Used 1996 Nissan Quest Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

Substantial upgrades include dual airbags, integrated child safety seats, side-impact protection meeting 1997 passenger car standards, revamped fabrics, new colors, freshened styling and a cool in-dash six-disc CD changer. The Quest is still in the hunt.

Vehicle overview

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. This year, Nissan infuses the Quest with several improvements to keep it competitive, including the addition of two important safety items.

Dual airbags replace those goofy motorized seat belts, and buyers can opt for an integrated child safety seat. Other interior refinements include new colors, new fabric styles, more storage space, and backlit switchgear. Outside, Nissan spruces the Quest up with seven new colors, freshened styling, and new wheels. New options include remote keyless entry, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, a semi-automatic climate control system, and an automatic-on headlamp system.

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.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.