UCB Parents Recommendations

Nissan Quest

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March 2002

Has anyone had any expiriences they would like to share about they're nissan quest? We are looking to buy a new one, and would be intrested in the good and the bad. thanks cris


I don't own one, but...

A couple of years ago a brand new Quest rear-ended my 91 Ford Taurus at a red light - the results where quite suprising, the Taurus had some scratches/gouges and paint damage to the bumper (the bumper was inspected and pronounced undamaged) but the whole front bumper/grille molding of the Quest was shattered. He hit me pretty hard, and no doubt his front end was supposed to crumple like that, but it looked like a very expensive repair for a minor collision. Minor collision damage can be very expensive on many newer cars with big plastic molded bumpers painted to match their bodywork. Having bragged about the sturdiness of the Taurus, you should know that the Quest is assembled by Ford in Ohio, and is basically a Mercury Villager with minor styling differences - Ford's other front wheel drive minivan (the Windstar) does not have a good reliability record.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that when Japanese manufacturers start assembly operations in the US they don't always manage to maintain the usually excellent build quality/reliability of the vehicles assembled in Japan.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests give the Quest a poor rating - see www.hwysafety.com for details. This model is several years old and this is probably the last year before a complete redesign.

Personal Opinion: Some minivans are just a big shoebox shaped body dropped onto the manufacturers existing mid-size sedan running gear - that body and all the stuff piled into it take a lot of hauling - the engine / transmission / brakes etc. are working hard and wear out quicker. Unless you have a LARGE family you might be better off with a full-size sedan, a wagon, or (dare I say it!) one of the newer SUV's

The best website for comprehensive, impartial advice on new and used cars is Edmund's at www.edmunds.com Sam Evison


We have a '97 GXE model which is fully loaded. I don't know the current arrangements b/w Nissan and Ford but this model is a hybrid (Nissan engine/drivetrain/chassis and Ford body/components). Our experience seems to bear out this combination.

1. Mechanical/Structural Problems Encountered

a. Air-conditioning formed mildew when run with air being re-circulated 
(1997).
This caused a vinegar-like odor. Unit was cleaned with
acid and odor has not recurred but we run it using outside
air when possible to reduce mildew formation. Fixed under warranty.
b. Hinge on one of the side windows was slipping-out due to misapplication
of adhesive (1997). Fixed under warranty.
c. Squeak behind dashboard (1997). Fixed under warranty.
d. Pinhole-sized air-bubble in paint on roof (1997). Fixed under
warranty.
e. Airbag warning light stays on (1997). Airbag OK, light switch faulty.
Fixed under warranty.
f. Rear windshield washer pump burned out (2001). Out-of-warranty
repair cost $140.
g. Footbrake warning light comes on intermittently when
disengaged (2002). Not being repaired.
h. Power antenna failure (2002). Estimated out-of-warranty
repair cost is $120.
i. Recall on fuel tank connector (2001). Fixed under recall.
j. Paint fading under clearcoat in one spot on the roof (approx
1 inch in diameter) (2002). No action being taken.

2. General Likes/Dislikes Most of these problems were minor and I very much anticipated their sort after researching this model in Consumer Reports. There tends to be a little more wind-noise than one would expect but that was also minor and may have been fixed in the new models. Overall, we've been very happy with our Quest and it's taken us on lots of long road trips with a great deal of comfort. This model was one of the best minivans available with a V6 engine in late 1996. It has since been eclipsed by V6 models from Toyota and Honda which (based on last year's Consumer Reports) have better overall reliability records. Faced with a decision to buy a minivan in '96, I would still have bought the Quest. If I had to choose today, I would probably go for the Honda Odyssey. Anonymous in Pleasanton


WE have a 96 nissan quest. I agree with a previous replier: (to paraphraze roughly)It was a great minivan choice at the time - if it was now '96 I would make the same choie - the Honda Odessy is MUCH improved since '96 and I would now buy an Odessy.

With my Quest I like: its integral child seats (may not still be offered); its remote controlled back corner windows; its rear window that can open independently of the rear door; its tinted side and rear windows. What I would change if I could: make moving the rear seat easire, make the wind noise less, have doors on both sides. We have had some minor mechanical problems, one windshield crack and some minor paint problems. All in all - it's apretty darn good van for us.

We use Art's Automotive on San Pablo near Ashby for mechanical stuff and Panel Craft (in same area) for body work. happy quest driver


From: Kim

We bought a new Quest minivan in fall '94 and have been very happy with it since. We drive to northern Louisiana each winter holiday (three seasons so far) with two kids (now 7 & 12), a grandma, and the two of us. We always have a fun trip! Desert on the way there and snow on the way back (northern Arizona). Really easy to drive; it feels like driving any midsized car to me. It drives so smoothly uphill and down in all weather conditions. The Quest feels so roomy inside (seats 6 really comfortably-but will take 7); everyone feels like they have enough of their own space (we do have a Thule rack on top for the suitcases). The space inside the back door of the van for looks small, but you can really fit so much in there also. We did spend the extra money for many options - I'm pretty sure it's a heavier suspension and stronger shocks, so I don't know if that helps on the ride. We have not had any major problems - only a few noises and a broken reading light that the warranty fixed. We tend to go to smaller car repair shops for tuneups, but have had pretty good service on this van with the local Nissan shops for the initial warranty repairs.


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