2009 Nissan Quest Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
June 24, 2009

If you like what minivans provide but don’t appreciate the looks of most of them, you might still keep the 2009 Nissan Quest on your shopping list.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Nissan Quest, along with other minivan models, to give you some no-nonsense Bottom Line advice. Then TheCarConnection.com has researched available road tests relevant to the 2009 Nissan Quest to show you how others see it.

The 2009 Nissan Quest does everything a minivan should: carries seven comfortably, offers a flexible cargo area, and gets good fuel economy, all while looking appealing. It's difficult to ask more of a minivan. Having undergone a major overhaul in 2007, the 2009 model receives only minor upgrades, including automatic door locks and a new Tuscan Sun exterior paint color.

The Quest is available in a choice of four models for 2009: the Quest 3.5, the Quest 3.5 S, the Quest 3.5 SL, and the Quest 3.5 SE for $35,650. Each model is powered by a 3.5-liter, DOHC V-6 producing 235 horsepower and coupled to a standard five-speed automatic transmission. The big V-6 provides ample torque, giving the large Quest confident acceleration and passing power. Fuel economy is 16 mpg city, 24 highway.

The Quest has a reputation for being 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. Third-row seats feature automatically folding headrests and a spring assist that make it easier to tuck away. The 2009 Nissan Quest also handles well for a vehicle so large.

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Nissan has cleaned up the most egregious portions of the interior, but the Quest's interior still doesn't quite match its stylish exterior. Along with new front and rear-end treatments, the Quest has a cleaner, less awkward appearance than before—but the faux-wood trim inside and more traditional shapes no longer look right with the sloping front and rear ends.

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). All 2009 Nissan Quests have anti-lock brakes, front side and full-length curtain airbags, tire-pressure monitors, and active head restraints.

Upscale editions of the Quest have a standard power sliding side door, a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and XM Satellite Radio.

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2009 Nissan Quest

Styling

Considering that it is a minivan, and its sole purpose is not style, the 2009 Nissan Quest manages to add a little oomph to what is normally considered bland.

The 2009 Nissan Quest has a polarizing shape, but the interior’s been normalized. With a design so different from most minivans on the market, the Nissan 2009 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."

Edmunds notes that its style is "good enough to warrant consideration," which isn't exactly a raving review, but in a class not 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.

Cars.com calls it the "futuristic-looking Quest" and says that, with the 2009 Quest, Nissan has "pushed the limits of design" compared with other minivans available. 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 2009 model.

MyRide.com calls the interior of the 2009 Nissan Quest "improved," and Edmunds states that the Nissan 2009 Quest provides "a more conventional and user-friendly dash and center stack layout." 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.

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2009 Nissan Quest

Performance

It’s not meant to be a sports car, but the 2009 Nissan Quest is a family vehicle that supplies enough performance to get the job done.

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com say the 2009 Nissan Quest isn't necessarily a fun-to-drive vehicle, but it more than meets the performance needs of anyone who requires a minivan. The Quest maintains fairly responsive steering at highway speeds and has modest body lean in turns.

ConsumerGuide likes the transmission's performance, stating that the Nissan 2009 Quest's "transmission upshifts smoothly and downshifts promptly for additional passing power." Cars.com 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." Edmunds contends 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 2009 Nissan Quest "[b]ig, powerful, and quirky," and why Cars.com states that its engine "delivers strong around-town performance."

The 2009 Nissan Quest has the power necessary to drive many passengers wherever they need to be, but it is not a gas-saver. The Quest averages only 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 highway. An added pitfall to the high gas consumption is Nissan's recommendation of premium fuel for the Nissan 2009 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.

A point of disagreement for some reviewers is how the Quest rides. MyRide.com points out that the "hard run-flat tires add an odd harshness to the ride." 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. 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 2009 Quest "light on its feet."

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2009 Nissan Quest

Comfort & Quality

Although the 2009 Nissan Quest is bested in some areas by Honda, its spacious and refined interior is very competitive.

The 2009 Nissan Quest offers a lot of room for passengers and plenty of storage space for any family. It also has a lot of space 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 2009 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 it folds flat against the floor instead of into it, like some competitors of the Nissan 2009 Quest.

The 2009 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 warns "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 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." Edmunds states the 2009 Nissan Quest "has more than a few things in its favor," and this applies to comfort and quality.

Besides the questionable comfort of the Quest’s interior seating, the quality and design of interior materials is definitely 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."

When you need a vehicle that seats more than six people, and particularly if you plan to store large items or groceries while still allowing passengers some room, the 2009 Nissan Quest delivers. MyRide.com praises the "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."

When it comes to road noise, reviewers are at odds. ConsumerGuide says that the "Quest is in line with quieter minivans," while MyRide.com calls it "noisy."

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2009 Nissan Quest

Safety

The 2009 Nissan Quest has a combination of great crash-test ratings and lots of safety equipment.

More standard safety gear would give the 2009 Nissan Quest a perfect score, but crash-test scores are perfect. NHTSA awards it five out of five stars in its testing, and the IIHS gives the Nissan 2009 Quest a top rating of Good overall.

The only downfall in the 2009 Nissan Quest’s 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 Cars.com notes, the IIHS performs its crash tests on both versions of the Nissan 2009 Quests, with and without the optional side impact airbags, and they "came back with the same results."

Even Edmunds concedes 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." Front seat side airbags, active front head restraints, and side curtain airbags are now on the standard-equipment list, as is electronic stability control, while a backup camera system is optional.

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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2009 Nissan Quest

Features

There are many options available on the 2009 Nissan Quest to make driving this minivan a lot more fun and comfortable.

TheCarConnection.com’s editors gave the 2009 Nissan Quest a top rating because of its many available features that make driving easier, including the backup camera, power-adjustable pedals, and auto headlamps. There are also a variety of wheel sizes and styles available on the Nissan Quest 2009, 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.

Other available options—such as the SkyView window system, which "features four fixed glass panels over the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats," according to ConsumerGuide—are stylish and impressive. Edmunds believes these "fixed skylights over the rear seating area" give "the interior a roomier, airier feel."

Each model in the 2009 Nissan Quest’s lineup (the S, the SL, and the top-of-the-line SE) 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 2009 Nissan Quest SE, adds XM radio as well as more features, including a DVD entertainment system, dual-temperature controls, and a navigation system.

"A power liftgate is standard on all but the base model,” points out ConsumerGuide. 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.

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8.2
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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 9
Features 10
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