Nissan Quest Versus Ford Freestar

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    Ford, like GM, doesn’t appear to be trying anymore. I guess their SUVs are too popular. The Freestar was an inordinate amount of money for its features, even considering the heavy discounts. Anyone willing to write a longer review or reply is welcome to, but here’s my two cents: crappy interior and really underpowered drive.



    Test drove both of these vans in the last week. Due to my employment I get good supplier discounts on both these vans – that discount along with the cash back deals going on right now ($3000 on the Nissan, $4500 on the Ford) put Toyota and Honda out of the running right out of the gate. The 3.9L in the Ford was the engine I chose to compare to the Quest due to fuel economy (If someone put a small diesel in a minivan there would be no contest IMO!).

    The interior of the Quest is much nicer in its appointments. Seats are larger and more supportive – a big deal for a 6’3″ 215 pounder. I would like having the hand operated parking brake of the Ford – but that’s a minor issue. The industrial strength design of the Ford was not really appealing. We came from a 98 Chevy Astro Van and the very plain, plasticy interior styling of the Ford reminded me of the old Chevy (Also looked at the DC minivans and found similar cheap styling in comparably priced versions – never bothered to drive them). Also getting something smaller than the Astro was not really desired – but a foregone conclusion as the Astro is really a step between minivans and full-sized vans. The Quest’s being bigger than the Ford was a plus for us.

    The Quest also easily out-performed the Ford in acceleration. While neither is exactly a race horse, the difference was very noticeable.

    One thing the Ford had going for it was that it was available with ESP (Advance-Trac in Ford Lingo – VDC in Nissan’s) even in the base model. I wasn’t willing to part with the extra $8k or so to move up from the S to SE with the VDC added – once my service manual with all the wiring diagrams comes in I may look into what would be involved in retrofitting the VDC into my S. Some guys on the forum have successfully done this on Jetta’s and Golf’s so I would guess it is possible on just about anything. It also appears that all the Freestar’s being made have the DVD system which we decided was a must for our next minivan. Since this was a requirement and the current rebates are on dealer stock; we did have to settle on a color that I think will grow on me (Smoke).

    All that said, time will tell how my first impressions of the Quest will hold up under the abuse that will be heaped on it by three kids. Oh yeah, I also got the dealer to throw in an extra headset for the DVD as part of the deal to keep all three kids occupied. Deals are rockin’ right now if you are in the market.


    06 3.5S Special Edition
    02 VW Jetta TDI

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