Car Talk

Went to the local Honda dealership today to look at some more cars, and I was driving my father’s Honda Element (they are at the beach again), and when I pulled into the used car area to talk to the salesman, man did his eyes light up. Before I could even ask him about a car, he was asking if I was going to trade in the Element. Apparently, people love Honda Elements, which they no longer make, but if someone trades one in, he can basically sell it the next day for an instant commission.

Really liked the Nissan Murano, but the car that fit me perfectly physically was a 2008 Lincoln MDX. I’ll never buy it because the mpg is terribad, but of all the cars I have sat in, it was instantly the most comfortable.

Tomorrow I am going to go do a test of a couple Ford’s- the Escape, the Edge, and I may look at a pickup truck for shits and giggles, and then I am going to go check out Toyotas.

All of this is just procrastination until I go buy the fucking Subaru.

179 replies
  1. 1
    IowaOldLady says:

    So did you trade in your parents’ car?

  2. 2
    srv says:

    Trolling the used car salesmen

    You need a real job

  3. 3
    srv says:

    Hey, is the Subaru on Google maps?

  4. 4
    Hunter Gathers says:

    You have put more time and effort into buying that Subaru than most people put into choosing their spouse. I know people who have gotten married and divorced in less time.

  5. 5
    raven says:

    Adding to this was Honda executives’ decision not to update the Element at all during the car’s entire 9 year production run; a decision that made the Element seem dull and dated in a market sector that places an extremely high value on ultramodern contemporary styling and state-of-the-art technology. The model’s worst sales year which occurred in 2009 saw CRV outselling the Element by a factor of 5 to 1

  6. 6
    Shana says:

    What I don’t understand is this: your old car ended up in that farmer’s field. Is it still there by the way? But what have you been driving all these months? You borrowed your dad’s car today, but what about all the other days? Exceptionally generous insurance company rental? A different loaner from your folks or someone else?

  7. 7
    Comrade Jake says:

    My sense is that car dealers are drooling over well-maintained used cars in general. There’s a better market for them and perhaps it’s easier for the dealer to make a few bucks.

  8. 8
    Polkcountydude says:

    Get a Mazda. You don’t even need awd if you have good winter tires. Have a mazdaspeed 3 myself and it is the most wonderful devil in safe conditions. Heard the same about normal Mazda 2s, 3s and 6s. They are are as extremely well handling as my somewhat quicker car.

  9. 9
    dopealope says:

    I bought an Element in 2003, the year they were released. And I’m going to drive it until it dies. It is the greatest dog car ever. And, aside from a new stereo and seat covers, I’ve had to do almost nothing except routine maintenance. Our local Honda sells any used ones they get almost instantly.

  10. 10
    Shana says:

    @Comrade Jake: Yeah, I think you’re right. I took one of our cars in for some service recently and have had about 3-4 emails from them since asking if I’m interesting in selling it.

  11. 11
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Hunter Gathers: in the time it has taken for Cole to buy a new car, Putin has invaded an entire country.

  12. 12
    gbear says:

    Have you looked at a used Pontiac Vibe? I’m 5’11 and about 285 and it fits me just fine. It’s basically a Toyota Matrix that was built in California under the Pontiac banner. The 2009’s are pretty sharp looking although they do have a nasty blind spot in the rear right corner. They are incredibly roomy for hauling stuff. I like mine a lot.

  13. 13
    burnspbesq says:

    Oh, dear: another data point stubbornly refuses to fit Cole’s Grand Unified Theory of the Inherent and Irreversible Politicization of the Judiciary.

    Bad data point! Bad! Bad! No treats for you!

    P.S. Just buy the damn Subie already!

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dopealope: Don’t you just hose them out when it comes time for a cleaning?

  15. 15
    raven says:

    @gbear: They have some tranny problems.

  16. 16
    John Cole says:

    @Hunter Gathers: I hate buying cars. I really don’t like cars, it’s just something I have to fucking have.

