Review: 2002 NISSAN QUEST SE
SEE ALSO: Nissan Buyer's Guide
By Matt/Bob Hagin SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 24,399 Price As Tested $ 26,605 Engine Type SOHC 12v 3.3 Liter V6 w/SMFI* Engine Size 200 cid/3275 cc Horsepower 170 @ 4800 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 200 @ 2800 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 112.2"/74.9"/194.8" Transmission Four-speed automatic Curb Weight 3983 pounds Fuel Capacity 20.0 gallons Tires (F/R) P225/60R16 Brakes (F/R) Disc (ABS)/drum (ABS) Drive Train Front-engine/front-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Seven-passenger/five-door Domestic Content 60 percent Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) 0.36 PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 17/24/22 0-60 MPH 10.5 seconds Maximum cargo capacity 135.6 (in cu-ft) Maximum towing capacity 3,500 pounds * Sequential multi-point fuel injection Minivans like the new Nissan Quest are designed for growing families with lots of kids says Matt Hagin. Bob Hagin says they're handy for "mature" people too, especially when their own kids bring the grandchildren around to visit. BOB - Nissan got into the minivan market a little late when it showed up in '93 with its Quest and from the beginning it never really got off the ground. That was in the bad old days before Renault bought into the company and put the dynamic Carlos Ghosen in as head man. He's already turned the company around and has exceed his three-year resurrection target. MATT - Too bad he didn't arrive in time to do a marketing number on the Quest. It's really a neat little people-hauler and it got better in '99 when the company gave it a complete redesign. This year it's available in three degrees of trim, the middle-of-the-pack being our SE version but the top-seeded GXE has all the prerequisite bells and whistles. The standard sound system isn't much to write home about, but there are optional systems that are more appealing to music connoisseurs. The bottom-of-the-line GLE would be the perfect model for a growing family that plans to keep their van for a long time and for whom a low monthly payment is a plus. BOB - If that growing family includes "assertive" kids like you guys were when you were little, the buyer better get the optional second row bench seat. It has integrated child seats and washable upholstery. Buyers that picture themselves more "sporting" in nature can go for a Quest in SE trim like our tester. This is the "hot-rod" version that has an interaction between its acceleration and the valving in the shock absorber struts. Other "sporting" aspects of the SE are a set of audio controls on the steering wheel, air conditioning in back, a standard CD changer and second-row bucket seats. The GLX model has all this plus leather upholstery, a power driver's seat and heated seats up front. There's an optional video entertainment system for back-seat passengers, but it's a pretty expensive item just to keep the kids happy. You kids entertained yourselves with books and arguing when you were little. MATT - One of the strong points of the Quest is that the seating can be changed around to at least 65 different configurations if it has those bucket seats in the second row. It probably requires a separate owner's manual to figure them all out, but I guess it's handy if the owner wants to show off with automotive tricks. Unfortunately, there's not much pazazz in the 3.3-liter V6 engine. It only puts out 170 horses which is a little on the light side compared to its competition. It makes 200 pound-feet of torque, which is good, but it's still a little short on passing power. I was surprised to find that the solid rear axle was hung on leaf springs, which is pretty old technology. The transmission is a four-speed automatic with an overdrive but the fuel mileage is slightly above average, getting 17 MPG around town and 23 on the highway. The press kit claims that the Quest has a towing capacity of around 3500 pounds but it certainly couldn't be done in the fast lane. At that, the engine has considerably more beans than the '98 version. Until the revamp of '99, Quest only had 150 horsepower which, as I recall, was hardly enough power to allow it to stay up with traffic. BOB - But you have to remember that minivans aren't built for Stoplight Grand Prix racing, Matt. They're built to transport people, a lot of them being pretty young. Those multi-positional seats can be adjusted to hold lots of child seats and the fact that it has lots of convenience items is a definite plus for use as a family car. Our SE was easy to drive and the upright front seats provide a good view for the driver. The turning circle is fairly tight for a front-wheel drive vehicle, so parallel parking in sedan-sized spaces isn't an exercise in boat-docking. The GXE has all the bells-and-whistles necessary to make for pleasant cruising and the only options on it are a power sunroof and fog lamps, and I'm not sure that the latter items are used very often. Minivans are handy even for guys my age. MATT - I've noticed that you keep a couple of child seats in your own minivan, Dad. They must be for use when Tom and I leave our kids with you and Mom to babysit. BOB - Old habits are hard to break.