Used 2002 Nissan Quest Review
A minivan on critical life support. Buyers should look elsewhere.
Nissan completely redesigned the Quest in 1999 in an attempt to keep pace with superior vans from Honda, Chrysler, Ford and Toyota. But that effort has proven too little, too late. The Quest isn't a good seller (Ford sells seven Windstars for every Quest) and will be axed from Nissan's lineup after a short 2002 model run. Don't fret; Nissan will reintroduce the model mid-decade, with far more competitive design and packaging than this current version.
For 2002, the Quest is available in three flavors: value-oriented GXE, sporty SE and luxurious GLE trim. The GXE does come with basics like air conditioning, keyless entry and 16-inch wheels, as well as an optional second-row bench seat with integrated child seats and machine-washable cushions. SE models are tuned more aggressively, featuring acceleration-sensitive strut valving and a strut tower brace under the hood for more stable cornering. The SE also comes with steering wheel-mounted audio controls, rear air conditioning, a CD player and second-row dual captain's chairs. The GLE, which comes standard with leather seating and the handy rear parcel shelf, also gets powered and heated front seats, a two-position memory system for the driver seat and an in-dash six-disc CD changer.
Versatile passenger space is the Quest's stock-in-trade with a standard driver-side sliding door and a third-row limousine seating option among its many features. Nissan says you can get 24 different combinations with the bench seat and 66 when the van is equipped with the second-row captain's 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 behind the driver seat.
Under the hood is a 170-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 engine that makes 200 pound-feet of torque down low for good punch in traffic. This engine is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. Antilock brakes and power steering are standard on all Quest models, and the suspension provides a smooth, quiet sedan-like ride underneath GXE and GLE models. SE models are tuned to provide more driver involvement with the road.
The Quest's dashboard has a functional layout with the audio unit located above the climate controls for easier access. An automatic headlight on/off switch (standard on GLE and SE) 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. Nissan also offers an entertainment system that includes a 6.4-inch overhead monitor and a video cassette player. A floor-mounted system is also available for Quests equipped with a sunroof.
Distinctive in shape and enjoyable on the road, Quests perform adequately, though more passing power would be appreciated. Except for the upright seating position, this Nissan's handling traits make it easy to forget that you're inside a minivan. The Honda Odyssey still has it beat, though, and offers more interior room and automatic sliding doors to boot. So keep in mind those invaluable words of wisdom, "My momma told me, 'You better shop around..'"
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.