(NFR) Searching for A fish car

So, in the words of a parent, I'm going to blow part of my inheritance from the other parent and get a new car. Since my current rig is a 1997 Grand Am with 154,000 miles on it, not exactly ideal for a guide, I'm looking at trucks and SUVs.

I think I've got things narrowed down to the 05 Nissan Xterra S, Nissan Frontier SE (with a cap), Jeep Liberty, or Chevy Colorado with a cap.

Thoughts on any of these? I'm not looking for a Toyota because of their high price up front... I'm paying cash, and can't spend over 24K, and even the 4cyl Tacomas are up around 23K right now. I'm also not looking full-size because of their poor mileage, or for car-based rides because I may be towing a drift boat. Any others you can think of?

Any input will be much appreciated.
Boy this is going to be a great post. You will get recommendations for everything I can't wait to see what is posted. As for as my idea. We looked at all the options a few years ago and bought a full size Chev 1500 extra cab pickup. We get 18 MPG in all around driving and over 16 towing a tent trailer. The difference in comfort, room, (it will seat 4 adults comfortably) and ability to tow (plenty of Power) over a mid size is great. And from what I have seen the MPG is only about 1-3 lower than the midsize vehicles.
The dealers have "value priced" these vehicles and you should be able to get one in your price range. Full size in my opinion is the only way to go. Way more versatility.
my .02 jesse clark


Active Member
Of the 4 you mentioned you can discard the cheesey Colorado, the undersized and wimpy Liberty and decide whether you want a truck or Suv and then pick either of the Nissan models you are looking at. The 05 Xterra has just been freshened and is better than ever-one of the only serious no-nonsense sport utes around. You sound intent on buying new and I can certainly understand that. But the $24,000 you spend this year will be worth less than $19,000 in 3 years and as investments go that is not much of a return.

If you gave me the $24,000 and said "Ive, find me a rig" I would pick out a cherry lease return Explorer for around $14,000, buy a long term maintainance contract on it and give you back about $9,000 to go fishing with. They are a little bigger with room to sleep in, have good power for towing with the OHC V-6, and get a little over 20mpg on trips.

That is exactly what I did in 1998 and my old dear now has about 150k on it and still gets 22mpg in summer driving. Nothing has broken or failed so far and it is probably used 10 times harder than the average SUV.

Good luck, it will be fun to hear the replies you get. And happy shopping! Ive
I'm with Ive, sort of.

Spend 15 to 18 on a good late model used 4Runner take the rest and get a new boat! As good as Toyota builds 'em let some one else eat the depreciation and buy a can of new truck smell.

The same would go for Nissan or Isuzu.


Driving the 97 Trooper to death!

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I bet Leland Myawaki could cut you a good deal :thumb:

Take a look at the Classified section on this site, a few rigs
there now.

Your car sounds great for a guide rig...you should see the exotic jalopy that Jack Gartside used to drive from Boston to Montana and back every year. :eek:
Subaru Wagon... jack it up, take oput the aluma block, drop in a hog and you have the greatest fishing vehicle ever.
The only reasons I'm not 100% on the new Nissans is that I suspect their gas mileage is going to bite... also the only big reason I'm even considering the Colorado anymore, since they get the best mileage of the bunch. The real-world numbers I've heard about the new Frontiers are bad... 16mpg in a mix of city/highway driving. Even with a cap to cut down on wind resistance, that's still low. On the other hand I know a guy at the Smyrna plant (a client, actually) who can get me on VPP so I can get one at a participating dealer for under invoice.

I'm dead set on buying new. Otherwise I'd probably get a 3-4 year old 4-Runner.

