The 2004 Nissan Quest is a revolutionary, category-redefining approach to the minivan – one that is about to reverse the long-held stereotypes about minivans and their drivers. Its all-new design elevates the traditional minivan strengths of safety features, functionality and utility with enhanced roominess, design innovation and technology, while adding the missing emotional elements of contemporary styling and a spirited, fun-to-drive personality.
The Quest has grown in size to be among the roomiest in the front-wheel drive minivan class and provides such user-focused enhancements as folding 2nd and 3rd row seats and the widest opening sliding doors in class (front-wheel drive minivan segment). New safety features include the first North American application of the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System, and standard head curtain supplemental air bags to help protect 1st, 2nd and 3rd row outboard occupants in side-impact collisions.
Style is another key component of the new Quest, with both the dramatic, flowing exterior and “urban loft” themed interior designed to address consumer concerns about traditional minivans' conservative imagery. And, as expected from the company behind the popular Nissan 350Z sports car, the new Quest offers responsive acceleration and handling from its standard 3.5-liter V6 engine and new 4-wheel independent suspension.
Quest is the first of four new vehicles scheduled to be assembled at Nissan's new $1.43 billion manufacturing facility in Canton, Miss.
“Minivans have always been a rational purchase decision, rather than an emotional one, but not anymore,” said Mark McNabb, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. “The most impressive thing about the new Quest, even with all its great design and engineering advances, is its exciting personality and attention to personal style.”
The new Quest went on sale at more than 1,100 Nissan dealers nationwide in July 2003 as a 2004 model.
Room For Innovation
With its long 124.0-inch wheelbase, 77.6-inch width and 67.3-inch front and rear track, the new Quest offers one of the largest interior volumes of any front-wheel drive minivan. Overall interior volume of 211.9 cubic feet, as well as ample cargo space behind the 2nd row seat and 3rd row seat are significantly improved over the previous generation Quest. Special attention was also paid to front seat dimensions, with first row shoulder room among the best in class (front-wheel drive minivan segment).
Quest's sliding door openings measure 33.8 inches, over four inches longer than the nearest competitor (2003 models) and over six inches longer than the previous generation Quest. The wide doors combine with a 2nd row seat “tip up” feature to address one of consumers most frequent complaints regarding current minivan designs – getting in and out of the 3rd row.
Another innovation that seeks to address owner dissatisfaction with current minivan designs is the Quest's new Fold_Away™ seats. Quest advances the folding seat concept by applying this feature to both the 2nd and 3rd row seats, with the 3rd row folding flat.
The unique folding operation does not require the owner to remove the 2nd and 3rd row seats in order to create a fully usable storage area. The 2nd row seats fold down and drop forward to the floor. The 3rd row easily folds and rotates into a storage well in the floor behind it.
“The result of our double row of folding seats is 'complete spontaneity' in how customers can use the interior of the 2004 Quest,” said McNabb. “There's no longer the need to plan ahead in removing seats prior to going shopping. Owners may purchase a large or bulky item on a whim and should be able to transport it home by simply folding down the seats.”
The Quest also features spring-loaded retractable strikers (versus competitors’ fixed striker designs) for the 3rd row seat for added flexibility in carrying wide objects and the new Quest's ample length and width allows for carrying of standard 4x8 plywood sheets on the floor with the rear door closed.
Another Quest innovation is the available SkyView™, a series of four glass roof windows for the 2nd and 3rd rows that (along with the front sunroof) help enhance the use of natural light throughout the vehicle.
A full-length rear overhead console, available with the SkyView, offers increased functionality while creating an aircraft-like interior environment with personal reading lamps and air vents. The rear overhead console includes heating and cooling vents, reading lamps and also houses the Quest's available DVD Entertainment System's dual color display screens.
Exterior Styling and Interior Design That Break Out of the Box
True to the design originated on Nissan's boldly original Next Generation Quest Concept, which was shown at North American auto shows in 2002, the new production Nissan Quest offers a highly expressive and distinctive appearance.
Designed by Nissan Design America, Inc. (NDA) in San Diego, Calif., the Quest exterior is marked by an arching roofline that transitions seamlessly off of the A-pillar, a strong shoulder that adds dimension to the body sides, well-defined wheel forms that have a minimal gap with the tire sidewalls and a fluid gesture in the beltline that starts low off of the headlights and kicks up toward the rear of the vehicle.
“We wanted to avoid the anonymous box design that has become the industry norm in the minivan class,” said Tom Semple, president, NDA. “We have accentuated the wheels, because Nissan is all about the driving, and pulled the sheet metal to the tires. The body is well positioned on the wheels and overall Quest has strong Nissan styling cues, such as in the grille design.”
The Quest interior, again following the theme set out by the Next Generation Quest Concept, creates a sense of a modern, “urban loft” – a comfortable, open and inviting space for family and friends.
The interior's remarkable sense of openness comes from several design innovations, beginning up front with Quest's unique, low-height instrument panel that departs from the typical “driver centric” concept to one of “social space.” The new instrument panel layout utilizes a center-mounted instrument cluster with a standard 6.3-inch information display screen, an instrument panel-mounted transmission shifter lever and numerous storage compartments – including driver and passenger side lower instrument panel storage.
