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By Jim Flammang
August 19, 2005
Vehicle Overview Intended to stand apart from the minivan pack, a redesigned Quest went on sale as a 2004 model and was produced at a new plant in Mississippi.
For 2006, 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE Quests can be fitted with Michelin run-flat tires, which can be driven up to 125 miles when flat. A new 3.5 S Special Edition model — which features a power liftgate, an in-dash six-CD changer, rear sonar park-assist system and Special Edition badges — is offered. XM or Sirius Satellite Radio is available.
Exterior The Quest's styling is considerably more curvaceous and imaginative than most minivans'. The belt line sweeps downward toward the front, and the arching roofline adds a certain flair. The door handles, mirrors and side moldings are body colored. Heated mirrors with puddle lamps are available, and fog lamps are offered.
The Quest rides on a long, 124-inch wheelbase. Built with a fully independent suspension, the Quest shares its basic platform with the company's Altima, Maxima and Murano models.
Interior A "tip-up" feature on the second-row seat helps ease entry into the third row. The instruments are mounted high in the center of the dashboard. The shift lever extends from the instrument panel.
The Quest can seat up to seven occupants, and the third-row seat folds into a recess in the floor. The second-row seats fold and drop forward. A 150-watt CD stereo is installed. A DVD entertainment system with either one or two roof-mounted screens and a four-panel rear Skyview roof with a full-length rear overhead console are optional. For 2006, 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE models have a front, folding center tray with cupholders as standard equipment.
Under the Hood The Quest's 3.5-liter V-6 generates 240 horsepower and 242 pounds-feet of torque. A four-speed-automatic transmission goes into 3.5 and 3.5 S Special Edition models, while other models use a five-speed automatic.
Safety Standard all-disc antilock brakes incorporate brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, and standard side curtain-type airbags protect occupants in all three rows of seats. Traction control is standard, and Nissan's Vehicle Dynamic Control electronic stability system is standard on the 3.5 SE.
Driving Impressions Possessing styling and performance traits all its own, the Quest is full of pleasant surprises. You get an agreeable ride and handling qualities in this minivan. Though body lean in curves isn't absent and wavy road surfaces are noticeable, the Quest is tightly controlled and recovers smartly. Ordinary imperfections are significantly softened, but larger bumps can yield big bangs from the suspension.
The Quest is highly stable and secure on the highway, and it has a distinctly sporty steering feel. Energetic response is coupled with outstanding transmission reactions in the 3.5 SE.
Even though the center-mounted tachometer and speedometer are fairly easy to get used to, these gauges are a little hard to see at a glance. Windshield glare can be troublesome, and the climate controls are less than intuitive. The optional Skyview roof panes add a bit of brightness to the interior.