Full 2008 Nissan Quest Review
What's New for 2008
Only minor feature availability changes are in store for the 2008 Nissan Quest.
Normally, automakers focus on safety, seat capacity and helpful convenience features when designing a new minivan. Yet when Nissan redesigned its Quest minivan four years ago, it decided to take a different path. In addition to the usual minivan attributes, the automaker gave the Quest bold exterior styling, a powerful V6, responsive handling and a radical interior makeover. The hope was that these changes would finally make the Quest an all-star name in the minivan market.
Like many revolutions, however, hope was crushed by grim reality. Nobody liked the dash's center-mounted gauges, the exterior styling was deemed "love it or hate it" and overall driving dynamics were still overshadowed by the Honda Odyssey's. Sales were slow. Last year, Nissan regrouped, ordering up a more conservative dash design and new features. On the whole, the Quest was much better for it.
The 2008 Nissan Quest is much the same. As before, pleasing driving characteristics and a stylish overall design are its main strengths. But in our opinion, this still isn't enough to make the Quest a top choice. In terms of the more important minivan aspects like versatility, feature availability and value, the Quest falls short. As such, you'll likely want to check out others in this class, such as the Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona and Toyota Sienna before settling on the Quest.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Nissan Quest minivan is available in four trims: 3.5 base, 3.5 S, 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE. The base model comes with 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, full power accessories and an eight-speaker audio system with steering-wheel-mounted controls and an auxiliary audio jack. The 3.5 S trim adds a right-side power-sliding door, a power liftgate and power rear vent windows.
Step up to the 3.5 SL and you also get alloy wheels, power-sliding doors on both sides, heated side mirrors, rear park assist, an LCD monitor with a backup camera, a six-CD changer with MP3 capability, a power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable pedals and rear audio controls.
The top-of-the-line 3.5 SE trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a sunroof, a SkyView glass-paneled roof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power front-passenger seat, driver seat memory, Bluetooth, a full-length overhead console and an upgraded 10-speaker Bose audio system with satellite radio. Most of SE's features can be had on the SL as options.
Whichever version of the Quest you choose, you'll need to check off the Seat Package, which includes second-row captain's chairs and a flat-folding third-row bench seat, as this minivan technically comes standard with no rear seats. Other major options, depending on the trim level, include a fixed front-row center console and a navigation system. A rear entertainment system is also available; the base, S and SL Quests have a single LCD screen while the SE's comes with separate monitors for the second and third rows.
Powertrains and Performance
Motivating the front-wheel-drive Quest is a 3.5-liter V6 good for 235 horsepower. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard on all trims. For 2008, EPA fuel economy estimates stands at 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway -- average for the minivan segment.
Standard on all Nissan Quest minivans are full-length side curtain airbags, front seat side airbags, front-seat active head restraints, traction control and antilock disc brakes with brake assist. Stability control comes standard on the SE trim but is otherwise unavailable. In government crash testing, the 2008 Nissan Quest earned a perfect five stars across the board. The minivan received a rating of "Good" (the highest) in both frontal offset and side-impact crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Interior Design and Special Features
With seating for seven, the Quest offers an interior that most passengers will find pleasantly spacious. The SE model comes with SkyView windows -- roof-mounted glass panels overlooking the second and third rows that lend an airy feel to the vehicle's interior.
The third-row seat folds flat into the floor, but it lacks the flexible, split-folding design available in competing vehicles. The van's utility takes another hit due to relatively limited luggage capacity behind the third row. Total cargo capacity is a competitive 148 cubic feet.
The 2008 Nissan Quest is an enthusiast-oriented option in the minivan category. Ample engine power from Nissan's ubiquitous 3.5-liter V6 paired with an alert five-speed automatic delivers solid thrust. No one will mistake it for a sport sedan, yet the Quest cleaves corners willingly and has a pleasingly firm brake pedal feel. Steering and handling are very good, though the price paid for the latter is a stiffer ride quality than that of most other vans. Behind the wheel, the tall Quest shrinks, feeling much more nimble than its dimensions would suggest.