Used 1999 Nissan Quest Minivan
Edmunds' Expert Review
Nissan's minivan factory is now cranking out a whole new Quest. For 1999, the minivan has been completely redesigned, both inside and out. The van's exterior is larger than before, with 4.6 more inches in length and 1.2 more inches in width. These new dimensions provide an extra 9.6 cubic feet of cargo volume for a total of 135.6 cubic feet. Stylistically, the Quest's front end is rounded with a chrome grille and new multiparabola headlights with crystalline lenses. A standard driver's side rear sliding door debuts on the van, making entry and exit easier for the kiddies.
Under the hood is a new 3.3-liter, 170-horsepower V6 engine that makes 200 foot-pounds of torque. This engine replaces the old 3.0-liter V6 and is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission that changes gears neatly, without a hint of harshness due to electronic controls. Antilock brakes are now standard on all Quest models and the suspension has been enhanced to improve the van's already smooth, quiet, sedan-like ride.
This year, the minivan is available in three flavors: value-oriented GXE, new sporty SE with larger 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear stabilizer bar, and luxurious GLE trim, featuring leather seating and the Quest Trac flexible seating system. Versatile passenger space is the Quest's stock in trade, and for 1999, a third-row limousine seating option is available. With seven-passenger Quest Trac Flexible Seating, you can get 24 different combinations with the bench seat and 66 with the second-row captains chairs. 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. Storage compartments now total 31 and cupholders will hold 13 drinks throughout. To enhance storage even more, Nissan added an optional multi-adjustable Quest Smart Shelf with mesh net located behind the third row.
The Quest's dashboard gets a facelift for 1999 with the audio unit moved above the climate controls for easier access. An automatic headlight on/off switch can be set to sense the onset of darkness and automatically turn the headlights on. 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.
Distinctive in shape and enjoyable on the road, Quests are solidly assembled and perform admirably. Except for the upright seating position, it's easy to forget thatyou're inside a minivan.
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Despite the growing popularity of SUVs over the last five years, minivans continue to be a viable and lucrative segment of the automotive market. With 1.2 million units expected to sell in 1999, the minivan wars are being waged with ever-improving models from the likes of Chrysler, Ford, and, of course, Nissan.
The latest volley in this battle over parental (and shuttle fleet manager) dollars comes from Nissan in the form of its highly revised Quest model line. The Quest, which was introduced by Nissan in 1993, has been given more of everything (power, interior room, doors) for '99. The all-new body is 4.6-inches longer, 1.2-inches wider and 180 pounds lighter. By redesigning the frame, Nissan was able to improve torsional rigidity by 15 percent while giving the Quest better sound deadening for a more tranquil ride.
Inside is a larger cabin area (9.6 more cubic feet) than last year's model. To give a place for everything and to put everything in its place, the Quest boasts 31 storage areas including an innovative storage shelf system, located behind the third seat. Called the "Smart Shelf," this feature allows hard and soft items, like a baby stroller and grocery bags, to be stacked behind the third seat for increased and convenient cargo carrying. The shelf can be placed in one of three positions and it will hold up to 30 pounds.
Additional features like dual sliding doors, a third row "limousine" seating position and air conditioning round out the Quest's standard creature comforts. On SE and GLE models, options like a two position memory driver's seat, a six-disc center console-mounted CD player, and a second-row 12-volt outlet help make things easier on drivers and passengers. And even though they've been around for over a decade on Chrysler minivans, we're still impressed with the power rear-quarter windows that swing out at the touch of a button.
A new 3.3-liter V6 replaces last year's 3.0-liter engine. It produces 170 horsepower and 200 foot-pounds of torque which makes driving the Quest about as fun as driving a minivan can be. It certainly isn't an underpowered vehicle and, even loaded with kids and stuff, the new V6 should keep you out of the truck lane when climbing mountain passes. All models benefit from an updated suspension and second-generation antilock brakes. On SE models, a rear stabilizer bar and 16-inch wheels make the Quest almost sporty ... almost.
Seated behind the driver's seat, Nissan's effort to improve ergonomics can be seen in the positioning of the steering wheel and the easy reach to most of the interior switches/knobs. The audio controls are located above the heating and air conditioning unit because, according to Nissan, the radio gets more attention then the climate control center. We agree, but one problem area still exists. When you tilt the steering wheel all the way up (as taller drivers will do) the column shifter effectively blocks the rear window switchgear (defrost, wiper) when in the "DRIVE" position. So, unless you want to stop and put the Quest in "PARK," you'll have to hope the rear window never fogs (or that you aren't over 6 feet tall).
We could also do without the "Push to Release" emergency brake. Besides the inevitable, "Where's the brake release lever?" that everyone goes through when first driving the car, it is counter-intuitive. Push harder on the brake to release it? No thanks, just give me an easy-to-reach lever.
Overall, the Quest makes a compelling argument for the vehicle shopper looking to transport people in comfort, but not necessarily style. The revised body, with its easy-to-use dual sliding doors, is, uh, unique. Yeah, that's the word we'll use for now, unique. Unfortunately for Nissan, the always-strong Grand Caravan and the newly revised Windstar make the minivan conflict an ever-raging battle, with little chance of the new Quest winning the war.
Used 1999 Nissan Quest Minivan Overview
The Used 1999 Nissan Quest Minivan is offered in the following styles: SE 4dr Minivan, GLE 4dr Minivan, and GXE 4dr Minivan.
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Should I lease or buy a 1999 Nissan Quest?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.