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2004 Nissan Quest Minivan

Base MSRP Range: $24,600 to $37,000

Base Invoice Range: Not Available

MSRP As Tested: Not Available

Versions: 3.5 S, 3.5 SL, 3.5 SE

Vehicle Category: Minivan

Engine Location: Front Engine

Drive Wheels: Front-Wheel Drive

Engine As Tested: Standard 3.5-liter, Dual Overhead Cam, 24-valves, V-6 cylinder, 240-horsepower at 5,800rpm and 242 lb-ft torque at 4,400 rpm.

Transmission As Tested: Standard 4-Speed Automatic on the 3.5 S and 3.5 SL, a 5-Speed automatic on the 3.5 SE.

Fuel Economy (city/hwy): 4-speed automatic 19/26,5-speed automatic 18/25

Standard Safety Features: Driver and front passenger, front airbags, ventilated, power-assisted, front disc brakes with solid rear disc brakes, Traction Control.

Competition: Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyessy, Ford Windstar, Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Voyager/Town and Country, Kia Sedona, Mazda MPV

Nissan has never been a major player in the minivan market. But that should change with the introduction of the all-new 2004 Nissan Quest. It has taken Nissan a long time to come to market with its own unique product for this segment. The wait was worthwhile.

Despite the decline in minivan sales, they remain significant enough to make Nissan want its share of the market. To capture the attention of the ever-increasingly savvy vehicle shopper Nissan needed a standout design that could hold up against long-standing and already familiar products like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. The product had to hold its own in Nissan's "performance oriented" product line. And it needed to be a strong enough product to compete in a market segment busting with well-known products and copius minivan redefinitions.

The cutting edge design is polarizing -- people love it, or hate it. The vehicle provides groundbreaking features like fold-flat, middle-row captain's chairs, power-adjustable foot pedals and Nissan's unique Skyview Roof. The new design and plentiful extras put the 2004 Nissan Quest in direct competition with other industry leading minivans like Odyssey and Sienna while killing other "segment defining" products from GM, Ford, Chrysler and Dodge.

Vehicle History

The previous Quest, in production from 1993 to 2002, was manufactured as a joint venture between Mercury and Nissan. Mercury provided the platform, and Nissan the power train. The Nissan product was called the Quest and the Mercury was called the Villager. Neither minivan was a big hit with consumers.

Mercury is a Ford Division. From Ford's point of view Villager competed with Windstar To combat the effects Villager sales might have on Windstar, Ford never gave it sufficient advertising and marketing budgets to increase awareness, and thus sales of the product. This was odd given that Ford has many duplicate products in their lineup from division to division. The Explorer/Mountaineer/Aviator products have never been treated in the same manner. Odd.

For Nissan the Quest product wasn't a priority. Nissan was small, budgets tight and the focus of the company on performance, rather than family products. Now they have found a way to merge family needs and performance, and they have done this very well.

Nissan has grown dramatically over the past few years expanding both the productline and output. Quest will be the first of four new vehicles that will be assembled at Nissan's new $1.43 billion, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Canton, Mississippi

Changes Over the Previous Model

Everything in the 2004 Nissan Quest is all-new. It shares nothing with the previous model

Quest has grown in size from one of the smallest minivans in the category, to one of the largest, inside and out. The wheelbase has increased nearly a foot for improved ride and handling. Power has been increased in from 170- to 240-horsepower giving the new Quest the performance the old one lacked. The increase in horsepower also brings the Quest in line with other Nissan products emphasizing performance and handling.

The use of interior space has been dramatically improved. Passengers of all ages and sizes will find the second row seating comfortable and appropriate for their needs. Growing children will now be more comfortable in seats that used to be designed more to hold a safety seat than a full-size adult.

In a world of look alike vans, the 2004 Nissan Quest's styling is dramatically different. To us, who focus a great deal on family vehicles, it is a breath of fresh air.

Vehicle Exterior

The 2004 Nissan Quest looks like no other minivan on the road today.

