2006 Nissan Quest
2006 Nissan Quest; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge

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By Chris Chase

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Not everyone is a fan of the third-generation Nissan Quest minivan, but those who do like the Quest probably do so for its quirky looks. Certainly, it stands out from the minivan crowd like nothing else in the segment at the time.

The 2004 Quest used Nissan’s 3.5-litre V6 engine, matched with either a four- or five-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain generated 240 horsepower (235 in 2007, thanks to updated power calculation methods), and gives the Quest all the guts it really needs. Other than that, the only major mid-cycle changes involved an improved interior and a mildly refreshed exterior for 2007.

Somewhat surprising is the fact that, according to Natural Resources Canada, a Quest with the five-speed automatic transmission used more fuel than a four-speed version. With the four-speed, NRCan listed consumption as 12.4 L/100 km (city) and 8.3 L/100 km (highway). Choose the five-speed (it became standard in 2007) and the numbers increased to 13 and 8.5 L/100 km, city and highway, respectively.

2006 Nissan Quest
2006 Nissan Quest; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge

Still, that was about average for the class at the time. Note, too, that at least in some model years, premium fuel was recommended for optimum performance. Don’t worry, though: these vans will run just fine on regular, but power output might be slightly reduced. Fuel consumption might be slightly higher on regular, too.

Reliability has been less than perfect, with this van earning “worse than average”, or “much worse than average” used vehicle ratings from Consumer Reports for 2004 through 2008.

A bad ‘O’-ring is the cause of a common oil leak from the engine oil cooler. It’s an easy DIY fix, though, and the replacement part costs just a few dollars.

The Quest’s VQ35 engine is prone to failed timing chain tensioners. Symptoms include a whine and/or rattle noise when the engine is running. Nissan issued a technical service bulletin to address the problem. This thread (from a Maxima forum, but the engine in question is the same one used in the Quest) provides plenty of useful information, if you’ve got time to read 13 pages worth of posts.

Vibrations at highway speeds are most likely caused by the Goodyear tires the Quest was fitted with at the factory. Some owners posting at QuestDriver.com say replacing the original tires with new ones of the same kind didn’t help, but other drivers who replaced the Goodyears with those from other brands eliminated the problem completely.

2006 Nissan Quest
2007 Nissan Quest; photo courtesy Nissan. Click image to enlarge

A climate control system that doesn’t blow, or only blows at one speed, is likely caused either by a bad resistor in the motor or a faulty blower control module.

Noisy front suspension components, caused by quick-wearing tie rods, control arm bushings and wheel bearings, are a common complaint, as are frequent dead batteries.

As with almost any minivan, the Quest’s available power sliding doors and power-operated tailgate are trouble-prone. Consumer Reports also notes problems with power windows and the sunroof, and its data suggests generally abysmal assembly quality, noting complaints of bad paint, loose exterior trim, loose interior trim, interior squeaks and rattles and CD/DVD players that eat discs. Water leaks from the top of the windshield are common, because the drain passages meant to route water through the structure and out of the vehicle become blocked easily. There’s also a known problem of water leaking through the sunglasses holder in the headliner.

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