2008 Nissan Quest Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 5, 2008

The 2008 Nissan Quest does everything a minivan should -- carries seven, has a flexible cargo area and gets good fuel economy -- and looks appealing, too.

TheCarConnection.com's family-van experts researched a wide range of road tests of the 2008 Nissan Quest to put together this conclusive review. TheCarConnection.com's resident moms and dads also drove the Nissan Quest to help you decide which reviews to trust where opinions differ, to add more impressions and details, and to provide you with the best information.

The 2008 Nissan Quest is the latest version of a minivan that was designed from the outset to be unlike other minivans. Nissan's plan was to make the minivan sexy--and the original Quest certainly looked different; to most eyes, it still looks good. The interior has been another story--owners and car reviewers have complained about the Quest's plasticky interior, so for 2008, it's been improved. By outfitting the 2008 Quest with a new instrument panel and center console, Nissan's cleaned up the most egregious portions of the interior. Along with new front and rear-end treatments, the Quest has a cleaner, less awkward apperance than before--but the faux-wood trim inside and more traditional shapes no longer look right with the sloping front and rear ends.

For power, the 2008 Nissan Quest sticks with a 240-horsepower version of the same 3.5-liter, DOHC V-6 used in both the Maxima and Altima sedans; here, it's tied to a standard five-speed automatic. The big V-6 provides ample torque, giving the large Quest confident acceleration and passing power. Fuel economy is 16/24 mpg.

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The 2008 Quest is one of the roomiest front-wheel-drive minivans on the market. The second- and third-row seats fold flat into the floor, creating a large 148.7-cubic-foot cargo area. This year, the third-row seat also gets automatically folding headrests and a spring assist that make it easier to tuck away. It's difficult to ask more of a minivan, and yet the 2008 Nissan Quest also handles well for a vehicle so large.

All 2008 Nissan Quests have anti-lock brakes, front and curtain airbags, and tire-pressure monitors as well as active head restraints. Side airbags are now standard on all Quests. The minivan scores five-star safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with four-star rollover resistance and "good" ratings for front and side protection from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Four models are offered, and the standard vehicle gets power features plus the five-speed automatic. Upscale editions have a standard power sliding side door, a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and XM Satellite Radio.

- Honda Odyssey
- Toyota Sienna
- Kia Sedona

7

2008 Nissan Quest

Styling

The 2008 Nissan Quest has a polarizing shape, but the interior’s been normalized.

Editors at TheCarConnection.com found that reviewers typically agree on the 2008 Nissan Quest and its styling.

Considering that it is a minivan, and its sole purpose is not style, the 2008 Nissan Quest manages to add a little oomph to what is normally considered bland. As Motor Trend points out, the Nissan Quest was the first minivan to replace the "milk-carton with a Coke-bottle shape," and it continues this style in the 2008 model. Cars.com calls it the "futuristic-looking Quest" and says that, with the 2008 Quest, Nissan has "pushed the limits of design" compared with other minivans available.

Edmunds notes that its style is "good enough to warrant consideration," which isn't exactly a raving review, but in a class that isn't known for its style savvy or its penchant for stopping passersby in their tracks, this is a high accolade--especially since the Nissan Quest still performs it primary purpose of serving soccer moms and large families.

The design is so different from most minivans on the market, the Nissan 2008 Quest is one of those instant-loves or instant-hates as far as looks are concerned. As Cars.com puts it, "The Quest seems like one of those designs you either can't get enough of or can't understand how it got out of the factory."

There are many beneficial points to the interior design of the Nissan Quest, such as its gauges, which are easy to see and read. As ConsumerGuide specifies, "the dashboard no longer sacrifices function for avant garde styling." Instead, the new layout on the center control panel is strictly designed for function. MyRide.com calls it "improved," and Edmunds states that the Nissan 2008 Quest provides "a more conventional and user-friendly dash and center stack layout."

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2008 Nissan Quest

Performance

Ultimately, the 2008 Nissan Quest isn't a fun-to-drive vehicle, but it more than meets the performance needs of anyone who requires a minivan.

Although it isn't a sportscar, the 2008 Nissan Quest is a family vehicle that supplies enough performance to get the job done. Not only does it have the power necessary to drive many passengers wherever they need to be, but it maintains fairly responsive steering at highway speeds and has modest body lean in turns.

Edmunds believes that the Nissan Quest's "chief strengths lie in its performance and handling," noting its 235-horsepower, 3.5-liter, V-6 provides "peppy acceleration" and "plenty of punch." This is why Motor Trend calls the 2008 Nissan Quest "Big, powerful, and quirky," and why Cars.com states that its engine "delivers strong around-town performance." ConsumerGuide likes the transmission's performance, stating that the Nissan 2008 Quest's "transmission upshifts smoothly and downshifts promptly for additional passing power." Cars.com also believes that the transmission performs well, particularly in city travel, stating, "it's only when you need to pass quickly while driving at highway speeds that the engine feels somewhat taxed."

The CarConnection.com reviewers find that the Nissan Quest 2008 model is not a gas-saver, averaging 20.5 mpg on mostly highway driving in a road test performed by ConsumerGuide: "Quest is among the larger minivans, so it's less car-like to drive than some rivals." This is very similar to the EPA's estimates of 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway. An added pitfall to the high gas consumption is Nissan's recommendation of premium fuel for the Nissan 2008 Quest, meaning an even harder hit to a buyer's pocketbook. Cars.com makes this point as well and lists fuel economy on their tester at 18/25 mpg.

