Chicago Auto Show: Nissan unveils 2007 Quest in Chicago

The revamped Issan Quest minivan debuted in Chi-town today, and our man Eric was there! (It might be an interesting exercise to compare the Quest to Nissan-sibling Renault's Espace, which also debuted today, on the other side of the pond. Check it out.) It will be interesting to see the reaction to the WRC-like high-mounted shifter.

Many pics and the official press release after the jump.
Ah, the excitement of the press conference!

Press Release: 2007 Nissan Quest Debuts at Chicago Auto Show

Just three years after its introduction in mid-2003, the Nissan Quest minivan has undergone a major transformation for the 2007 model year – complete with a redesigned interior, refined exterior appearance, new high quality materials and attention to detail, and an array of new available features including Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System and an in-dash CD6 with MP3 playback and auxiliary audio input.

Unchanged is Quest’s position as the most distinctive and original minivan on the market today.  Quest also remains one of the roomiest front-wheel drive minivans in its segment, with the widest opening doors for easy access to the standard Fold-Away 2nd and 3rd row seats.  For 2007, the 3rd row seat now offers integrated auto-folding headrests and spring assist for easier operation.

 “When Quest was introduced, it redefined the segment with its emphasis on combining car-like performance, innovative style, sporty appearance and exceptional practicality and versatility,” said Brad Bradshaw, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division.  “The enhancements for 2007, which represent one of the largest mid-cycle investments in Nissan history, make the Quest more flexible and accommodating than ever – keeping pace with the evolving needs and desires of minivan users.”

The new 2007 Quest, which makes its world debut at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, is scheduled to go on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide in spring 2006.

An All-New Instrument Panel For 2007

The most visible change to the 2007 Quest is the instrument panel, which has been totally redesigned to provide a more traditional layout than the original.  The large gauges have been moved directly in front of the driver, from the previous central location.  The shifter lever for Quest’s standard 5-speed automatic transmission is located in the center portion of the instrument panel, below the revised, available center-mounted 7.0-inch color information display screen.

An advanced DVD-based Nissan Navigation System with 7.0-inch color display is also offered.  In addition, the new instrument panel features a revised Human Machine Interface (HMI) design for the available dual-zone HVAC controls, an integrated sunglass holder and lower center storage compartment.  The right side of the instrument panel includes a new, larger glove compartment.

Another addition for 2007 is an available fixed center console between the front seats (offered with Technology Package).  The center console includes a large storage box with a hidden lower compartment.  Quest models without the fixed center console feature a front row folding tray table.  New trim – in either a faux wood style or brushed metallic finish – has been added, along with chrome bezels surrounding gauges and other trim pieces.

“The new Quest interior provides a great space for the driver, with an incredible attention to the layout and the look, tactile feel and smooth operation of all the controls and switches,” said Bradshaw.  “There’s a real sense of the enhanced quality that comes through both visually and tactilely.”

Quest also excels in terms of space management, with its long 124.0-inch wheelbase, 77.6-inch width and 67.3-inch front and rear track providing an overall interior volume of 211.9 cubic feet, one of the largest interior volumes of any front-wheel drive minivan.  Quest\'s sliding door openings measure 33.8 inches, the longest in class. 

Special attention is also paid to front seat dimensions, with large first row shoulder room.  The seats themselves are a “furniture-style” design, reinforcing the design concept of an urban loft.  A new “Chili” color is offered with the leather-appointed seats.

The 2007 Quest continues to advance the concept of flexibility and spontaneity.  The Fold-Away 2nd and 3rd row seats, with the 3rd row folding flat, do not require the owner to remove the seats in order to create a large, fully usable storage area.  The Quest\'s ample length and width allow for carrying large items on the floor with the rear door closed.
The Quest’s 2nd row seats fold down and drop forward to the floor.  The 3rd row, which has been totally rethought for 2007, easily folds into a storage well in the floor.  Unlike the previous design, which included removable headrests, the new 3rd row seat design includes integrated headrests that fold down with the simple pull of a strap.  The rear seat then moves forward and down – a simple three-step movement that, with the addition of the new spring assist, can be completed with one hand.

