Versus the competiton:
My last experience driving the Nissan Quest yielded a mixed review. I drove a stripped-down base model in 2004. For 2005 Nissan is providing me with a loaded midline version for comparison. I can’t wait to discover if I can be “bought” with the extras. Surely I’ll see through the glitz and glamour of high-cost accessories and interpret the car for what it is. On second thought, I am a woman after all; a bit of bling will inevitably catch my eye.
The design of the Quest hasn’t changed since last year, and that’s a good thing. The new age concept for the center console has grown on me since the last time I drove it. It still looks pretty bizarre (and makes it difficult to find the CD slot without bending over to sneak a peak), but at least Nissan is stepping outside of the box. I drive car after car that all blend together from a lack of design innovation. Driving the Quest is like venturing out for Sunday brunch after eating corn flakes all week.
The driver’s seat adjusts automatically in the SL version (as opposed to manually in the S model) and features power adjustable foot pedals. Just watch your pressure on the gas pedal, so you don’t have to keep looking down and over to find the speedometer on the dash between the driver and the passenger.
One of the coolest features of the Quest I discover while I’m driving at night. When activating my turn signal, the “cornering light” illuminates the street and corner that I’m planning to turn onto allowing me to see where I’m about to go. This is great for me since my night vision has exponentially declined through two pregnancies (or maybe I’m just getting older. Naw, I think I’ll stick to the pregnancy excuse).
I’m thrilled to discover that my test vehicle has automatic doors and tailgate. Did I say doors? I meant door. For some strange reason, only the right door is automatic on the SL model. I’d have to upgrade to the SE version for two automatic doors.
Why is the right side more important than the left? My older daughter enters and exits on the right side in carpool lane, so the automatic door comes in handy there (as does the handle at just the right height to help her climb in and out on her own). But my 2-year-old, who stays with me all day, is loaded in on the left side. When I run my usual errands to the grocery store, the dry cleaners and the coffee shop I have to manually open the door each and every time to load, and subsequently unload, the baby. Big whoop, you say? Well, having the auto door on one side makes the manual door on the other seem much more arduous.
The Nissan Quest is loaded to the brim with storage compartments. The two mesh pockets and extra hooks behind the driver and passenger’s seats are perfect for storing activities or emergency diapers. The molded bottle holders in the sliding doors stash a roll of paper towel for messy clean-ups. Also, the “high-capacity” dry cleaning hooks keep hanging clothes out of the way of back seat passengers.
I’d like to see Nissan simplify the process for folding both the second and third row seats on the Quest. The steps are neither self explanatory nor adequately labeled on the seats themselves. This has me referring to the quick guide. I have enough on my plate as it is, so the last thing I want to do is dig out the manual for something as basic as seat folding.
The Nissan Quest has certainly grown on me since the first time I drove it nearly a year ago. Its space age design takes some getting used to, but proves to be comfortable and mostly functional for everyone in the car.
*For more information on the Nissan Quest and its safety features visit Cars.com.