San Francisco: Nissan
has crafted a minivan that doesn’t look like a bread van. So, even if
you’ve got five kids, you don’t have to feel like a bus driver any more.
The old Quest blended in with the crowd, and if anything, it was a
little small. But the Quest was reborn a couple of years ago, inside and
out. While they were at it, the engineers and designers made their new
people hauler one of the biggest minivans in the marketplace, with
almost 212 cubic feet of space inside.
The body sides start at close to car height and then arch upward
dramatically after they pass the front doors. This helps avoid the
shuttle bus look. The tall windows provide a panoramic view, and the
long windshield sits in a rounded prow, like a boat, so you feel like
you’re sailing through traffic.
Inside, a low instrument panel features an unusual center-mounted
binnacle, which puts the information up high, but off to the right. The
control panel resembles a neatly sawn off tree stump. To use the buttons
and knobs you press down rather than forward, almost like on a keyboard.
The control panel’s surface has a sprayed-on texture, which feels like
something you’d apply to modernize an old piece of furniture.
The door panels flow back from the dramatically sweeping dash,
employing high radius curves and gleaming metallic accents. Simple
three-panel seat cushions look inviting and calm the eye, but mine felt
slightly overstuffed, and I tended to lean in turns.
While I was leaning, though, the Quest stayed steady, thanks to a
wide track and a four-wheel independent suspension with front and rear
stabilizer bars. Stopping is quick and precise, too, with standard
four-wheel vented disc brakes with anti-lock, brake assist, and
electronic brake force distribution. This all means that the computer
steps in when you need it to make sure you stop straight and quickly in
Every Quest comes with Nissan’s high-tech 3.5-liter V6, which puts
out a generous 240 horsepower and 242 lb.-ft. of torque. Continuous
variable valve timing control gets the most out the engine regardless of
rpm or load. A four-speed or five-speed automatic transmission is
standard, depending on model. Fuel mileage says 18 mpg City, 25 mpg
Highway on the sticker. I got 17.8 mpg in mixed driving.
The base model gets all the aforementioned benefits, along with the
safety of scientifically designed crush zones and carefully monitored
airbags, which vary their power based on the occupant weight and the
amount of crash force. The Quest also gives you a head curtain
supplemental airbag for all three rows of riders. A tire pressure
monitor keeps you from wasting gas or compromising performance and
safety with under inflated tires.
Stepping up from the base model, the 3.5 S Special Edition adds power
to the right hand sliding door, rear lift gate and third row vent
windows. It also upgrades the sound system, adds backup sonar system,
and identifies itself. The SL is just a bit more equipped, and the SE is
at the top. My SE test car, in Smoke paint (dark gray), had leather
seats and steering wheel, power foot pedals with memory, dual zone
climate control, and more.
My tester came with a host of options, including XM satellite radio,
a two-screen DVD system, and upgraded seats, including a row of shopping
bag hooks on the third row bench. The Michelin PAX System tires with
run-flat technology boosts the wheel size to 19 inches, practically in
Hip Hop artist territory. The unused spare tire well is devoted to
My tester came with the optional navigation system. This system names
actual streets, and although it worked fine, it managed to mispronounce
Lake Chabot Road as Lake Chabbit Road. Also, it had not been updated for
the changed freeway interchange near my office.
You wouldn’t even bother with a minivan if you didn’t plan to haul
lots of stuff. The second row seats drop and fold forward while the rear
ones fit into the floor, leaving a flat deck. You can carry a 4 x 8
sheet of plywood in the Quest with the rear door closed. If you’re
hauling people, they will appreciate the optional SkyView glass roof. It
lets the outside in, but you can cover any section to keep from getting
cooked at midday.
I had a few gripes. The windshield wipers exposed their unattractive
spring-equipped undersides. The fold-up tray between the front seats
jiggled annoyingly. The door slams were less than bank vault like.
My tester came to a hair-raising $39,915. Granted that this is the
top model with practically every imaginable option, but that really
sounds like luxury car territory, and the Quest, as good as it is,
doesn’t feel like a $40,000 vehicle. You can buy the basic minivan for
just $24,755 so a little restraint with the option list could lower the
price substantially. In the end, the Quest with “ a different drummer
persona” helps make minivan ownership a more aesthetically pleasing
Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Nissan Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by
Tony Leopardo ©AutoWire.Net
Column Name: The Quest minivan is an aesthetically pleasing
Topic: The 2006 Nissan Quest Minivan
Word Count: 912
Photo Caption: The 2006 Nissan Quest Minivan
Photo Credits: Nissan Internet Media
Series #: 2006 - 47
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2006 Nissan Quest
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2006 Nissan Quest