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2007 Nissan Quest 3.5 SE Road Test
Luxury and space in an above-average package
By Kevin 'Crash' Corrigan
Minivans. To some, they're the first on the list when searching for a new vehicle. To others; they're the very last thing that they want to look at. Love them or hate them, we all have to admit that they can be quite a useful vehicle to own.
Where do I stand? Well let's just say that there isn't one parked in my driveway (now that I've returned my tester back to Nissan).
That said, could I possibly now be swayed after sampling Nissan's Quest 3.5 SE?
I certainly think that the vehicle's name is perfect for a minivan. After all, just about every manufacturer out there is on a quest to sell their people carriers to those who need the size and space of a vehicle like this. The trouble is, these can be a hard bunch of people to please.
Minivan buyers range widely, from those who genuinely like the look of a small commercial van with windows, to those whose work requirements often call for a vehicle with a little more cargo capacity.
Then of course, there are the parents of our young hockey hopefuls. Just visit any arena parking lot and you'll see every make of minivan known. The reason for this is simple. Load a normal-sized car with two or three young Gretzky's, a couple of their mates, and a bunch of hockey bags -- which are often larger than their owners and -- and you'll be saying, “Wait a minute!” because you're not going to be able to, as it won't all fit.
So the need for space drives the market, but what comes after that?
Many manufacturers produce reasonably priced, if rather plain minivans. After all, a large number of their buyers are often young families trying to work within tight budget restraints.
But what if this is not the case? What if you need the space, but you also yearn for bit of luxury?
Well, until Jaguar, BMW and their ilk start producing minivans, I think that Nissan might just have the answer.
The 2007 Nissan Quest 3.5 SE seems perfectly suited to the task as it has all, if not more luxury features than their top-of-the-line Maxima, all wrapped up nicely in a decent-sized minivan.
Back in 2003, Nissan set out to win over the crowd who needed a minivan but hated the idea of one. They aimed the original version at customers who were bored with the typical minivan. This vehicle was not well accepted, as many deemed it to be a little too 'funky'. The 2007 model has now been redesigned to be more mainstream and should please most of the critics of the former version.
The much-hated avant-garde dashboard design of the original Quest is now gone and the instrument panel has been placed behind the steering wheel, where most people expect to see it.
Naturally, as Nissan is renowned for its forward thinking, it left a little of the original's flair inside the vehicle. The surfaces of the slightly different-looking seats are now made of perforated leather, rather than embossed, and are extremely comfortable.
I did mention luxury, didn't I? Twin sunroofs, and Nissan's great Skyview system, dual-zone auto climate control, power adjustable pedals, Bluetooth, Homelink, and a Bose 10-speaker audio system are just a few of the features on offer. My tester also boasted two rear 8-inch DVD screens, one for each row of seats, and plenty of rear-mounted controls that should keep the kids happy.
All in all, the interior is a nice place to be and is a vast improvement on the previous model. I was pleased to see that it still retains its European flavour, which coming from 'over there', in many ways, reminds me of some luxury Renault products (maybe because Nissan owns a good portion of Renault these days).
Of course, luxury means different things to different people, so minivan buyers will appreciate the dual power-operated side doors and the power rear door. The vehicle also boasts a rear back-up camera that is very useful in a vehicle of this type.
Now, to the drive. Well, the 3.5-litre DOHC V6, which produces 235 hp, certainly gives this people carrier plenty of oomph. It is coupled to a smooth-operating five-speed automatic transmission that has the shifter stalk built into the dashboard. These two units work very well together and combine to give above-average performance.
The Quest 3.5 SE comes as standard with a Vehicle Dynamic Control System and the handling characteristics are more car-like than some of the other minivans that I have driven. Road noise is almost non-existent from inside the cabin area and this further adds to the luxurious feel of the vehicle.
Naturally, safety is an important issue, especially with minivan owners, and so the Quest is loaded with a full complement of safety features.
Loaded -- that is possibly the best word to describe the 2007 Nissan Quest 3.5 SE. It seems to have what every other minivan has -- and then some. Priced around the mid-$40,000's and with a few extras taking it up into the low $50,000's, it is certainly not the cheapest game in town. However, if you want a luxury vehicle, yet need a vehicle with lots of room, I think that this one might just fit the bill.
Besides, when those young Gretzky's of yours starts hitting the big time in a few more years, this cost will seem like small change!
For more information, visit www.nissancanada.com.
Kevin 'Crash' Corrigan is a regular contributor to CarTest!. He is based in Caledon, Ont., and can be reached at email@example.com.
Posted June 27, 2007