Since moving from one plant in Mississippi to another in Japan, the Nissan Quest has undergone a transformation. It’s no longer a big minivan with all sorts of flip and fold flexibility. Instead, it’s a slightly less useful package that’s still plenty capable of hauling people and cargo better than almost any crossover you can name.
In terms of overall length and wheelbase, the Quest isn’t much smaller than the Chrysler minivans, Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. At 200.8 inches long, on a 118.1-inch wheelbase, it’s reasonably close to those rivals in almost every dimension. Where it loses out is interior volume: its fixed seats take up space where a good fold-down third-row seat would leave a flatter load floor—and where the fold-down second-row seats of minivans Chrysler would win the feature wars, every time.
The Quest has few flaws, from the front seats. There’s ample legroom and headroom, and tall adults will fit comfortably in its plush-padded buckets. The view ahead reminds us a lot of the first Japanese minivans that arrived in the United States in the 1980s, with a flat dashboard structure that makes it easy to get in and out, and wide doors.
Trouble starts in the second row, where the Quest’s sliding side doors don’t retract far enough for adults to climb into the seats easily. It can be difficult to maneuver a car seat through the opening, let alone a child who has a mind of his own. The Quest has no middle seat, which means other eight-passenger minivans have a one-seat advantage over it. The Quest’s third-row seat is cramped for adults, acceptable for children.
In the second or third rows, the seats themselves recline well and provide good support, but they don’t move – the seatbacks simply fold down when more cargo space is needed. That more than anything makes the Quest as small as it is on the inside, that and its relatively high load floor. The seats fold down quite easily, thanks to levers and pull straps. However, if you order the power assist for the third row seat, be aware that it stops before you fully raise the seat. Oddly enough, it gives up in an upright position, letting owners use a fabric strap to finish the job.
Since the seats no longer stow into the floor, as they did in the old Quest, cargo volume is down. In all, the Quest has 35 cubic feet behind its third-row seats, 64 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 108 cubic feet with the second row folded. The next Kia Sedona has folding second-row seats like the Quest, but still offers up to 32 cubic feet, 80 cubic feet, and 142 cubic feet of space. Chryslers have their best fold-in-floor seats on some models, and with them they can boast 33 cubic feet, 83 cubic feet, and 144 cubic feet, respectively. The huge Sienna has 39 cubic feet, 87 cubic feet and up to 150 cubic feet of space with the second row seats folded and the third row hidden, respectively. The Odyssey has 38 cubic feet, a roomy 93 cubic feet and 149 cubic feet of space behind the respective rows.
Other compromises are less noticeable, but they are there. There’s no telescoping steering wheel with the Quest, although the high seating position makes the most of the situation. It offers up to 16 cup holders and bottle holders, although the pop-out pair under the radio is only large enough for cans.
The review continues below