2007 Nissan Quest: Do the Interior Improvements Make the Grade?
- April 26, 2006
- Nissan, On The Road: Driving Impressions
- Posted by George Peterson
- Leave your thoughts
With the 2007 model year, Nissan offers an improved Quest, introducing the model at the Chicago auto show. At the time, we posted a blog that detailed the changes, but now we’ve had the chance to drive it for ourselves and can report back on the results of Nissan’s most extensive mid-cycle change ever. Along with the Versa, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents had the chance to get behind the wheel of the Quest this week. While I drove the Versa to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, I drove a Quest 3.5 SL back.
But First, the Counterpoint
How many times have we researched minivans and people who don’t drive them say they are for soccer moms to schlep their kids from activity to activity? How many times have SUV drivers, clearly with a family profile suited to a minivan, refused to consider a minivan because of their image? How many times have men been embarrassed to really like driving a minivan? These reactions happen just about every time we talk to USA consumers about minivans.
After driving the Quest from Nashville to Lynchburg, I came away with a renewed appreciation for how great a minivan really is. Easy to get into and out of. Great visibility. Flexible interior. The Quest is very pleasant to drive and the major interior upgrade for 2007 should help Quest achieve better sales performance against Honda and Toyota competition.
If it wasn’t a minivan, I could see a Quest in my driveway. It has all the attributes I am looking for in a vehicle… but it’s a minivan. Lots of people feel that way. What will it take to change their brains?–G. Peterson
Improvements Bring Quest Nearer the Target
There is no doubt that the Quest improvements are significant and will result in a happier ownership experience and, hopefully, loyal and repeat buyers. What these changes do not do, however, is to bring the Quest to the head of the minivan pack. Improved as it is, Toyota and Honda are still the segment leaders, with Chrysler’s minivan products still the total segment leader in sales if not image. Quest offers a better, nicer package than the minivans from General Motors or Ford, but that was largely true before this update.
Exterior changes freshen its look, but do not alter it dramatically. If you liked the look of the Quest before this change, you’ll still like it. If you thought it was ugly before, you’re not likely to change that opinion, either. The grille graphics have evolved to convey a bit more of Nissan’s new face than before. You will be able to tell the new Quest from the old in the rear view mirror.
The material improvements in Quest are a success, particularly in the new wood trim that even extends to the second-row seating area. Nissan dropped the 2004-2006 optional embossed leather seating, which was more expensive than the new leather but felt like cheap vinyl. There are new chrome accents along the dashboard and around the door handles. We noticed that Nissan is getting smart about sharing parts where they can, as both the HVAC vent handles and the door handles in Quest and Versa have a striking similarity that certainly indicates the same part is being used. The steering wheel’s audio and cruise controls have been slightly revised, for Quest and every other Nissan as the same wheel is used across the range, and are easier to read and use. Moving the gauges back in front of the driver improves the driving experience by making the driver more comfortable. Gauges, dials, and controls are pretty much where you expect them to be and where they are easiest to access or use. Conversation between first and second-row passengers was easy without shouting and over the radio. (We didn’t have anyone in the third row.)
Another area of improvement concerned operation of the third-row seat. It can now be easily stored with one hand and raised with only a little more effort, but Nissan still uses carpet to cover gaps and holes created by seat anchors. Seems to us that covering the area may not really prevent much from falling in, only make it a bit more difficult to get to. When folded, it is technically flat, but still on a sharper angle than some of the competition. The third-row headrests automatically fold down when the seat is folded, resolving the issue of where to put them when the seats are down. When the third row is up, the huge size of the Quest enables more space for stuff behind that row than the competition, and the well into which the third-row falls is carpeted and finished, for a much tidier look than Sienna. Odyssey is still also better on that score, because the back of the seat is designed to block anything from rolling underneath. Hooks on the back of the Quest’s third row are a nice touch, too. Though the third-row was redesigned, Nissan did not turn to a solution that allows a 60/40 third-row split, as both Honda and Toyota offer on their Odyssey and Sienna. A split third row was considered, but rejected mostly for cost reasons. It was more important to revise the dash than change the third row from bench to split.
The second row folds down, but not really out of the way. To create a system as good as Chrysler’s second-row Stow-n-Go would have been a bigger tearup of the floorpan and underside than was in the scope of this update, so Chrysler is still best-in-class when it comes to the second-row solution. Nissan did change the way the second-row seats fold, for easier access to the third row.
Driving: Much the Same
The changes for 2007 do not impact the mechanics to any great degree, though a five-speed automatic is now the only transmission offered where there had been a four-speed unit for low-end trim levels and the five-speed for more expensive models. Suspension has been retuned to reduce body roll. What this means to you is that the Quest is as comfortable and quiet as ever. Its 240HP V6 does an admirable job moving the Quest along, even as big and heavy as it is.