The formerly forgettable Quest got a blockbuster generational makeover for 2004, shaking up the minivan establishment with avant-garde styling, a long list of features, and loads of interior space. Sharing basic FF-L platform elements and its 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 with the Altima, Maxima, and Murano, the 2005 Quest comes in four trim levels: the 3.5, 3.5S, 3.5SL, and 3.5SE. All are front-drive, and each step up adds standards and options that permit greater degrees of personalization. Questing for success in this evaluation was a fairly loaded 3.5 SE.
Penned at Nissan Design America in San Diego, California, the Quest breaks out of the soccer-mom milieu with distinctive body contours highlighted by an arching roof, rising "kinked" shoulder line, prominent fender flares, and flush glass from the B-pillar back. A long (124.0-in.) wheelbase, short overhangs, and a wide track add to its distinctive presence. At SE level, 225/60HR16 tires and steel wheels give way to 225/55HR17 rubber on 17-inch alloy rims.
Even bolder inside than out, the Quest embodies what Nissan calls an "urban loft" environment. The look begins with a low, flat dash that enhances forward visibility by placing the instrument cluster, including a 6.3-inch LCD display, in the center of the vehicle. A pedestal-like outcropping beneath the gauges holds the shift lever, center vents, audio and heat/air controls, plus the largest of many modestly scaled storage bins, open and covered, that are found throughout the cabin. With 211.0 cubic feet of total interior volume, this is one of the most spacious minivans you can buy. As standard minivan, the Quest can hold a 4x8-foot sheet of plywood with its large rear hatch closed. Standard seating includes just two front buckets. However, the Seat Package adds second-row Captain's Chairs that tip and flip forward and away at the touch of a lever, plus a three-place, fold-flat third-row bench. Teamed with oversized sliding rear doors, the formula ensures easy access for both people and cargo. Suede cloth, manual front seats and an eight-speaker/150-watt AM/FM/CD sound system gives way to leather, power perches with a two-position memory, and a 10-speaker/265-watt Bose setup with six-disc CD changer in the 3.5 SE, a package that's optional in the SL. Quest amenities include front and rear A/C, power windows/locks/mirrors, keyless remote entry, cruise control, a tire pressure monitor, trip computer, overhead front console, variable speed wipers, eight cupholders, and four 12V power points. The 3.5S gains dual power sliding rear doors, a power liftgate, and sonar rear park assist, while the SL adds a power-adjustable driver's seat and pedal set, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio/cruise control buttons, and rear-seat audio controls.
Dual-stage front airbags and side curtain bags are standard on all models, with front side bags available on 3.5SL and standard on 3.5SE. All Quests have traction control, ABS brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, and a tire-pressure monitor. The SE adds stability control.