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September 03, 2012



Our Honda Odyssey was a lemon from the git-go--had to have the engine replaced and the total electrical system too. But since then it has been fine. Now after 160,000 miles, the air conditioning no longer works--in fact, we can't touch or change the "vent" dial at all or the whole thing breaks down. Still, we soldier on, since it does come in handy as an extra car when our kids are home from college. Last August, we bought a previously owned (i.e., "used") Toyota Highlander, and it is awesome! I would be reluctant to buy another Honda after this last experience (although our other Hondas have been great). I can recommend the Highlander without reservation!


So weird, the exact same thing (engine light, past-due tabs, failed emissions test) happened to me last week with my 12yo Bug. I love that car, but it's been having ALL KINDS of issues lately, so I'm in the market, too. Prolly a Honda CRV -- smallish crossover. But ugh, not looking forward to car payments which I haven't had to deal with for many years!


I can speak from experience - MINIs are awesome. I had one (was a wrench to sell it when we went down to one car) and Husband has one. Really love 'em. More space inside than you'd think.

Janice Molloy

After reading your rave reviews over the years, we went to Polly's Pancake Parlor this summer. I'm not usually much of a pancake person, but these were TO DIE FOR! I love that your server makes the pancakes for you, and brings them three at a time rather than six all at once (the pancakes are fairly small, people, and yes, I did eat all six!). We're already planning a return visit next summer.

Sheila McIntosh

We just got a Mazda 5 and LOVE it. Repeat, LOVE it. It's a mini-mini van, popular en Europe. It seats six and while the third row is not spacious, the under-six-foot members of the family have all used it and it's OK. This thing is so much fun to drive! It handles like a much smaller vehicle. I am NOT a car person and I can't believe I am babbling on this way. They should put me in a commercial.


Elena: Our Odyssey has been a dream. 11 years with very little beyond normal maintenance. I will definitely look at the Highlander (regular and hybrid).

Tonya: Ugh. I'm bringing mine in tomorrow for a look-see....

Kristy: Unfortunately, with 3 school-age kids, a Mini is not even in my near future ... wah!

Janice: Yay! I really don't know what makes these pancakes better than all others, but they are! What kind did you get? I usually get oatmeal-buttermilk with blueberries. And yes, I eat 6 of them too -- plus a side of bacon! I know you don't eat meat, but I will just say that I dream about this bacon all winter.... :) Barbara and I always walk the 3 miles back to the house after a meal at Polly's.

Sheila: Wow, you are positively gushing -- thanks, I will check it out! :) We might need to bump up to the CX-9 because of 3 kids and that much more carpooling, but I will look at both. I used to have Mazda sedans (pre-kids) and was always happy with them.


We have two friends with Highlanders who LOVE them, and that's probably what we will get too when our Outback dies. Glad you had a nice long weekend, especially because today is so fall-like!


I'd get the Toyota FJ Cruiser, but I like my SUVs a wee bit more rugged and a tad less civilized than the average commuter. Get the Highlander over the Mazda, though. It even comes in a hybrid model if you're so inclined.


All of which presumes you're not going to drop $50k on a Range Rover Evoque. :)


Presumption correct. :)


Mercedes GLK350 Compact SUV. I'm a huge fan of buying very low-mile, late model vehicles at Carmax (there's one about 35 miles from you). You can search their entire national inventory on line. You can even trade your old vehicle in.

We've executed a total of 10 transactions over the years with Carmax.

Jonathan Arnold

I still say nothing fits a family with kids like a minivan. And the Odyssey is still the cream of the crop.

Oddly enough, out Odyssey sounds just like yours - 11 years old with the check engine / TC light coming on. Of course, it never seems to happen when we bring it to the shop. And we have all sorts of weird squeaking noises coming from the front end.

But my wife is adamant about driving it some more, so despite a lovely test drive of the latest Odyssey (wow, are they sure nice!), we'll keep plugging along.


Echoing Sheila, I love our 2-year-old Mazda 5. (Our 2 children and most of their friends are still under 5'.) But I love our neighbor's Mazda CX-9 even more.


Polly's was mentioned in this month's Runner's World managzine...


Speaking of water parks, and tying into your later post about the Democratic National Convention, Tom Junod has a wonderful essay in the Esquire politics blog in which he juxtaposes a visit to Whitewater, outside Atlanta, with his experience at the DNC. It's only partly about the rides and the fleshy, tattooed, multi-pierced throngs. It's really a meditation on waiting in line and "market-based solutions."

Quotable throughout, but here's a gem:

"[T]he people I saw on Tuesday night at the DNC were my tribe — they looked like the people you see on line at Whitewater, with clothes on. And the people I saw at the RNC looked like the people cutting in front, by dint of the gold plastic bracelets on their wrists."


Chris Hughes

Look at the new Odyssey. They are very, very nice. Then again, I'm a Honda guy. Except on two wheels, where I prefer BMW.

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