While I've owned a full-size pickup, station wagon, Toyota P/U, etc, the
1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo I bought one year ago gets my wife and
I psyched for fishing the most. I paid $1,000, and it's in great condition. The
onboard computer says I'm getting an easy 20mpg on the highway, and 16mpg overall with an inline 4.0L 6 cylinder. The seats are faux leather vinyl, and that makes clean-up a snap. The rear seats fold down for carrying
gear, and I guess we could even use a sleeping bag back there if circumstances demanded. Handling is better than we had anticipated, and
I would say excellent. The roof rack easily holds our canoe, but we do use
plenty of tie downs, including front and rear. We've made 300 mile roundtrips,
and the seats have all sorts of adjustments (including an inflatible lumbar
support). Jeep Grand Cherokees from this model era sell for very little, and
the person I bought mine from bought it for his 3 sons to use while in college.
They took great care of the Jeep, and the father just wanted it off his driveway. If anyone was interested in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, I highly recommend the 4.0L straight 6 engine. The engine compartment is nearly
empty, allowing access to everything. It's great on gas, and has plenty of
*All of the rear windows are darkly tinted, and it's very difficult to see inside during the day. I feel
much better about having gear in the Jeep because of this.
We had been looking for a conversion van, but didn't have much success. My
parents owned two conversion vans for us to use while we were in school
(and to take our Old English Sheep dog to the groomer/vet
), but they
had terrible gas mileage, and handled horribly in any kind of wind.