2004 Nissan Quest 3.5 SE (470)


This week I test drove the 2004 Nissan Quest 3.5 SE Mini Van. The first Quest minivan was introduced in 1993 as a joint venture with Ford Motor Company that also produced the Mercury Villager. A second-generation Quest was sold from 1999 to 2002.

The 2004 Quest is an all-new version including center-mounted gauges, dash-mounted transmission shifter, and second-row seats that fold flat. The new design features a long wheelbase, wide track, and unique “Sky view” glass roof panels.  

The space age dash will attract some and repulse others. I rather like it because all controls are very easy to reach. The center-mounted gauges take a little getting used to, but that too is no problem. The changes are not gimmicks but rather they are practical and useful changes, in my opinion.

Mini vans aren’t “Cool” to so many. Just ask around and you get the sense that an SUV is great looking but Mini Vans are for nerds. It must be a true perception because manufacturers like Nissan are changing the look of mini vans to be more SUV like in styling. It wasn’t so different in the 1960’s and 1970’s when the Station Wagon was the only family vehicle available. It was the consumer who invented the Mini Van. They simply bought panel trucks or vans if you prefer, and carpeted them for relative comfort of passengers… yes, the kids. But that was before mandatory seat belts and baby seats. You simply threw the kids in the back of the Pick up or van and were off to the beach, mountains, etc. for the family outing.

General Info:

Parts –  n/a

Assembly – Canton

Class:  – Compact Van

Cars: – 350Z, Altima, Frontier, Maxima, Murano, Pathfinder, Quest, Sentra, Titan and Xterra.

Handling & Performance:

Very good because of the special equipment including Multi-link rear suspension and the front and rear stabilizer bars. This model (SE) also comes standard with VDC – Vehicle Dynamic Control and traction control. Many new cars are beginning to push this technology to help prevent Roll Over accidents. In a close call, avoiding another car or other obstacle on the road, you will begin to appreciate these unseen features.


This Minivan is indicative of the melding together of the SUV and the Mini Van. Manufacturers are concentrating on this obvious difference between these two vehicle classes. The result is there is less difference in appearance. But the minivan still has my vote for being the best practical design for carrying passengers. And once again, if you don’t expect to get off road, the 2-wheel drive minivan provides the best access with the dual sliding doors.

Fit and Finish:

Don’t you just love the Japanese for their attention to detail? They still have the most well put together cars on the road. That wasn’t always the case.


Everything about a minivan is convenient, but thoughtful placement of controls is a definite plus for this vehicle. You warm up quickly to the layout and the auto doors would surely be on the top of my list of things to include. My niece bought one without the power doors and at the first opportunity she traded it for one that did come equipped with them.

In my view, this is a must own vehicle for most any family with kids, soccer and little league teams and the like.


A little pricey if you opt for the SE, but the S model eliminates some of the SE standard features for about $24,000- and they are all powered by the 240 hp V6.

Consumer Recommendation:

The only one I haven’t tested is the Ford Freestar. My favorites are the Honda Odyssey all around, and for the best price the Kia Sedona is impressive. It’s the new kid on the block and they are being price competitive.

I like the styling on this Quest and found the interior changes were easy to warm up to. I don’t like way out things, but this new approach to instrumentation and position of other controls is thoughtfully done. It is a departure from the norm, but well done.

The Competition:

Nissan Quest $24-32,000, Mazda MPV $22-26,000, Honda Odyssey $24-30,000, Chrysler Voyager $21-24,000, Volkswagen EuroVan $26-28,000, Kia Sedona $20-22,000, Toyota Sienna $23-37,000, Pontiac Montana $23-31,000, Ford Freestar $21-33,000, Oldsmobile Silhouette $28-36,000, Chevrolet Venture $21-33,000, Dodge Caravan $21-32,000, Chrysler Town & Country $23-40,000.

Good News:

Mini Van convenience, SUV like with better gas mileage, new styling, good cargo space even with all the seats up.

Bad News:

There must be something, but I couldn’t find it. I guess having to make the choice will be a lot of work.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter 240 hp V6 engine, 5-speed auto trans, (EBD) electronic brake force distribution, 4-wheel power ABS disc brakes, VDC) vehicle dynamic control system, traction control, power steering, dual power sliding doors, rear sonar system, sky view roof, power mirrors, roof rack, audio system with 6 CD with steering wheel controls, cruise control, computer information, power sunroof, climate control, rear heating and air conditions, power windows and locks, 8-way power driver seat, 4-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, power adjustable foot pedals, leather, tilt steering, remote keyless entry, Homelink transceiver, dual air bags, 3-row side air bags, tire pressure monitoring system, child door locks and vehicle immobilizer system.

Gas Stats:

18 City and 25 Highway MPG.


MSRP $32,240.


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