What's New for 1997
A few new colors are the only changes to the 1997 Quest.
Nissan claims that its Quest is the top-selling import-brand minivan. Actually, they're made in Ohio, in XE and luxury GXE trim, along with the closely related--but not identical--Mercury Villager. After last year's makeover, the Quest receives few changes for 1997.
Versatile passenger space is the Quest's stock in trade. With seven-passenger Quest Trac Flexible Seating in an XE model, you can get 20 different combinations. In a GXE with captain's chairs, the total possibilities reach an even two dozen. Second row seats can fold down into a table, or be removed completely. The third-row seat also folds into a table, folds further for more cargo space, or slides forward on integrated tracks--all the way to the driver's seat.
Exceptionally smooth and quiet on the road, the Quest delivers more than adequate acceleration when merging or passing, courtesy of the 151-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 engine. The column-shifted four-speed automatic transmission changes gears neatly, without a hint of harshness, helped by electronic controls. You also get a smooth, comfortable highway ride and undeniably car-like handling--more so than most. Visibility is great, too, from upright but comfortable seating that's tempting for a long trek. Gauges are small, but acceptable, and controls are pleasing to operate.
Air conditioning and a tachometer are standard fare, while the GXE adds antilock braking (including rear disc brakes), a roof rack, and a host of powered conveniences. Distinctive in shape, enjoyable on the road, Quests are solidly assembled and perform admirably. Except for the upright seating position, it's easy to forget that you're inside a minivan, not a plain sedan.