The sliding side doors and rear door are available with remote power operation for added convenience, with the switch for the automatic closing power rear door located on the upper left D-pillar for ease of use.

Another unique highlight of the Quest interior is the available SkyViewÔ glass-paneled roof, which utilizes roof-mounted glass panels for the 2nd and 3rd rows that (along with the front sunroof) help enhance the use of natural light throughout the vehicle.

A full-length rear overhead console is available with the SkyView glass-paneled roof.  It creates aircraft-like interior comfort zones with personal reading lamps and air vents. 

The rear overhead console houses the Quest\'s available DVD Mobile Entertainment System\'s single or dual 8.0-inch fold-down color display screens.

The front overhead console has been revised for 2007 to include the rear HVAC controls.  The new Chili interior color is in addition the previous Gray and Beige interior colors, which are now slightly darker in tone.

“The interior environment is once again a true highlight of the Quest design for 2007, creating a third living space that is comfortable, convenient and totally in synch with the needs of today’s active family lifestyles,” said Bradshaw.

A Refined Exterior for 2007

Quest’s breakthrough exterior addresses consumer concerns about traditional minivans\' conservative imagery.  The contemporary body imparts a look of high quality and is marked by an arching roofline that transitions seamlessly off of the A-pillar, a strong shoulder that adds dimension to the body sides, well-defined wheel forms that have a minimal gap with the tire sidewalls and a fluid gesture in the beltline that starts low off of the headlights and kicks up toward the rear of the vehicle.

New for 2007 is an attractive, flowing Nissan-signature grille and a new front bumper fascia that is more angular and more aggressive than the previous version.  The rear combination taillights have been redesigned and side sills have been added on the 3.5SE model.  The roof rack, while retaining the previous dimensions and high level of utility, is now more squared and has a new satin-look finish.  The Quest’s door handles are chrome, instead of body color, and new chrome accents enhance the clean, modern look of the vehicle.  One new exterior color is offered for 2007 – Chestnut – among eight total colors

Quest’s available wheels have been redesigned for 2007, including the base wheel covers and the 16-inch and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
Non-Traditional Minivan Performance

As expected from the company behind the popular Nissan 350Z sports car and Maxima sedan, the 2006 Quest offers responsive acceleration and handling.

Every 2007 Quests is equipped with a standard 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine based on Nissan\'s VQ35 engine series, which as been named one of “The 10 Best Engines” by Ward’s magazine for 12 straight years.  For use in the Quest, the 3.5-liter V6 is tuned to produce 240 horsepower* and 242 lb-ft torque.

The engine design includes state-of-the-art design features, such as Continuous Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS), microfinished crankshaft and camshaft, molybdenum-coated pistons and sequential multi-point electronic fuel injection.  The engines are assembled at Nissan\'s Decherd, Tenn. engine assembly facility.

The Quest engine is matched with a smooth, responsive, standard 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive.  The transmission has been improved with a wider gear ratio for 2007 for increased acceleration performance.  A Traction Control System (TCS) is also standard and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) is standard on the 3.5SE and available on 3.5SL models.

Another element that is often overlooked in the minivan segment is responsive handling and ride comfort.  Utilizing Nissan\'s advanced FF-L (for Front engine, Front-wheel drive, Large) platform, also found on the popular Nissan Altima, Murano crossover SUV and Maxima, the 2007 Quest features a 4-wheel independent suspension with a rear multi-link design and front and rear stabilizer bars.

The Quest is offered with 16x6.5 wheels and P225/65R16 tires on 3.5, 3.5S and 3.5SL models and 17x6.5 aluminum-alloy wheels and P225/60R17 tires on the 3.5SE model.  Also available are P225/700/R480a Michelin® PAX® System run-flat tires with 19x6.5 wheels.

