Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Nissan Quest Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Nissan Quest Overview

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The Search for the Perfect Minivan Begins with a Quest

It's hard to make a minivan cool; after all, it is the signature vehicle of soccer moms and budding families everywhere. So what's a car company like Nissan have to lose by trying something a little off the beaten path? Considering that the Quest was discontinued in 2002 due to poor sales, the answer is nothing really. The 2004 Quest is fashioned in the new Nissan esthetic that dictates boring is bad; we like the look of the new Quest and all the functionality, fun and power that comes along with it.

Compared to the formulaic shape that dominates most minivans, the Quest is more than just a beautiful stand out, it's a whole new breed of family-friendly transportation. The Quest design is decidedly European in its execution with no attempts at watering down its styling to better fit American tastes. We applaud this decision and think there will be a good number of people who will appreciate the Quest's radical exterior styling, brightly colored fabrics and unconventional interior layout.

Nissan supplies the Quest buyer with three choices: 3.5 S, 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE. All three are powered by the same, husky 3.5-liter V6 that develops a healthy 240 horsepower; S and SL models get a four-speed automatic transmission while the sporty SE comes standard with a five-speed automatic. Even the most basic 3.5 S comes pretty well equipped and includes manual front and rear air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, dual-manual-sliding side doors, keyless entry, AM/FM stereo with CD, tilt wheel, cruise control and seating for seven people. SL and SE trims increase the level of content, both standard and optional, and push the price range from the mid $20s up to almost $40K when fully loaded.

You'll find the Quest's road manners about as good as you can get in this class; the steering is firm with little play and the suspension delivers a smooth, comfortable ride yet still allows the driver to feel somewhat connected to the road. Visibility is good in all directions, though some drivers may find it difficult to judge the endpoint of the Quest's long sloping hood.

A look inside the Quest reveals a fantastically innovative interior that is sure to please both driver and passengers alike. The dashboard is completely unconventional, with a huge oval platter that serves as the resting spot for the transmission shifter, audio and HVAC controls (heating ventilation and air conditioning.) The speedometer and other relevant gauges are placed high up in the center of the dash, a position that takes some getting used to; even after time, it still seems to us that the instruments would be easier to read if they were placed directly in front of the driver. There is a marvelous three-spoke steering wheel that contains controls for the cruise and audio, making it almost unnecessary to remove one's hand from the wheel except to adjust the temperature or fan speed. Some other secondary controls such as the dash light dimmer and traction control are placed down around the driver's left knee, where they are somewhat difficult to see and reach.

Behind the driver and passenger are a series of seating configurations that include a second-row set of captain's chairs and third-row bench seat, all of which fold compteley flat to create a level but somewhat elevated floor. This design is perfect for those who may want to toss in a mattress or just load up a few sheets of plywood without having to deal with the hassle of first removing the seats. Top-of-the-line SE trims get the best interior layout, with an optional overhead center console that houses two DVD-driven view screens and is flanked on either side by a series of fixed glass skylights that run the length of the roof. If you're old enough to remember the early Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, you'll understand just how cool these skylights are. Where other minivans can be like dark caves in the rear, the Quest's skylight setup fills the entire cabin with defused sunlight, making it feel much larger and more open. The Quest's sliding-side-door openings have also been expanded to their maximum limit, making it much easier to load passengers and cargo.

On the safety front, Nissan has equipped every Quest with two-stage dual front airbags, a side head-curtain airbag that spans the first, second and third row seats, adjustable head restraints at all seating positions and three-point safety belts for all occupants.

Nissan fully intends to keep this vehicle competitive, so along with its rather inclusive standard equipment list are options such as power-sliding side doors, a DVD-based navigation system, a 265-watt 10-speaker Bose audio system, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear sonar parking assist, power-adjustable foot pedals and full leather seating.

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