Our new truck

Some may say that when you buy a boat you should have a vehicle that can tow it. Pffftt. That’s what friends and family vehicles are for! So now that we have a boat sitting on a trailer in our driveway we decided to get something that could tow it.


It took a while to finally pick out our 2010 Nissan Xterra. We were searching throughout Ontario to find the perfect vehicle and had shortlisted:

  • Toyota Tacoma – The perfect vehicle! But nope, Lori doesn’t like trucks. She was probably right that having an SUV is a better choice with extra space for the kids.
  • Toyota Landcruiser – Can you tell I like Toyota? Lots of great memories as a kid going out with my parents in their 1970s Land Cruisers. Would have been a good choice, but more expensive and the kids would need to have one of the front doors opened before they could open one of their rear doors seemed like a hassle.
  • Range Rover Defender – I’m still recovering from the fact that they stopped making these. It’s a rugged, no-nonsense, farm vehicle that can go anywhere and most issues can be fixed with a swiss army knife and a tin can. Problem was, I didn’t want to have to be fixing it every couple of months, even with better tools.
  • Range Rover Discovery II – These are incredibly cheap to find second hand. But, a gas thirsty V8 four litre engine and worries about reliability made us skip this one.
  • Volvo X90 – Probably the most dependable, safe and sane choice in this list. Could easily find decent ones for under $20k. Not bad for a vehicle originally selling for $50-$60k.

In the end, we decided on the Nissan Xterra and have never second guessed this decision. Although, after limiting our selection to only manual transmissions, we finally take one for a test drive in Ottawa. After the drive, Lori quietly says to me, “I made a mistake, we don’t want a manual”. Sure, it’s not great in stop and go traffic and it really really sucks when backing up a trailer but most of the time it’s perfect.


It’s the top of the line Off-Road model, which is now called the Pro-4X, which comes with all sorts of extra goodies. Lori’s favourite is the stereo with nine speakers, including a thumpy sub-woofer. And is perfectly comfortable towing our new boat.

2 thoughts on “Our new truck

  1. Julian says:

    Hi Shane,

    I’m enjoying reading about you and your family’s experiences sailing! Regarding when you had the Mac 26X do you have any further comments on how it towed with the Xterra? It sounded overall positive but I was curious your impression power wise, handling (being a shorter wheelbase), and braking. Did your trailer or truck have any towing aids added to it and did you tow any longer distances?



    1. Shane says:

      Hi Julian,

      The trailer did have a hydraulic braking system. I’m not 100% sure how it worked but there was some sort of actuator in the hitch, I think the force against the trailer hitch applied the brakes on the trailer.

      We never had any issues towing with the Xterra. We wished we had an automatic at times over the manual, but the 4×4 low gearing was really useful for launching and retrieving. Longest distance we drove was about 2.5 hours. So can’t really comment on long distances, but I can’t imagine it being an issue.

      The great thing about the 26x is that it’s so light (with water ballast drained) so you don’t need a big vehicle for it. I believe 2,600 pounds dry + weight of gear + weight of trailer.



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