The Nissan Quest undergoes several changes for 2006. All models receive available factory-installed satellite radio, illuminated cruise control switches, and new Red Brawn exterior colour. The new 3.5 S Special Edition trim includes power right-hand door, power liftgate, power third row vent windows, in-dash six-CD changer with upgraded speakers, rear sonar system, illuminated steering wheel audio switches and Special Edition badges. Supplemental side airbags are available as a stand-alone option for the 3.5 SL, or part of the Leather and Bose Package; heated seats are added to the SL Leather and Bose Package; a front-row folding centre tray table is standard on 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE; a seven-inch colour screen with rearview monitor is standard on 3.5 SE and available on 3.5 SL; there is an available SL Special Edition Package; and Michelin PAX run-flat tires are available on the 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE.

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. Although all models use the 3.5-litre, it’s nevertheless indicated in the trim line names: 3.5 S, 3.5 SL, 3.5 SL Special Edition, and 3.5 SE.

The 3.5 S includes four-speed automatic transmission, tire pressure monitoring system, 16-inch steel wheels, traction control, manual sliding doors, privacy glass, manual liftgate, heated cloth seats, front and rear air conditioning, CD with eight speakers, cruise control, power locks with keyless entry and rear intermittent wiper.

The 3.5 SL adds a five-speed automatic, 16-inch alloy wheels, power passenger sliding door, power liftgate, roof rails, power-adjustable pedals, dual-zone automatic climate control, upgraded speakers, wheel-mounted audio controls, front-row folding tray, automatic headlamps, HomeLink garage door opener, auto-dimming rearview mirror, eight-way power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped wheel and front seat side-impact airbags.

The 3.5 SL Special Edition adds driver’s side power sliding door, puddle lights, rear sonar system, six-CD stereo, and rearview camera.

The 3.5 SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, Vehicle Dynamic Control, fog lights, power sunroof, leather captain’s chairs, adjustable armrests, Bose Audio System with ten speakers, DVD entertainment system, driver’s position memory, tilt-down passenger mirror, and four-way power passenger seat.

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. 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 the instrument panel is still a little odd.

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