If you think the Quest looks a lot like the Mercury Villager, youre not just seeing double. Quest and Villager share their basic styling, mechanical components and major features, and are built in a partnership between Nissan and Ford.
Nissan did the styling for both brands and provides the engine and other major hardware, but Ford builds the vehicles at its plant in Avon Lake, Ohio. With Nissan now controlled by Renault, the French auto company, industry observers doubt the partnership with Ford will continue much longer. Instead, Nissan is likely to share vehicle designs and mechanical components with Renault.
Aside from a different grille and exterior trim, the Quest is a spitting image of the Villager. Both come with sliding rear doors on both sides that open and close manually. Power sliding doors are not offered.
With an overall length of 195 inches, the Quest is about 8 inches longer than short-wheelbase versions of the Dodge Caravan and Chevrolet Venture and 5 or 6 inches shorter than the extended-length versions of those rivals.
A video entertainment system for the rear seats is a new option. It includes a 6.4-inch liquid-crystal display screen that pops up from the center console, a VCR mounted in the front of the center console and jacks for playing video games. The same system is offered on the Villager and Ford Windstar.
All models have seats for seven in a 2+2+3 layout. On the base GXE, the middle row is a two-place bench, and the SE and GLE sport a pair of bucket seats that are adjustable and removable. The three-place rear bench is not removable but folds and slides on tracks built into the floor.
With the middle seats removed and the rear bench pushed forward, the Quest holds 136 cubic feet of cargo. A removable rear parcel shelf adjusts to three positions to create storage compartments for grocery bags and other items.
Under the Hood
The only powertrain available in either Quest or Villager is a 170-horsepower 3.3-liter V-6 with four-speed automatic transmission, both supplied by Nissan.
Antilock brakes are standard on all Quest models, but side-impact airbags for the front seats are not available. Two integrated child-safety seats are optional on the GXE model and are mounted in the two-place middle bench seat.
Quest and Villager have flexible seating arrangements and some attractive features, but they arent as roomy as some of the key players in the minivan market.