The designers also rethought the traditional minivan interior architecture, with the shape of the centralized control stack taking on the look and feel of a desk or table, and leaving ample legroom for driver and front passenger to easily turn around toward the rear of the Quest. It's a combination of design features that helps create an open feeling without increasing dimensions.
“There are always other driver distractions in a minivan so we wanted to make the driving environment simple but aesthetically pleasing, including the adoption of appealing, non-minivan-traditional colors and materials,” said Semple. “We brought the controls close to the driver without limiting knee room, while the seats themselves have more furniture-like attributes in look, feel and texture.”
A Long List of Available Comfort and Convenience Equipment
The new Quest's expressive and distinctive interior also comes through in the high quality, luxurious feel and in the careful selection of standard and available equipment. Up front, Quest offers an available 8-way power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support, available driver's seat memory system (seat position, foot pedal position and outside mirror position) and heated front seats.
Also offered are available leather-appointed interior, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, dual zone automatic temperature control for driver and front passenger, rear heating and air conditioning system, power front windows with one-touch auto up/down, a front overhead console with sunglasses holder and dual map lights, and a rear sonar system.
Eight cupholders, along with bottle holders/map pockets on each sliding door, offer flexibility and convenience for all passengers and also numerous storage bins and area.
A standard 150-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with eight speakers is offered, along with an available first-ever for the U.S. Bose®-developed audio system for the minivan in the segment – a 265-watt 10-speaker audio system. All audio systems also feature “dual media” capability (when equipped with rear audio controls), allowing rear passengers to use wireless or wired headphones for a different media source than what is played through the speakers.
Taking mobile technology to the next level is an available DVD Entertainment System with the option of one or two roof-mounted display screens. The system's DVD drive is located under the front passenger seat, oriented toward the driver, for ease of changing discs. Also offered is a DVD-based Nissan Navigation System with 7.0-inch color display.
A Focus on Safety
Safety is a particularly important part of the minivan purchase decision and the new 2004 Quest was developed with a strong focus on both active safety – through the responsive engine, suspension and braking technologies – and passive safety through a comprehensive set of passive restraint systems.
Standard safety equipment includes Zone Body construction with front and rear crushable zones and occupant zone, the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (which utilizes crash zone sensor and advanced occupant weight sensing capability to control front passenger air bag deployment).
Also standard are head curtain supplemental air bags to help protect 1st, 2nd and 3rd row outboard occupants in side-impact collisions and 3-point seat belts and height-adjustable head restraints for all seating positions. Available as an option are supplemental front-seat side-impact air bags for thorax protection.
Every new Quest also includes the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for CHildren) child seat anchorage system and child safety rear door locks.
Nissan Driving Dynamics
Powering the new Quest is a standard 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine based on Nissan's VQ engine series, which was recently named one of Ward's Auto World magazine “10 Best Engines” for the ninth consecutive year. For use in the new Quest, the V6 is tuned to produce 240 horsepower and 242 lb-ft.
The engine design includes state-of-the-art design features as Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS), microfinished crankshaft and camshaft, molybdenum-coated pistons and sequential multi-point electronic fuel injection. The engines are assembled at Nissan's Decherd, Tenn. engine assembly facility.
The Quest engine is matched with either 4-speed or 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive (transmission varies with model). A Traction Control System (TCS) is standard and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) is also available on select Quest models.
Another element that is often overlooked in the minivan segment is responsive handling and ride comfort. Utilizing Nissan's advanced FF-L (for Front engine, Front-wheel drive, Large) platform, also found on the Nissan Altima, new 2003 Murano crossover SUV and the all-new 2004 Maxima, the new Quest features a 4-wheel independent suspension with an advanced rear multi-link suspension and front and rear stabilizer bars.
The Quest is offered with 16x6.5 wheels and 225/65R16 tires on 3.5 S and 3.5 SL models or 17x6.5 aluminum-alloy wheels and 225/60R17 tires on the 3.5 SE model. A sensor-type Tire Pressure Monitor System is standard on all 2004 Quests.
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is standard, along with 4-wheel vented disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD).
Three Well-Equipped Models
The 2004 Nissan Quest is offered in three well-equipped models – Quest 3.5 S, 3.5 SL and 3.5 SE.
A number of options and packages are available on Quest, including a DVD Entertainment System (dual or single screen) with 7-inch color display screen; DVD navigation system with 7-inch color display screen.
Also offered is a Seat Package with 2nd row folding captains chairs and easy entry feature, 2nd row removable armrest covers, 3rd row flat-folding bench seat and 3-point seat belts (2nd and 3rd row); 3.5 S Upgrade Package with 16-inch alloy wheels and rear sonar system; 3.5 SL Upgrade Package with supplemental front-seat side-impact air bags, heated front seats and rear sonar system; 3.5 SL Leather Package with leather trimmed interior and 4-way power front passenger seat.
“The new Quest challenges convention in the minivan class, bringing a new level of style, performance and innovation to a category that hasn't evolved much since its creation nearly 20 years ago,” said McNabb. “It's a minivan for people who might never have considered a minivan before – a multi-dimension vehicle for people with multi-dimensional lives.”