The front fascia bears the Nissan family DNA. These styling cues were introduced with the Altima and carried over to the new Maxima. A large grill is split by the logo and the entire front of the Quest (ahead of the A pillar) looks like a car, rather than a van

Unlike most competitors still designing box-on-wheels minivans, the Quest's roof line arches from the top of the windshield to the back D pillar giving it a streamlined look. The shoulder line starts with the hood, stays low through the driver and front-passenger doors giving good visibility, then rises on the rear-passenger doors. This provides more protection for those in the second row.

All doors are large. But the rear-passenger doors are the among the largest of any minivan on the market giving the best possible access to the second and third row seating.

Quest's wheel wells have been moved as far out to the corners as possible. They are flared for a more sporty look. After all, Nissans are about performance.

We think the look is great. Owners will get the all functionality mininvans provide with a little less of the banality of the tradional "motorized play pen" designs.

Vehicle Interior

The 2004 Nissan Quest's interior is the most significant aspect of the redesign. It is nothing like any other minivan on the market.

Nissan's theme for the interior is an "Urban Loft". "Urban" for the cutting edge style of the space in which the buyer lives and "Loft" to indicate the volume of space and level openness. The new use of space provides a comfortable and inviting interior for family and friends, precisely what Nissan wanted for the car.

The instrument panel features a single gage cluster and information screen in the center of the dashboard. This lowers the dashboard height increasing outward visibility.

The elliptical center stack has controls that are nearly parallel to the floor. Nissan felt doing this would enable the driver to find the controls by feel, reducing the amount of time spent look down, helping to keep eyes on the road where they belong. On the top of the stack are the center vents for heating and air conditioning. Below, and to the left, is the transmission shifter. To the right of the shifter are the controls for the front- and rear-heating and air conditiong system. Below that are the buttons for stereo. This is the perfect blend of functionality and style. It is all very well thought through.

The second row standard Captain's Chairs fold flat into the floor. This is an industry first. When you need to carry large payloads you don't have to plan ahead to remove the seats before leaving home. Gone are the days when you waited for someone to help wrestle heavy seats out of the car. (You'd be amazed at the number of orphaned minivan seats around the country that once removed, were never returned to their vehicles because they were such a hassle to move.) The third-row bench seat also folds flat providing generous cargo space when all seats are folded down.

The only improvement Nissan could make to the Quest would be to make the front-passenger seat fold forward so long items could be carried inside, rather than on the roof.

Nissan has implemented in the Quest a version of the "Skyview Roof" first introduced in the new Maxima. The Skyview Roof is an elongated window in the center of the vehicle's roof. They don't open but they do make the vehicle feel more roomy. The Quest's Skyview Roof is similar, but there are two rows of glass windows in the roof, one on each side of the vehicle, instead of one. The windows run the length of the vehicle over the second and third row seats. This makes the vehicle feel open and roomy, rather than cloistered as in most minivans.

In between the two roof windows is a ceiling-mounted console with air conditiong vents, reading lights and storage. It looks so much like the roof panels in airliners that you almost expect in-flight service. If you get the optional single- or dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system the center console houses the drop-down monitors for both the second and third row seats.

Nissan has paid particular attention to who rides in the Quest and what features make them more comfortable. Small details make a big difference. Handgrips to help passengers hoist themselves in and out of the van are larger at the top where adults will reach for them and narrower at the bottom to fit a child's hand from below. So clever!

Another feature we love are power-adjustable pedals. In the 2004 Nissan Quest the pedals have four inches of travel. This is more than any other vehicle we have tested with most travelling only two inches. Nissan sees power-adjustable pedals as a comfort and convenience feature. We see them also as a safety feature helping every driver, regardless of height, to be seated the optimal distance from the steering wheel , airbag and dash board.

Nissan showed us an optional, two-tone, leather interior on a display model during our press briefing. They unfortunately did not have a vehicle with this beautiful interior for us to to drive, or photograph. That particular interior is, by far, the most luxurious available on any minivan. Make sure to see one when you are shopping.

Ride, Handling and Performance

The entire Nissan product line is now all about the driving experience. Even the Quest delivers. Quest is built on Nissan's FF-L platform (front engine, front-wheel drive, large.) This is the same platform as the Altima, the 2003 Murano crossover SUV and the all-new 2004 Maxima.

