2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S
2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Haney Louka

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Photo Gallery: 2007 Nissan Quest

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Even though it has been around for almost 15 years, Nissan’s Quest minivan is, surprisingly, only into its second generation. First introduced in 1993, Nissan went against the grain by offering an unusually well-mannered people mover that also happened to have a twin under the Mercury nameplate.

2004 saw a complete redesign, sans domestic twin, and this time small and maneuverable wasn’t chief among priorities. Honda’s Odyssey and Toyota’s Sienna had grown significantly in recent years, no doubt after watching the Chrysler “Grand” Caravans gain popularity.

So up went the Quest’s size, but instead of taking a me-too approach to its new generation of vans, Nissan came up with a van that looked like no other. While its exterior was easy on the eyes, the Quest’s cabin was a bit more controversial. The effect was polarizing, and to say that it had a negative effect on sales is an understatement.

So here we are, a relatively short three years later, looking at Nissan’s latest effort to appeal to the masses. Has the rethink worked? I think so, and I’m not alone: last month’s Canadian sales have just been reported and are up a significant 75 percent over April 2006.

2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S
2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S
2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S. Click image to enlarge

I’d stop way short of calling this model all-new, but Nissan identifies the Quest’s makeover as one of the largest mid-cycle investments in Nissan history. One certainly wouldn’t come to that conclusion after glancing at the new van’s outer appearance, but after about a half second in the driver’s seat it becomes obvious that this was money spent where it was needed.

Let’s start with the instrument panel. It’s now in the right place, behind the steering wheel and just below the driver’s line of sight. It looks, well, normal. And the centre stack is a smooth, flowing component of the dashboard rather than the cylindrical wart that resembled a refuse receptacle. Less daring, to be sure, but in this case it’s a welcome change.

And it’s not only the design that has been fixed. Material choices are vastly improved over the old model’s, in appearance, feel, and from what we can tell, assembly quality.

2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S
2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S. Click image to enlarge

Outside the changes are more subtle. The new nose reflects Nissan’s current brand identification, with the logo floating in the centre of a large grille rather than on a piece of plastic trim that visually breaks the grille in two as before. Freshened taillights, chrome door handles, and new wheel designs have been included to keep the Quest current.

Power for this front-drive minivan carries forward with Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5-litre VQ-series V6. Four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, and dual overhead cams work in harmony to pump out 235 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic with revised gear ratios manages power transfer to the wheels.

2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S
2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S. Click image to enlarge

This is a tried and proven powertrain that has earned Nissan accolades for years. The praise is well deserved: the engine is smooth, strong, and relatively fuel efficient for its size and power output. As a result, you can find a version of the VQ V6 in almost every Nissan and Infiniti car on the market.

This is a big van. As with the last generation Altima that was introduced around the same time as this second-generation Quest, Nissan went bigger than the other Japanese makes to rival the room found in domestic models. In overall length, the Nissan is longer than all rivals except the awkward GM vans with their extended snouts.

But let’s look at the numbers that matter. Cargo volume behind the third row measures 915 litres, or almost three times the size of an Altima’s trunk. Fold that rear bench flat into the floor and volume increases to 2,483 litres. Not bad accommodation for four people and their stuff. And if all you need is cargo space, fold that second row almost flat (it’s not quite so smooth there) and available cargo space balloons to 4,126 litres.

Those numbers put the Quest at or near the top of the minivan class; to know if the capacities suit your needs it will come down to the shape and versatility of the cargo space rather than the hard numbers.

2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S
2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S
2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S. Click image to enlarge

As far as I’m concerned, the folks at DaimlerChrysler have set the standard for cargo versatility with their Stow n’ Go system. It allows all seats to fold flat into the floor. The Quest comes close though: at least the seats don’t need to be removed and left in the garage, as they do in most competitors’ models. The Grand Caravan also sets the benchmark for power sliding doors: push the button and the door slides open automatically. Grab the handle instead, and slide it open as if there were no motor connected to it. With the Quest and most other vans, you’re limited to the speed of the electric motor when opening the door.

Which leads me to a couple of items that the Quest should have but doesn’t: a driver’s side power sliding door is available only on the higher trim levels. And no matter how much you pay, you won’t get rear windows that slide down as you do with Sienna and Odyssey.

Base price for this latest Quest 3.5S is $32,498. That sum buys heated front seats, front and rear A/C, power locks & windows, keyless entry, CD audio with auxiliary input jack, full-length curtain airbags, ABS, traction control, and an anti-theft immobilizer.

2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S
2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S. Click image to enlarge

My tester wore the $2,000 DVD entertainment package with an eight-inch flip-down screen and a remote. It was also equipped with the $1,800 power package that includes power rear vent windows, a power sliding door on the passenger side, power liftgate, rear sonar park assist, and upgraded audio with a six-CD changer. Add in the $1,440 freight charge and this one rolls out the door at $37,738.

That’s a little steep considering this is just the entry trim level in the Quest line. The $36,998 3.5 SL includes a plethora of miscellaneous upgrades, while the 3.5SE sits atop the Quest range and has such goodies as leather seats, multiple sunroofs, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, and stability control. Start the SE bidding at $46,998 and add $3,000 if a navigation system is what you want. That’s about the same price as a loaded Odyssey, but for the same dollars Toyota offers their Sienna in all-wheel-drive, which is certainly worth considering in our climate.

Still, the Quest offers something absent in every other van on the market today: genuine style.

Pricing: 2007 Nissan Quest 3.5S


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