  17. 17
    John Cole says:

    @burnspbesq: And the Supreme Court will strike down the ACA challenge 8-1, amirite?

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @John Cole: Then why draw out the process? Do you peel off bandages slowly. Do you walk slowly into a cold lake? Sometimes diving in and getting it over with is the way to go.

  19. 19
    burnspbesq says:

    @John Cole:

    You thought the ACA was going to be buried in its entirety, IIRC. At least I got the result right.

    Also: your taste in music sucks and your school’s cheerleaders are ugly.

  20. 20
    gbear says:

    @raven: Mine has a manual shift. Haven’t had troubles yet.

  21. 21
    Cacti says:

    @John Cole:

    Burnsie knows that John Roberts is the 21st century Melville Fuller, a sympathizer with racists and handmaiden of big business.

  22. 22
    Steeplejack says:

    I was mildly surprised to find out a week or so ago that they’re not making the Element any more. I knew it was a niche car, but it seemed to be a pretty fanatical niche.

    That being the case, the new Kia Soul has been getting some good reviews.

  23. 23
    kc says:


    I too require answers to these questions, along with a picture of Steve.

  24. 24
    YellowJournalism says:

    @gbear: Regardless of performance, the Vibe is one o the most unfortunately-named vehicles.

    And John, buy the damn car you know you’re going to end up buying before you miss out!

  25. 25
    YellowJournalism says:

    @gbear: Regardless of performance, the Vibe is one o the most unfortunately-named vehicles.

    And John, buy the damn car you know you’re going to end up buying before you miss out!

  26. 26
    gbear says:

    @Steeplejack: You can’t throw a snowball without hitting a Kia Soul in Minneapolis/St. Paul. They are everywhere.

  27. 27
    raven says:

    @gbear: They are fine.

  28. 28
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Jesus, the essential nature of procrastination is that you can’t “just do it.” And people hectoring you about it doesn’t help.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steeplejack: The Element was marketed at outdoorsy types but was purchased by soccer moms. It cannibalized CR-V and Pilot sales without expanding into new territory. The ex did a paper it for a marketing course in business school.

    @Steeplejack: But the hectoring is the fun part.

  30. 30
    Ripley says:

    Car Talk Damn You Edward Snowden!

  31. 31
    raven says:

    29 years ago I bought my 66 chevy truck. I looked at it once and bought it after I had a compression test done on the mill. Guy said “I knew you were gonna buy when you walked up the druevway:.

  32. 32
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Hmm, interesting.

  33. 33
    My Truth Hurts says:

    I gotta say, you are really over thinking this. A car is just a tool to get from A to B and while there are slight differences in all the models you are trying, they are all basically the same car. Get the Subaru, the MPG won’t be that bad and everything else about those cars make up for it. You will be happy and that thing will go for 300,000 miles before anything major needs to be done to it.

    I mean, Jesus Christ dude, you spent much, much less time replacing your cat, and that’s way more important to get right than a dumb car!

  34. 34
    Jay C says:


    Whatever the production/marketing drawbacks of the Element may have been, Honda seems to have created (almost certainly unkowingly) a modern “classic”, i.e. a fetish car about which (at least as far as I have EVER read on the ‘Net) no one has ever had a bad thing to say. Or at least they dismiss the bad: “Wish I had one“, “Why did they stop making it?” and “I’ll drive it until it dies (or I do)” are the most common sentiments I’ve seen expressed…

  35. 35
    Jay C says:

    @My Truth Hurts:

    I mean, Jesus Christ dude, you spent much, much less time replacing your cat, and that’s way more important to get right than a dumb car!

    Blasphemer!! Cars are mere machines, cats are GODS! Just ask one…..!

  36. 36
    raven says:

    Rachel has a fellow on who has done research and finds that vets feel disconnected and that most people don’t care about their service. No shit.

