2005 Nissan Quest SL 3.5 V6 from North America
Lots of little irritations sour what could have been a decent minivan
I've owned lots of cars in the $5k-$8k range, as I prefer to buy cars with cash and don't like to spend a ton. I prefer to buy vehicles that are a bit more "heavy-duty" in nature, as I find they hold up better in the long run. Some examples include Mercury Grand Marquis/Ford Crown Victoria, Chevrolet Suburban/Tahoe, Ford Ranger and Ford Explorer. However, I wanted a minivan this time around for the combination of space and fuel mileage.
The Quest doesn't fit the heavy-duty profile, and it shows. The brakes, shocks, suspension, ball joints and bushings were all toast. Even after replacing them, they feel overworked and stressed. The power steering rack is shot and needs replacing as well.
The VQ-series 3.5L V6 is a little noisy but powerful. I'm hoping that I don't have to do the timing chain guide repair, which is a $1800 bill if you get stuck with it. So far, so good.
There are a number of irritating issues, which on their own aren't a big deal but add up over time. The radio is designed in such a way that it cannot be replaced with an aftermarket unit, and there's no way to add an aux input. The cable on the power sliding door is broken. Even when new, the rear hatch struts are under-powered, or maybe the motor is slow. If you wash your car on a sub-freezing day, the side doors WILL freeze shut, no matter how much you try to dry the weather stripping and other surfaces. The front seats are oddly shaped, leaving me with neck pain anytime I drive long distances. These piddly issues stack up to make the van much less enjoyable.
I will give it positive credit for fold-flat 3rd row seats, almost fold-flat middle row, and a ton of room to carry stuff. The low loading floor makes it my go-to choice for trips to the lumber yard instead of my Suburban -- it swallows 10' boards down the middle, and 8' behind the front seats. Fuel economy isn't bad, either -- fully loaded I get mid-20s.
It's not a terrible van, but I wouldn't get another one. Unfortunately, there aren't many great options for minivans of this vintage: the Dodge is terrible, the Honda eats transmissions, the Chevy and Ford are worse than the Dodge. I wanted to like the Kia, but both models I test drive were very creaky and noisy. The Toyota Sienna is probably the best of the bunch, but commands the price premium for that luxury.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 25th January, 2016