Introduced in 2004, the Nissan Quest undergoes minor changes, all of them designed for increased value. All three models feature overhead mood lighting, front-seat active head restraints and a vehicle security system as standard equipment, instead of options as they were in 2004. The 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE have a standard power sliding passenger-side door, power liftgate, power rear quarter windows and rear sonar; they can also be added as a package to the base model.

The Quest minivan is built on an oversized Altima platform, and its 3.5-litre engine is a detuned version of that found in the Nissan Z. There are two transmissions, a four-speed and five-speed, and all models seat seven.

The base 3.5 S features four-speed automatic transmission, front and rear air conditioning, power front windows, power heated mirrors, cruise control, CD player with eight speakers, heated front seats, floor mats, second-row captain’s chairs, three-passenger third-row seat, 16-inch steel wheels, opening rear quarter windows and automatic intermittent wipers.

The 3.5 SL adds dual climate control zones, five-speed automatic transmission, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, power-adjustable pedals, separate rear audio control, garage door opener and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The 3.5 SE adds a full-length glass sunroof with electric front section, leather interior, six-disc CD with ten speakers, driver’s position memory, DVD system, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Uniquely and attractively styled, the Quest proves that minivan design doesn’t have to be boring. This is a huge vehicle, with plenty of space for passengers and cargo; Nissan claims the sliding doors are the widest-opening among all front-wheel-drive minivans. The emphasis here is on creature comforts, with even the base models offering such amenities as heated seats.

The third row of seats disappears completely, and while the second-row seats stay above ground, they do fold down flat, offering an enormous cargo area that will hold the ubiquitous four-by-eight sheet of plywood with the tailgate closed (how many people really haul such building supplies is another question). The Quest doesn’t drive like a typical minivan; handling is decent for this type of vehicle. But road imperfections tend to bump and ripple through it, and only Buck Rogers really feels at home behind that freaky centre console.

The Quest is built in Canton, Mississippi.

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