  37. 37
    chopper says:

    every time I bring my element in for service they ask if I want to sell it. no fucking way.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @raven: “Thank you for your service.” A bland and formulaic dismissal masquerading as praise.

  39. 39
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: Is it the first SUV you have owned? I see a lot of praise for it, and would consider trying to find on as a second vehicle (for practical things like hauling stuff and dealing with weather beyond what the Saab can handle) OTOH, I have never had an SUV and I am iffy about them.

  40. 40
    dopealope says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I’ve never actually hosed mine out, but the floors are plastic which makes for easy cleaning of the giant tufts of German Shepherd hair.

  41. 41
    Cassidy says:

    @burnspbesq: And Obama didn’t invade Syria either.

  42. 42
    Soonergrunt says:

    Buy the Ford Edge, particularly if it has SYNC. Once you’ve used SYNC, you’ll want it on your lawn mower, and the Edge is a great car. Very comfortable. The Escape will have better mileage, but the Edge will ride better, being larger.

  43. 43
    Keith G says:

    , but the car that fit me perfectly physically was a 2008 Lincoln MDX.

    Don’t sell yourself short. If you try hard enough, I bet you can find a Buick Electra 225 that will fit ya.

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Soonergrunt: To my eyes, the Edge is weird looking.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: That’s cold.

  46. 46
    khead says:


    It’s not a bad gig though if you have the time and patience. I’ve always wanted to go to a dealership with a bag of cash after not bathing for a week. Just to see who will talk to me without knowledge of the bag-o-cash.

  47. 47
    some guy says:

    See if the Ford dealer has any Flex available. Take that for a ride.

  48. 48
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @raven: @Omnes Omnibus: We coulda told her that.

    On the topic of cars, I adore my well maintained used car, a 2009 Mini Cooper. It’s the most fun I’ve had driving a car I since since my mid-70s MGB. More fun actually, since it runs reliably. It’s not very anonymous (Oxygen blue with white bonnet stripes), but the tealmobile is ideal for me. And bad mileage, when M. Q drives it in sport mode around town, is 31.

  49. 49
    Melissa says:

    ACA, taste in music, ugly cheerleaders. Which doesn’t belong? One is human

  50. 50
    Melissa says:

    ACA, taste in music, ugly cheerleaders. Which doesn’t belong? One is human

  51. 51
    RuhRow_Gyro says:

    The best car ever is the Ford Focus.

  52. 52
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): “S” or regular? Manual or the odd BMW auto w/ the thumb and finger paddles?

  53. 53
    some guy says:

    @Soonergrunt: our Sync worked great with our HTC phone 3 years ago, less great with a Sony phone, and is useless worth our current phones. Worst ui ever.

  54. 54
    some guy says:

    @Soonergrunt: our Sync worked great with our HTC phone 3 years ago, less great with a Sony phone, and is useless worth our current phones. Worst ui ever.

  55. 55
    some guy says:

    Mileage may vary.

  56. 56
    NotMax says:


    I’ve never actually hosed mine out

    Hosing not recommended.

  57. 57
    gian says:

    And Volvo seats are comfy.

  58. 58
    Keith G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Hey, I praised him yesterday, so I had to take a shot just to even things out.

  59. 59
    Heliopause says:

    Make a statement. Buy an electric microcar. Or go carless. You’re a thought leader, lead, goddamnit.

  60. 60
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @John Cole: I’d stop driving altogether if I could. I really fucking hate it. There are no such things as traffic laws, there are only traffic suggestions, because nobody bothers to actually follow them. I’m 38 going on 70.

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith G: Calling him a Buick guy is a a hell of shot. BTW he, when I met him at least, didn’t have his pants pulled up to his nipples – that alone disqualifies him from buying that Buick.

  62. 62
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Regular, with “sport mode” button. 6 speed manual; auto trannies are hard for me to drive after all these years. It’s so much fun. I had the panoramic sunroof up yesterday, and it was sunny enough to pull the sunscreen. Having it unscreened all winter made for a nice bright interior, good for my winter mood. I’m kinda hooked.

