2012 Nissan Quest: Compared To A 2004 Quest
May 23, 2012
Some friends of mine own a 2004 Nissan Quest, the first year of the previous (third generation) Quest. I thought it'd be interesting to see how the Quest has changed since, so I stopped by their house to get their opinion on their van and what they thought of our long-termer.
Since the wife (Nora) is the van's primary driver, I asked her most of the questions. Overall, she was pretty impressed with the new Quest. The biggest upgrade for her is the Quest's SUV-style third row seating, with seats that forward and flat into the floor rather than the more traditional, back-and-into-a-well design on older Quest (and Odyssey and Sienna). Now that she has three kids, she says it's often a hassle to deploy or stow the third row seat in her van because there's typically a lot of stuff (baby stroller, etc) in the cargo well area. With the new Quest, this isn't a problem.
The new Quest's third row is also 50/50 split, improving flexibility. The older Quest had a rear bench only. On her van, you also have to manually remove the third-row head restraints to lower the seat. For the new van, the head restraints stay put and don't interfere with the operation. Nora also observed how our Quest's flat cargo area behind the third row is a lot easier to change a baby's diaper on.
I did point out that this new seat design does cut back on maximum cargo space. The old van had 145 cubic feet of cargo space versus 108 for the new one. But since they use their Quest mostly for hauling kids, they didn't think it would be an issue.
There were other little details that stood out to Nora. Her van doesn't have a front center console, and the front cupholder design is lousy. As such, she liked our Quest's center console quite a bit. (I do believe the third-gen Quest eventually got a front center console, perhaps as part of the '07 refresh.) She also liked the easier access to the third-row seating, the double sunroofs (compared to the peculiar multi-panel skylight design of her van), the integrated sunshades for the sliding doors (works a lot better than aftermarket shades, which often get knocked off when one opens the door) and the 120-volt household power outlet.
Nora's husband (Barry) also showed me how their van's sliding power doors don't stop and return if they encounter resistance when closing, even with Barry leaning in and pushing hard on the door in an attempt to stop it from closing. His quote: "I would not want to get an arm caught in here." On our long-termer, there was no such problem. However, I don't know if this issue would apply to all earlier Quests or just theirs in particular. I'd like to think the latter.
Finally, I asked Nora if she would consider replacing her Quest with a new one. She did like all of the above aspects. However, she wasn't too keen on the Quest's exterior styling ("It's like all party up front but all business in back"). Also, she says she's pretty burned out on driving a minivan right now. So, no, probably not.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor