2008 Nissan Quest
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

Since the beginning of the Minivan Challenge, our test family has looked forward to driving the Nissan Quest. They were pleased that it was scheduled at the end of the series, as they felt they would be ending on a high note; perhaps in their preferred vehicle.

Although daring in its design, the Quest was not quite the vehicle that Dave and Carolyn hoped it would be.

Perhaps that avant-garde exterior promises too much, because inside the Quest turned out to be unexciting. The one area that is unique – the swoopy cockpit design – was a feature that was not appreciated by our test family. They found it made the front-row seating too cramped.

They did like the Quest’s car-like ride and ease of operation. All scores related to driving impressions – braking, handling, cornering, stability – were given high scores by our test drivers. Visibility they rated as superior, though comments were made that it can be hard to sense where the front of the Quest is located, as nothing of it can be seen beyond the base of the windshield.

The fundamentals of the Quest’s operation are impressive, and the exterior styling is excellent, according to our Dave and Carolyn. Living in the Quest – the design, layout and functionality of the interior — is where the vehicle was let down for this family. But overall, reasonably strong scores for a vehicle that they both want to like.

2008 Nissan Quest – Dave’s Final Comments & Ratings

In my opinion, the Nissan Quest represents the best option for somebody who wants a minivan that sets them apart from the pack. In this regard, the Quest’s unique styling and its low seating arrangement fit the bill.

During this Minivan Challenge I have commented frequently on the smooth, car-like ride offered by all of the vehicles we have tested, as well as the fact that they are all surprisingly easy to manoeuvre, despite their large size. However, in my opinion the Quest offers the most car-like driving experience of them all.

2008 Nissan Quest
2008 Nissan Quest. Click image to enlarge

While driving the Quest you really feel as though you are driving a large sedan, especially because you feel lower to the ground (but not too low). Inside the Quest, the front half of the van also appears to be configured like a large sedan, which is nice in some respects, but likely not what most people in the market for this type of vehicle are necessarily seeking, because space becomes an issue.

In comparison with all of the other vehicles we have tested during this minivan challenge (notwithstanding the Mazda 5), I felt slightly cramped in the Quest. Moreover, this vehicle seemed to have less cup holders and “useable” storage spaces. As mentioned in my previous comments, the interior of the Quest, at least in this configuration, lacks pizzazz.

While visiting some friends during our last week with the Quest, we had the unfortunate experience of getting stuck temporarily in some snow. I was surprised by the fact that the Quest became stuck so easily because the snow was not that deep. I do not know whether this is characteristic of minivans in general, but I feel as though the Montana, for instance, would have handled this situation with ease. The Quest also tended to fog up quickly on some days, particularly the side windows. We also experienced this with the Town & Country minivan (which I forgot to mention). However, unlike the Town & Country, it took some time for the Quest’s side defroster vents to manage these situations.

On a very positive note, in terms of overall handling, acceleration, and braking, the Quest feels very much like the Toyota Sienna (but not quite as quick). The materials used inside the Quest
(e.g., fabrics, plastics) appear well made, well fitted. In terms of fuel economy, we averaged 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres on a trip to Toronto during our final week – not bad at all. Lastly, as mentioned before, the Quest seems well priced, considering one can order this van with many options including a DVD system and a power hatch for under $40,000.

2008 Nissan Quest
2008 Nissan Quest. Click image to enlarge

2008 Nissan Quest – Carolyn’s Final Comments & Ratings

Here are some of the features that I especially like about the Nissan Quest:

  1. Very unique, trendy and aesthetically pleasing exterior design – my favourite out of all the minivans we tested!
  2. The power sliding side doors & the power tailgate.
  3. The stereo & DVD system were very easy to use.
  4. Although the heating and air conditioning system was not climate controlled, it was relatively easy to use and was effective in warming you up without giving you that feeling of being suffocated (which begins the vicious cycle of turning the heating system on and then off again).
  5. The front row driver and passenger seats are fairly comfortable and easy to adjust.
  6. The Nissan Quest offers a very quiet and smooth ride, with a lot of visibility from the front row seats.
  7. This minivan accelerates, manoeuvres, and brakes really well. In this regard, the Nissan Quest sits just slightly below the Toyota Sienna (which is the peppiest van we drove).
  8. I found it relatively easy to get both my daughter and myself in and out of this vehicle and I found the interior to be fairly roomy (with the exception of the front row – see comment below).
  9. The front row console can easily be folded down flat to give more room; this is a really useful feature.

2008 Nissan Quest
2008 Nissan Quest. Click image to enlarge

Here are some of the features that I find less appealing about the Nissan Quest:

  1. Seating in the front of the Quest leaves you feeling somewhat claustrophobic because the dashboard console juts out too far. It is difficult to cross your legs or tie your shoelaces if you are a front row passenger in this minivan! I am not a tall person (I am 5’5″) and so I am left wondering if a taller person would feel even less comfortable sitting in the Quest for any appreciable length of time.
  2. The Nissan Quest definitely needs a few more cup holders and storage spaces.
  3. I am not sure why exactly, but I was less impressed by the interior aesthetics of the Nissan Quest. I suppose I was expecting to find the interior design of this minivan to be just as unique and trendy as its exterior design. Unfortunately, it’s not. The interior design seemed pretty plain to me and this might be because the seats were made of plain materials, the dashboard illumination and colours were relatively typical, there was a lack of useful storage space and extra cup holders, and overall the Quest didn’t offer extra niceties such as ambient lighting.
  4. In my view, the Quest did not have very comfortable seating in the second row. As I mentioned last week, I did not find the second row seats all that comfortable and I found them to be too low to the ground relative to the windows (I always wanted to stretch my neck up a bit to get a better view out of the window).

Dave and Carolyn’s evaluation of the 2008 Nissan Quest

(Each item is rated on a scale of one to five. Maximum score: 100)

Item Carolyn Dave
Exterior Design 5 4.75
Ease of Entry/Exit 4 4.5
Ride 4.5 4.5
Engine/Transmission 4 4.25
Ease of Operation 4.5 4
Visibility from Driver’s Seat 5 4
Comfortable Driving Position 4 4
Interior Ergonomics 3 2.75
Quality of Materials 3 4
Interior Design 3 2.5
Interior Functionality 3 3
Build Quality (rattles, etc.) 4 3.5
Entertainment System 4 4
Night Driving 4 4
Braking 4.5 4.5
Acceleration 4 4
Cornering 4.5 4.5
Stability 4 4
Fuel Economy 3.5 4.25
Overall Appeal 3.5 3.75
Total 79 78.75

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

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