  63. 63
    gian says:

    Read the Manson family prosecutor’s book on Bush v Gore
    Vincent bugliosi.
    We rule for Bush but it’s not good for precedent because if the next time we want the Republican we might need to take the other side of the legal argument

  64. 64
    Soonergrunt says:

    @some guy: it works pretty well with my Samsung Galaxy S4, and the S3 that preceded it. I’m given to understand that it works really well with iPhones, but I’ll never own one so I’ll never know. Supposedly the enhanced version of SYNC called MyFordTouch works exceptionally well with Android phones.

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): A good friend has a first generation S ( a 2003 IIRC); she loves it. It’s too small for me to have as an only car, but it is fun.

  66. 66
    kindness says:

    Get the 3.6 Outback John. Damn you know you want it.

  67. 67
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: it is, kind of. But it’s fun to drive and handles well..

  68. 68
    Steeplejack says:

    @Jay C:

    This gets at something that I always wonder about with large corporations: they seem to be hard-wired for “More is better” and “We want it all” and don’t seem comfortable with small(er), steady-state markets, to the point that they don’t recognize a good thing when they have it and they shoot themselves in the foot.

    Like you, my impression of the Element is that it’s a modern-day cult vehicle with an owner base that really is fanatical. And it seems to be a very well-made car. What’s not to like? It’s cannibalizing sales of CR-Vs and Pilots? WTF?! I presume Honda ran the numbers to calculate that any extra Element sales would not be profitable enough to offset the lost CR-V and Pilot sales, but I can’t help but be a little skeptical of that, because I wonder whether Honda has the big-company bias of “We want to sell x number of CR-Vs and y number of Pilots, goddamn it, and the Element is fucking up the spreadsheet!”

    When I bought a car in late ’11, I looked long and hard at a Honda Element (at CarMax) but eventually passed on it because I couldn’t pass up a Kia Ronda that was newer, had fewer miles on it but cost a lot less. I had to admit that I couldn’t really justify the price premium for the Element, especially since I didn’t need the huge carrying capacity. And I have been satisfied with the Kia. It is small on the outside but big on the inside, and I love driving it.

    The Kia Soul is the other car that hits me like the Element does in that “old hippie pining for a VW Microbus” zone. (I wasn’t drawn to the Scion at all, for some reason.) Anyway, I just happened to read a couple of reviews of the newly revamped Soul, and they were very positive. If I hit the lotto I might check them out.

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Soonergrunt: I suppose that if you are inside it, you don’t look at it the same way. Sort of like the Frenchman who ate lunch every day at the Eiffel Tower because it was the only place in Paris from which he couldn’t see the Eiffel Tower.

  70. 70
    Lolis says:

    I plan on getting the newly redisgned Honda Fit either 2015 or 2016 version so I have been reading up. Apparently they are also coming out with a small AWD SUV this summer that has been popular in Japan. It had a weird name. If you can wait, it may be the car for you.

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m still getting used to having a not 15-year-old car. A strange dashboard light came on and I had to get out the owner’s manual. Turns out that my Impreza warns me when my tire pressure is low. Huh.

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    I presume Honda ran the numbers to calculate that any extra Element sales would not be profitable enough to offset the lost CR-V and Pilot sales, but I can’t help but be a little skeptical of that, because I wonder whether Honda has the big-company bias of “We want to sell x number of CR-Vs and y number of Pilots, goddamn it, and the Element is fucking up the spreadsheet!”

    I presume it was the cost of running a third line when the projection was the with the Element gone, most customers would buy a Pilot or CR-V. The outdoorsy folks they were aiming for kept buying Subies.

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Did you catch this from the thread below?

  74. 74
    CaseyL says:

    Honda apparently has a habit of discontinuing models that people like in order to force people to buy models they don’t like.

