Quest for Quiet Passengers
by Scott Corlett
In early December, at the peak of the holiday party season, a 2007 Nissan Quest 3.5 SE minivan arrived in our driveway. That was excellent timing: this seven-passenger, rolling entertainment center is the perfect vehicle for ferrying friends and family to all the December circuit parties—you know, the work gatherings (where you drink too much and kiss the boss), the tree-trimmings at Grandma’s (where she drinks too much), and even the gift exchanges at the in-laws (where, unfortunately, you don’t drink enough).
On a chilly San Francisco Saturday, we were assigned driving duty to an event slightly less fraught than the aforementioned gatherings—an afternoon get-together with friends over holiday treats. We pulled up in front of our first passenger’s home, and slid the impressive, center-dash lever—reminiscent of a school-bus shifter—into “Park” position. We hopped out, lightly tweaked the handle of the curb-side, rear sliding door (the designers at Nissan thoughtfully provide standard sliders on both sides), and then stood back and watched as the door quietly opened on its own (power sliders are available on the SL and SE trims). Our precious cargo climbed onto his second-row captain’s seat, which can be folded down into table or flat positions, and then, with the press of an interior button, the door slid closed behind him.
At the next stop, we opened the power liftgate to reveal a cavernous storage area behind the upright, fold-flat, third-row bench. In the Nissan Quest, along with room for seven passengers, there is plenty of space for either the luggage of a large family on a cross-country trek; three golf bags stowed in vertical position; or a haul of gifts fit for a queen. After the charming duo of waiting passengers had dumped three, lonely card tables into the rear bin, another quick press of a button closed the hatch. The pair climbed in, and, despite their relegation to the third-row bench, which in most vehicles is tantamount to entombment, the boys bathed in natural light thanks to the optional array of glass panels that dot the Quest’s ceiling.
After a final pickup, we pressed down the accelerator and the Quest’s solely offered 235-hp, 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine coupled to the standard five-speed automatic transmission pushed us up a freeway ramp. We merged smoothly into traffic and headed south, down the San Francisco Peninsula. For a vehicle of its size, the Nissan Quest handles smoothly both on the street and on the highway. But you aren’t buying a Quest for its dynamics. You buy a Quest because you want a safe, reliable hauler to take loved ones from point A to point B, ideally, keeping younger travelers contently quiet along the way. With the Quest’s combination of standard and available airbags, disappointingly optional vehicle stability control, and unwavering Nissan quality, neither safety nor reliability is in question.
As we passed the airport and a plane streaked low over our Quest, the final entrant on the ride south asked about the twin sets of cordless headphones, which were tucked over a seatback. For a mere two grand, you can have your own mini-multiplex. The Quest’s optional DVD Entertainment System comes with two eight-inch color screens, which fold down from the ceiling; a DVD player with aux inputs; a remote control; and two Bluetooth headsets. For the entertainment of drivers, there is available Sirius satellite radio and Bluetooth hands-free telephony.
We parked in front of a lovingly restored arts-and-crafts bungalow. After a whir of electronic motors freed our cargo, we started up the walkway to house. We reached the top of the porch steps, and looked back at our Quest. We never thought that we would say it, but, in the 2007 Nissan Quest, maybe the minivan-driving soccer moms got it right.
Nissan is a gay-friendly company.
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