Cars.com notes "taut suspension tuning" of the Nissan Quest, which leads to a better ride that isn't harsh, as some larger vehicles can be, particularly SUVs. This is a point of disagreement for some reviewers, however, because MyRide.com points out that the "hard run-flat tires add an odd harshness to the ride." The only downside is that it is a large vehicle, so corners won't feel like they would in a small car, and Edmunds calls the 2008 Quest "light on its feet."

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2008 Nissan Quest

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Nissan Quest offers a lot of room for passengers and plenty of storage space for any family.

Although the 2008 Nissan Quest is bested in some areas by Honda, TheCarConnection.com feels that its comfort and quality are top-notch.

As Edmunds states, the 2008 Nissan Quest "has more than a few things in its favor," and this applies to comfort and quality. The Nissan Quest offers plenty of passenger space for up to seven people, including the driver, with three rows of seats, including the two bucket seats up front. While there is plenty of room in stylish seats for passengers, Cars.com believes comfort is lacking, stating, "the bucket seats don't feel as nice as they look." MyRide.com agrees, calling the Nissan Quest "uncomfortable." ConsumerGuide points out that "tall folks may need more seat travel," although they also note that all models have adjustable pedals and seats for the driver. Headroom and legroom are both plentiful, and ConsumerGuide likes that there is "adult-sized room in the 2nd and 3rd rows."

MyRide.com praises the new Nissan 2008 Quest model's aforementioned "improved dash layout," as well as prodigious storage space, and says Nissan has created a vehicle that is "fine for covering the daily commute or running errands." This is particularly true when you need a vehicle that will seat more than six people, and particularly if you need to store large items or groceries while still allowing passengers some room.

It also has a lot of room for small-item storage, including many cubbies and a front console, not to mention the cargo room and its flexibility. ConsumerGuide raves that the Nissan Quest 2008 model's "fold-flat seats are handy," allowing for plenty of cargo room. They also point out that the Quest provides "numerous storage cubbies" and the third row folds down for more storage space when necessary. As Cars.com says, "There's 32.3 cubic feet of room behind the Quest's third row; folding it into the floor raises the total to 87.7 cubic feet." The only complaint about the seat is that they fold flat against the floor instead of into it, like some competitors of the Nissan 2008 Quest.

Not only does the 2008 Quest provide plenty of passenger room, but the quality and design of interior materials is also impressive. ConsumerGuide states, "materials are an attractive and upscale mix of colors and textures," and Cars.com notes a couple of rough-edged trim pieces in its test model, but says the interior's quality was otherwise "free of imperfections."

There are differing opinions where travel noise is concerned. ConsumerGuide says that the "Quest is in line with quieter minivans," while MyRide.com calls it "noisy."

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2008 Nissan Quest

Safety

More standard safety gear would give the 2008 Nissan Quest a perfect score, but crash-test scores are perfect.

The 2008 Nissan Quest has a combination of great crash-test ratings and lots of safety equipment—some of it optional on base models.

The IIHS gives the Nissan 2008 Quest a top rating of Good overall, and the NHTSA awards it five out of five stars in its testing.

Among the many safety features offered by the Nissan Quest are anti-lock brakes, traction control, front and front side airbags, and side curtain airbags for all three rows. The only downfall in the Nissan Quest 2008 safety offerings is that, as Edmunds points out, "not all models come with front-seat side airbags and stability control," factors that affect safety specs, but doesn't influence the scores in crash-test ratings.

In fact, as noted by Cars.com, the IIHS performed its crash tests on both versions of the Nissan 2008 Quests, with and without the optional side impact airbags, and they "came back with the same results." And even Edmunds has to concede that "although we'd like to see Nissan improve the breadth of the van's safety features, there's no arguing with the Quest's top safety scores." While there are some standard safety features available on all models of the 2008 Nissan Quest, such as the active front head restraints and side curtain airbags, there are many more optional features. Just a few include the front-seat side airbags, a backup camera, and electronic stability control.

Visibility for the Nissan Quest does have its downfalls. Although the front windshield is large, allowing great visibility up front, the rear visibility is somewhat lacking. MyRide.com notices that the "second row headrests block the view, and the rear headrests eat up a big chunk of the rear window." There are also many large blind spots, even with mirrors that seem to cover as much space as possible.

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2008 Nissan Quest

Features

There are many features available on the 2008 Nissan Quest, earning it a top rating from TheCarConnection.com.

There are many options available on the 2008 Nissan Quest to make driving this minivan a lot more fun and comfortable.

For 2008, there are four models available of the Nissan Quest: the base, the S, the SL, and the top-of-the-line SE. Each model provides its own features as standard, and Motor Trend notes "power-sliding doors, auto headlamps, dual-zone temp become standard on SL." The upgraded version, the 2008 Nissan Quest SE, adds XM radio as well as more features, including a DVD entertainment system, dual-temperature controls, and a navigation system.

As ConsumerGuide points out, "a power liftgate is standard on all but the base model." Some features, such as this and the power operation available for one or both sliding doors, make life easier on the driver and the passengers of the Nissan Quest. Other available options--such as the SkyView window system, which "features four fixed glass panels over the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats," according to Consumer Guide--are stylish and impressive. Edmunds believes these "fixed skylights over the rear seating area" give "the interior a roomier, airier feel." These skylights are available as an option on the SE model of the Nissan 2008 Quest and come standard on the Quest SE.

Features available for the Nissan 2008 Quest that make driving easier include the backup camera, power-adjustable pedals, and auto headlamps. There are also a variety of wheel sizes and styles available on the Nissan Quest 2008, but the most notable of these are the run-flat tires. These types of tires "are rated to withstand 125 miles of travel at 55 mph when completely flat," as Cars.com points out.

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8.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 9
Features 10
Fuel Economy N/A
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