A sensor-type Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) is standard on all 2007 Quests.

Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is also standard, along with 4-wheel vented disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD).

The Quest’s noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) isolation has been improved for 2007 and both the steering feel and ride quality have been recalibrated to provide a more comfortable driving experience.

Safety and Security

Safety is a particularly important part of the minivan purchase decision and the Quest was developed with a strong focus on both active safety – through the responsive engine, suspension and braking technologies – and passive safety through a comprehensive set of passive restraint systems.

Standard Quest safety equipment includes Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones and occupant zone and the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS), which utilizes crash zone sensor and advanced occupant weight sensing capability to control front passenger air bag deployment.  Front seat Active Head Restraints and Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) are standard.

Also standard are head curtain supplemental air bags to help protect 1st, 2nd and 3rd row outboard occupants in side-impact collisions and 3-point seat belts and height-adjustable head restraints for all seating positions.  Supplemental front-seat side-impact air bags for thorax protection are standard on 3.5SE and optional on 3.5SL.

Quest also offers a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for CHildren) child seat anchorage system, child safety rear door locks and a Vehicle Security System (VSS).
RearView Camera and Rear Sonar System

Also available for 2007 is a RearView Monitor system (standard on 3.5SE, optional on 3.5SL), that utilizes a small camera mounted near the rear license plate that projects a view of what’s directly behind the vehicle to the Vehicle Information Center display screen.  The system is activated anytime reverse gear is engaged and helps enhance the driver’s rearward view.
Quest also includes a standard Rear Sonar System (except 3.5), which provides an audible beep when approaching solid objects while backing up.

Special Attention to Quality

 “Another focus of the 2007 Quest redesign has been in the areas of quality, both manufacturing and perceived quality,” said Bradshaw.
During the development process, the design, engineering, manufacturing and supplier teams gathered for nearly a year in a special “war room” at the Nissan Technical Center in Farmington Hills, Mich.  The goal was to enhance both the design and communications processes while the team tackled both large items (the all-new instrument panel, for example) and small details (thickness and finish of the rear armrests). 
“The result of the team’s efforts is a new Quest that is not only well-built, but looks and feels like a quality vehicle the moment you approach it or open a door,” said Bradshaw.

A Range of Available Models and Packages

Once again for 2007, Quest is available in four well-equipped models: 3.5, 3.5S, 3.5SL and 3.5SE – each offering an array of standard and available equipment, including 10 cupholders, Remote Keyless Entry system, front row mood lighting, four 12-volt power points.

Other standard equipment includes “child friendly” B-pillar assist grips, adjustable front row seat belt upper anchors and numerous storage compartments located throughout the Quest.  Available equipment includes leather-appointed 1st and 2nd row seating, satellite radio with choice of XM® or SiriusÔ providers, an advanced Nissan navigation system, a 265-watt 10-speaker Bose® audio system, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and Michelin® PAX® System with machined 19-inch alloy wheels and Michelin tires with run-flat technology.
A number of options and packages are offered for 2007, including the Technology Package, with front row center console, satellite radio, Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System (3.5SL adds RearView Monitor, dual-zone climate controls and auto on/off headlights); the Navigation and PAX® Package, with GPS navigation, 19-inch alloy wheels, run-flat tires, in-floor cargo organizer (replaces the spare tire) and Vehicle Dynamic Control (3.5SL models only); SL Upgrade Package, with power left hand door, puddle lamps and supplemental front side-impact air bags; and the SL Premium Package, with leather-appointed interior, heated seats, Bose audio system and DVD entertainment system.
“With the new 2007 Quest, we’re staying ahead of the segment, while becoming more accessible to a wider audience,” said Bradshaw.  “It’s a synergy of style and flexibility that is unmatched by any other minivan on the market.”

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