New Car/Review

1999 NISSAN QUEST SE

By Matt/Bob Hagin

Nissan Full Line factory footage (16:43) 28.8, 56k, or 200k
SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 23,899
Price As Tested                                    $ 25,517
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

(Matt Hagin says that this is the first significant change for the Nissan Quest minivan since its debut. Since Bob Hagin was a Nissan mechanic during the 60s, he's seen a lot of changes in the Nissan line.

BOB - My experience with the Nissan line goes back to 1959, Matt. The cars and trucks were called Datsuns then, and a local used car dealer took on the line and needed someone to service them after they were sold. The first ones were built under a license from Austin of England and since I'd become something of an Austin "guru," the Datsuns were right up my alley.

MATT - Nissan has come a long way in 40 years, Dad, and its '99 Quest minivan is up there with the best of them. Nissan was late getting into the minivan market coming on line in '92. The current model has been updated considerably for '99 and it now sports a second sliding side door on the driver's side. In addition, the body design has been considerably revamped with more interior space, and there's a new adjustable Quest Smart Shelf behind the third row seat. It's also a bit wider and over four inches longer, although the wheelbase remains the same as it was on the older version. There are three trim lines to pick from, the GXE, GLE and our top-line SE. The Quest was never offered with a four-banger and since the beginning, the only type of power train that's available is a V6 mounted to a four-speed automatic transmission.

BOB - But the size of the engine has been increased from 3.0 liters to 3.3 liters this time, Matt, and even with the bigger engine, the Quest has been able to increase the fuel mileage and boost the power. Nissan has paid attention to some of the details that can increase fuel economy. As an example, the coefficient of drag of the Quest is only 0.36 which is pretty good aerodynamics for a boxy minivan. The Nissan engineers make much of the fact that the Quest is very car-like in its performance. The 3.3 V6 puts out only 170 horses but more importantly, the torque is 200 pound/feet, which is an indicator of pulling power. The Quest is no lightweight though, at just under 4000 pounds, but it it's strong enough to go from zero to 60 MPH in just 10.5 seconds.

MATT - There's a definite Nissan/Infiniti family resemblance in the Quest. The grill resembles the one used on Nissan's luxo-line Infiniti J30, and this makes sense, seeing that they were both designed at Nissan's fancy design studio in Southern California. The top-of-the-line SE Quest that we had comes with a lot of standard features like remote keyless-entry, power door locks, windows and mirrors, and a micron-filter that keeps the air inside the cabin fresh and almost totally pollen-free. This system is standard on the GLE and our SE, but it is optional with the GXE. For people with allergies, this could very well be the most important option on the Quest list of goodies.

BOB - Good acceleration isn't the only car-like attribute of the Quest, Matt. It avoids that "tippy" feeling that some SUVs and minivans give the driver. Our SE trim came with standard front and rear anti-roll bars, which make it handle very well on country roads. The suspension system is pretty conventional except for a neat feature in the rear. In the rear suspension is a pair of concentric cams that slightly angle the front of the rear tires in the opposite direction of the steering wheel. This shortens the turning radius and make this rather long vehicle more maneuverable. The two "lesser" Quest models ride on 15-inch wheels and tires, but our "sportier" SE had 16-inch rims that carried P225/60R rubber. Also, its towing capacity is fairly high at 3,500 pounds. This Quest also came standard with heated outside mirrors and a roof rack, which really comes in handy for carrying long loads.

MATT - Even though it was pouring rain the week we tested Quest, we didn't have to use the standard anti-lock braking system. I guess icy roads provide a better test of ABS.

BOB - At my age, Matt, I don't drive fast enough to even need the help of brakes, let alone the anti-lock kind.

MATT - Judging by the line of cars that usually cues up behind you, I can believe that.

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