If they can put a man on the moon, why can t they put all the minivans there as well? I know: Minivans mileage and safety make a mockery of the SUVs playing roll-over and fetch in the great American suburbs. But any 4500lbs. vehicle with a sliding side door says bread van to me. My parents didn t pay for five years of college so their son could become an amateur delivery boy. If Nissan wants to give me a Quest, how about I figure out a way to park the entire 06 production run in the Copernicus crater?
Sorry, that s nasty. Truth be told, the Nissan Quest is a perfectly serviceable vehicle with a lot to recommend it — like the fact that it doesn t share its cohorts angu-blobularity. In particular, the gently ascending beltline and forward-leaning back end give the MPV a rakish profile. The front is a bit stubby, but at least it has the modernity of an Italian toaster. Its appeal probably depends on whether or not you have a fantastically uncomfortable chair in your living room. Speaking of seats
If I had to drive a minivan 240,000 miles without a comfort stop, the Quest would be an excellent choice. The seating position is superb. Don t laugh. In terms of refinement, the Honda Odyssey makes the Quest seem like a 19th century sailing vessel, complete with a creaking hull and a tendency to list at speed. But the Odyssey s throne is more upright than an Amish Armendiener, and the wheel adjusts for no man, no how. The Quest s helmspot may offer less lateral support than a wooden plank, but it s a comfortable perch for urban ambling or epic highway journeys.
If only Nissan gave you something attractive to look at. Instead, the driver must contemplate a center-positioned farrago of analog, liquid crystal and digital readouts. The only thing that could save the instrument cluster (****) would be a button lowering the entire binnacle into the dash with James Bondian panache.
Panache? Minivan? Before you spray your coffee through your nasal passages, please note that the Quest holsters a de-tuned version of the Z car s powerplant. While no one would mistake this minivan for a sports car, on any level, ever, the 240-horse barge is game for a laugh. Sure, sixty comes up in 8.2 seconds, and the kids lunch comes up the moment you try to corner, but around town, she s a real sprinter, complete with aggressive tip-in and a commercial spin dryer s willingness to rev. And the brakes really bite (in a good way).
I suppose I should analyze Nissan's position in the folding seat wars. If that s your thing, you d make a better job of it. Suffice it to say the Quest has less gee-whizzery than its competitors. In fact, the only thing that sets the Quest apart from the pack is its unconventional looks, gargantuan dimensions and frisky engine. Is that enough to mollify a car guy? No. Or as Ralph Kramden would say, one of these days Alice: straight to the moon! [by Robert Farago]