Thanks for the replies.
id go with a used jeep grand cherrokee. they get pretty good gas milage, right around 18 mpg, and run forever, i got over 160 thousand on mine with out having any problems exept the steering got a little spongy, but mine was also made in '97 and im pretty sure they've fixed that problem by now. theyre all time four wheel drive which is nice in bad weather, and can be put in to 4 wheel low for really bad roads. they have a huge v8 with a lot of horse power and torque, it really makes them alot of fun. and to top things off you can find a 2003 or 4 for around 20k mine cost me 4 but it was also a 97. best of luck


Active Member
subaru all the way!!! Or toyota if sub's arent an option. Lift's for sub are only 300-600 bucks and with a awd sub, you can go anywhere, carry anything, and sleep like a king in the woods. Plus, they last forever and are cheap to work on if you know how to turn a wrench.

Best of luck to ya.
Everyone wants a new car but LISTEN TO IVE here. I have bought new trucks before and it is nice to have that new rig smell for a while. Take your time to figure out what you want, I think you already know. I have bought great used trucks with low miles on them, the last one only had 11,000 on it. I spent months looking for what I wanted at the price I wanted to pay. You still get the factroy warranty in most cases or get the extended warranty. Buying used doesn't mean buying trashed stuff if you buy from a reputable dealer and know what you want. Cars that don't meet their standards generally get wholesaled to used car lots. Take your time and buy a low mileage used one and keep your cash in YOUR bank were it belongs. O.K. now if you still want to buy new fine. :beathead: :mad: But if you are going to buy for a "buisness vehicle" than look into a zero residual commercial lease. Most sales guys will tell you that they don't offer them, not true. Check thru a Fleet division of a dealership. I don't know about you but I work hard for my money and even harder to save it. Make the Dealer say no to you. They never do.

Monty "The fool and his money are easily parted." My dad told me this one but I was to stuborn to listen until one day I was a fool.

Jeremy Husby

Is there a Vahalla for fishermen?
A 85-90 Volvo 760 turbo, the heated seats :cool: , 160hp stock (you can get up to 400) rear wheel drive so you can light the tires up when running from scary locals. I take mine through the fortson bog and it does better then most trucks (except my exhaust is pretty scraped up). And cops never even look at me when in a hurry. Plus they are plush inside, leather, AC, Sun roof. I got mine for $400 i think that would leave you with 23.6K to spend on gear and boat. . . :thumb: It even has a slot in the trunk to slide skis through into cab, great for those one piece rods. . .man those swedes know how to build a car. . .


Active Member
Pay a bit more now or risk paying more later in repairs and other issues.

Yes, vehicle quality is better than ever before, but American quality standards still don’t match the Japanese and the best of the Japanese is Toyota. They have JIT inventory and assembly cross training down to an art.

Yes, there are examples of fine American autos. Those autos come from the days when the assembly line has few absentees and there are no or minimal part shortages. That means that everything goes on the car or truck at the right time, by the right people, as it moves down the assembly line. That is why you don’t want a car made on Mondays or Fridays. The thing is, you just don’t know on what day your future car was made and if there were any issues in the supply chain at the time.

This is from someone who worked in the US vehicle industry for seven years.


Jim Kerr

Active Member
Last year, after using an experimental underwater hood canal bridge bypass in my grand wagoneer, I found myself in need of a new rig. I took the nest egg I had been saving for a new drift boat a few K extra and rode with a friend as we hit every used lot and classified on the pennisula.
I needed a car THAT DAY. At about 6 pm. I settled grudgingly on a 93 dodge dakota with a big v8. I never wanted to own a Dodge but didn't really have a choice.
I am stoked! I get about 17 to the mile, have tons of power to pull my big boat, it will pull my drift boat up the worst ramp on the peninsula, I can sleep or store trash in the back. With a little crisco and a shoe horn I can stuff even a big dude in back to haul 2 clients. I layed out 7K cash and when I hit 250kmi on this one, plan to buy another. Best american pick up I have ever owned, and this from a dyed in the wool chevy man


Dana Miller
Check the ads. You should be able to find a new Ford Explorer for a little under your limit. A dealer in Tacoma currently has one on the lot for $22,999.

The V6 Explorer will tow your drift boat and you should be able to get 20 mpg with it. It will be alot roomier and comfortable than the others you listed.

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