Nissan Quest SE Review

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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nissan quest se review

Listen up guys: size matters. Not your penis; your testicles. Testicle size determines your level of sexual desire and stamina. By the same token, a minivan's interior is not the ultimate measure of its worth. While minivanistas love to boast about their whip's cubic capacity and cranny count, all MPV's can stow the better part of an NFL specialty team with air-conditioned ease. No, the true gauge of a minivan's basic appeal is its engine. All true pistonheads know that there's not a vehicle made– including minivans– that can't be improved by a large capacity, free-revving powerplant. Luckily, the Nissan Quest's got a big one.

Nissan's people mover holsters a detuned version of the Z-car's 3.5-liter six, with all the usual tricks of the trade (DOHC, variable valve timing and intake, multi-port fuel injection, drive-by-wire throttle, platinum spark plugs, etc.). In other words, this behemoth books. Well, OK, "browses swiftly". Empirically speaking, the Quest accelerates from zero to 60 in 8.2 seconds. The stat may not be stunning in these days of Hemi-engined Jeeps, but the Quest's 240 horses are a mighty frisky herd. The minivan bolts from the starting gate with a vigor that belies its looks, genre, size and age.

The Quest is now four-years-old. While the minivan's VQ35 powerplant is still earning attaboys from Ward's Automotive, its futuristic design is beginning to age disgracefully. The Quest's profile– a descending window line and forward-tilting rear end– was radical in its day. Now that the crossover crusade has begun in earnest, it's looking more and more like a people mover from Tomorrowland. The Quest's stubby nose and buggy eyes now appear different for different's sake, rather than artfully inspired.

The interior is dating faster than a Hollywood hooker. The Quest's center console was obviously based on those faux-Zen pedestal sinks that helped make expensive hotel bathrooms look so Starke. While upmarket lavatory planners have acquiesced to the immutable laws of shelf space, the Quest is stuck with its art school ambitions– from the seats' retro-modern shape, texture and tailoring to the 50's refrigerator-style door pulls. None of which are helped by the use of materials that couldn't get within a mile of an Audi factory before dying of shame.

The Quest's instrumentation cluster is by far the best/worst example of Nissan's hope that high-minded style would elevate their minivan's sales above its more prosaic competition. For one thing, the gauges are center-mounted– an ergonomic affectation that's almost as dangerously counter-intuitive as inward opening restaurant doors. For another, the display is an unforgivable farrago of analogue, liquid crystal and digital read-outs. Not only is it impossible to read the fuel gauge at a [sideways] glance, but the huge display STILL can't contain complete satellite radio information (867-5309 was apparently recorded by Tommy Tuto).

Strip away the Quest's MOMA posturing and you're left with a minivan that simply doesn't cut it in the Swiss Army knife Soccer Mom sweepstakes. While the Quest masters the minivan basics– dual remote operated sliding doors, fold flat seats, airbags aplenty, enough cupholders to re-hydrate a Bedouin camel train– it fails at the final furlong. There's no reverse-facing camera (an egregious oversight given its length), plug points for members of Laptops Anonymous, or underfloor storage. By the time a Quest owner figures out how to subsume the rear bench, a Town and Country owner will have stowed and gone.

But not for long. In addition to its peppy powerplant, the Quest's multi-link rear suspension keeps Nissan's four-wheeled whale surprisingly neat and tidy through the twisties. Although body lean is minimal, changing direction gives you a firm sense that you're in something gigantic that's about to topple over. Fair enough. Thrashing a Quest is about as sensible as asking six recently beached children not to drip water on the seats.

The Quest's biggest drawback is its lack of refinement. The aforementioned materials deficit is compounded by a lamentable lack of structural rigidity. Traversing a pothole isn't so much an event as a series of events, as shock waves careen around the cabin. There's also a large precision gap– or gaps without precision. None of the Nissan's controls snick with the finely-judged sensuality of the brand's sedans and off-roaders. In comparison to a polished jewel like the equally horsed Honda Odyssey, or the clever clogs Chrysler, Nissan's Quest seems like a low-budget exploration of previously mapped territory.

In an increasingly hot segment that takes no prisoners, Nissan needs to regroup, rethink and re-engineer their gi-normous people carrier. A function-over-form makeover is long overdue, starting with that absurd instrument stack and incorporating all the balletic seatery and hidden holdage that makes the other guys seem so damn sensible. But hey, at least we know one thing: the Quest has the stones for the job.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • ToolGuy I appreciate the thoughtful comments from the little people here, and I would like to remind everyone that Ford Motor Company offers a full range of vehicles which are ideal for any driving environment including New York City. The size and weight our of product portfolio has been fully and completely optimized to be friendly to the planet and friendly to pedestrians while consuming the bare minimum of resources from our precious planet (I am of course a lifelong environmentalist). Plus, our performance models will help you move forward and upward by conquering obstacles and limits such as congestion and your fellow humans more quickly at a higher rate of speed. I invite you to learn more at our website.Signed, William Clay Ford Jr.
  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.