Powering the 2004 Nissan Quest is a 3.5-liter, Dual Overhead Cam, 24-valve, V6, VQ engine. This is the same one powering the Altima and Maxima. In the Quest, it delivers 240-horsepower and 242 lb-ft of Torque. That is 70 more horsepower than the previous Quest. The power comes on smoothly and the engine is quiet.

The Quest has two available transmissions. A 4-speed automatic is standard on the S and Sl models. A 5-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive is standard on the SE model,.

Quest comes with 4-wheel independent suspension, advanced rear, multi-link suspension and front and rear stabilizer bars. The long wheelbase provides a comfortable ride. The independent rear suspension provides excellent handling. If you couldn't didn't see the cargo area behind you, you might think you were driving a Maxima -- and Nissan calls that a four-door sports car.

The handling doesn't compromise the ride. It is smooth and comfortable. After driving more than 250 miles through central Mississippi behind the wheel of the Quest, we were not fatigued at all. It will certainly get you to work the morning, pick up the kids after school and back home again, in comfort.


Nissan believes minivans won't sell unless they are safe. And, they are right. Minivans are family cars. The risks people take when driving alone or with other adults, won't be taken when their children are on board. Standard safety equipment includes next generation, two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger and head-curtain airbags protecting all three rows of outboard occupants. Available as an option are supplemental front seat, side-impact airbags for thorax protection. Every new Quest also includes the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for Children) child seat anchorage system and child safety rear door locks.

In Conclusion

The 2004 Nissan Quest Minivan is offered in three well-equipped trim levels the 3.5 S, 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE. The trim levels are equivalent to complete option packages. Nissan expects that both the entry-level 3.5 S and the mid-level SL will each account for forty percent of Quest sales annually. The fanciest version, the 3.5 SE selling for around $35,000, will make up the remaining twenty percent.

There are a few significant options to consider. These include the dual- or single-screen DVD entertainment system with 7-inch color display screens, a DVD navigation system with 7-inch color monitor and the Skyview Roof glass panel system. The Skyview Roof lights the second and third row seats (sometimes that third row can be dark all the time) and gives the whole cabin a much more open feel. It's a great option.

If you are considering the purchase of a new Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna then make sure to test drive the 2004 Nissan Quest. It is more stylish, the design is modern and the entire package is very well thought through. The great performance and fantastic new features like the fold flat middle row of seats make this one of the most versatile family haulers available.

Editors' Ratings

Pros: Interesting looks, great power, fold flat 2nd row seating, optional multi screen DVD system. Power adjustable pedals.

Cons: Nothing.

Annoyances: Nothing

Ratings (1-10)

  • Style: 9
  • Performance: 9
  • Price: 8
  • Handling: 9
  • Ride: 9
  • Comfort: 8
  • Quality: 9
  • Overall: 8.71

More Data

Where Built: Canton Mississippi, U.S.A.

Major Options: Skyview roof glass panel system, Dual or single screen DVD Entertainment with 7-inch color display screens, DVD navigation system with 7-inch color screen.

Seating: 7

Number of Rows: 3

Crash Test Ratings:

  • NHTSA Frontal Impact/Driver Crash Test Rating: Not Yet Tested
  • NHTSA Frontal Impact/Passenger Crash Test Rating: Not Yet Tested
  • NHTSA Side Impact/Front Seat Crash Test Rating: Not Yet Tested
  • NHTSA Side Impact/Rear Seat Crash Test Rating: Not Yet Tested
  • NHTSA Rollover Resistance Rating: Not Yet Tested

  • IIHS Frontal Offset Crash Test: Not Yet Tested

Length in Inches: 204.1

Warranties: 4 years/50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper, 6 years/unlimited miles corrosion, parts and service adjustments for 1 year/12,500 miles, 4 years/50,000 miles free Roadside Assistance, free scheduled maintenance for 12 months/10,000 miles.

Weight in Pounds: 3.5 s: 4,012. 3.5 SL: 4,061. 3.5 SE: 4,175.

Maximum Payload in Pounds: 1204

Maximum Gross Vehicle Weigh in Poundst: 5,732.

Towing Capacity in Pounds: 3,850.

Gas Tank Capacity in Gallons: 20.1.

Destination Charge: $665