota Sienna and 79 L for Honda Odyssey. Ed.).


Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2008 Nissan Quest:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

Photo Gallery: 2008 Nissan Quest




About Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an Ottawa-based freelance automotive writer and senior writer for Autos. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).