The Nissan Quest is the Japanese automaker’s minivan. The nameplate was introduced for the 1993 model year, and since then the Quest badge has been applied to three very different generations of people carriers, although all have been minivans.
With the Quest, Nissan offers a vehicle capable of carrying up to seven passengers with a more lively driving feel than some of its minivan rivals – vehicles such as the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Dodge Grand Caravan and the revamped Kia Sedona, and Chrysler Pacifica.
The Quest was last redesigned in 2011. The 2017 model is unchanged from 2016. It’s a nice van, but its poor crash test scores put it at odds with its family-focused positioning, which led Nissan to retire the van after 2017.
MORE: Read our test Nissan Quest 2017
The new Nissan Quest
With its most recent redesign in 2011, the Quest moved to a platform shared with a Japanese market minivan, a vehicle it is now built with. Nissan has made a few tweaks to try and Americanize the platform, but its roots in the domestic market are showing. It now has less interior space than its competition, no nifty seating tricks, and fewer high-visibility features that make other minivans so convenient. The smaller size may be seen as a godsend to some, but most minivan buyers want maximum convenience and not necessarily a tidier package. This is at least one of the more aesthetically pleasing vans, as far as it goes, with an attractive floating roof look thanks to a blackened side profile. But people carriers are rarely bought just for the sake of style.
Mostly unchanged since its launch in 2011, the Quest just doesn’t have the flexibility or features to compete with Chrysler minivans. Its seats no longer fold into the floor, and they cannot be removed, making it the least adaptable minivan on the market. Its interior volume has shrunk, as it’s based on a Japanese market minivan called the Elgrand, and the sliding side door openings are narrower, apparently not designed for us tall Americans.
The current quest is performing at least better than the model it replaces. Power comes from Nissan’s corporate 3.5-liter V6, here developing 260 horsepower and paired with a continuously variable transmission. The smaller size and lower weight of the van means good acceleration with this combination. It’s about the only place it beats the competition, however. The Quest lags behind in infotainment options, and it’s one of the very few minivans that doesn’t score the Top Safety Pick with the IIHS because of its “Acceptable” rating. safety against crushing the roof and its rating “Bad” in the small accident before overlapping. test.
The Quest was unchanged for 2017 and will be discontinued after this model year.
Nissan Quest history
Before the current Quest went on sale, two previous editions had handled the tasks of the family van for Nissan. They were quite different from each other in terms of specifications and size.
The first Quest was released in 1993 to replace the odd large Axxess wagon. Intended for the heart of the minivan market, it was powered by a 3.0-liter V6 developing 151 horsepower and a 4-speed automatic transmission. While this first Quest van had decent space, the seating configuration wasn’t particularly versatile compared to top competitors. The third row seat slid on a track, but none of its rear seats could be stowed under the vehicle’s cargo floor. It was co-developed with Ford, who sold a similar model under the Mercury Villager nameplate.
A refreshed version was sold from 1999 to 2002, which built on the existing van but upgraded to a 3.3-liter V6 developing 170 hp. (A design refresh and the same upgrades were made to the Villager as well.) This version featured three rows of seats, but again, its interior space and ease of reconfiguration suffered compared to the rest of the segment. Filled with sub-par hard plastics, the interior wasn’t overly welcoming, but the second-gen Quest drove pretty well, with a smooth ride and reasonably responsive handling. That said, its 3.3-liter V6 has never felt as cheerful as its power numbers might suggest.
Until 2002, when the second-generation Quest was discontinued, a slightly different version was sold under the Villager name by Ford’s now discontinued Mercury brand. Compared to the Quest, the Villager had a slightly upscale look, and in some cases the Villager could be purchased with more gear for less money than the Quest.
After a one-year hiatus, Nissan returned in 2004 with a brand new Quest. Much larger than the previous model, this one set a completely different style statement than its predecessor or any other van on the market. Aiming at fashionista families, the Quest used a fluid and organic exterior with an even more dramatic interior. In addition, the seats have been completely redone, with all three rows having received a more luxurious look in other MPVs. A conventional dashboard was eschewed for a plastic configuration that included an oval pod-shaped center console, climate controls and an audio system, with the gearshift lever mounted on the dashboard. The gauges were in the center of the instrument panel, along with an on-board computer screen or navigation screen.
Although slightly less functional, it was clearly the most stylish minivan on the market. But the new Quest has never been well received. Its interior was functional, as the second and third rows were designed to fold flat into the ground. However, these seats were not very comfortable or supportive, and the one-piece third row seat turned out to be bulky. Security also turned out to be an issue; even in 2009, electronic stability control was still not standard. But highlights included strong acceleration from the 235-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and smooth shifts from the 5-speed automatic.
Nissan fixed some, but certainly not all, of the Quest’s shortcomings in 2007, by smoothing out the dashboard, placing the gauges in front of the driver, improving interior materials, and introducing integrated headrests for the second and second. third rows that tilted automatically. forward when folding for easy storage.