    I have a 1995 Honda Accord wagon, and adore it, but will never be able to replace it with a newer year because Honda stopped making Accord wagons years ago. Instead, they brought out the Fit. Which is a ridiculous car that, SFAICT, no one liked very much.

  75. 75
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    Same rationale as that used by the guy living in the Jerusalem eyesore.

    “My sister-in-law said to me, ‘Are you crazy to live there? It’s a wound in the environment,’ ” Sarnat said. “I told her the only place in the city where you don’t see this wound is here, when you live in it.” Source

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:


    Consumer Reports loves the Kia Soul, and apparently they’ve fixed their quality and reliability problems from when they first started selling in the US.

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @CaseyL: I know several very happy Fit owners.

  78. 78
    Pogonip says:

    @Comrade Jake: And parked a tank in everybody’s field.

  79. 79
    Botsplainer says:

    @some guy:

    My sync on my new Fusion hybrid works great with my iphone for everything but it’s iTunes library. I suspect it would work better via USB, but I’m disinclined to get in and out of the glovebox that often. My old android has pretty much the same library, so I’m figuring on plugging it into the USB as a dedicated MP3 player, to supplement Sirius.

    Wife hates my Sirius presets. Mostly grunge, 90s and some of the more violent and sexist rap channels. Occasionally radio margaritaville or classic vinyl, but I’ve heard all those hundreds of times.

  80. 80
    Pogonip says:

    @raven: Ann Colter drives a Pontiac?

  81. 81
    currants says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Sounds like you live in Massachusetts. Or Italy.

  82. 82
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I don’t see the Element crowd automatically going for CR-Vs or Pilots. That sounds like wishful thinking on Honda’s part.

    Re “outdoorsy types” and soccer moms: Yes, God forbid that the wrong demographic buy the car!

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I didn’t, but thank you. I didn’t really take it personally because it seemed like you weren’t sure where I was coming from. I wasn’t trying to play the You white dudes will never really understand what it’s like! card. More like, Hey, welcome to the club — now you finally know how it feels from this side.

  84. 84
    Pogonip says:

    @RuhRow_Gyro: My dad has one of those (the plain version) and is pleased with the mileage.

  85. 85
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t want to restart the discussion. I just wanted to acknowledge that I had overstepped what I believe to be good internet behavior.

  86. 86
    Mark H says:

    Forget the politics, and my mother’s winger bf praising his SUV as a form of hippie punching, the Prius is the best car out there. I’ll never own another model. 50 mpg, fast (the new one’s have a power mode button that rockets), never, ever breaks down and goes great with an FSM decal. John, you’ll never go back.

  87. 87
    Botsplainer says:

    Basically, this is my car. Same color. I optioned up all across the board – leather seats, seat warmers, moonroof.

    Not cheap, but a blast to drive. They can’t hear me coming in parking lots.

  88. 88
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steeplejack: There were all sorts of reasons in marketing-speak that explained it. And charts. There is a reason I am not in marketing.

  89. 89
    Steeplejack says:


    Soul Town is probably my favorite (“classic soul and Motown”). Siriusly Sinatra is surprisingly good—not just Sinatra but the whole spectrum of the “American songbook,” for lack of a better term. My other presets, let’s see: one of those “deep tracks” channels; Chill; the weird reggae one (The Joint?); Real Jazz; and ’60s on Six, from which I can easily flip to the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s channels.

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mark H: I don’t like their handling. The steering feels numb. It is accurate but gives no feedback. This is, of course, a purely personal take.

    ETA: Of course, I would love to have a Lotus Elise S.

  91. 91
    Steeplejack says:


    Nice-looking ride. And a nice color. Red is the hardest car color to do right. There are a lot of skanky shades of red out there. Tomato red, I’m looking at you.

  92. 92
    NotMax says:

    @Mark H

    my mother’s winger bf praising his SUV

    Almost irresistible to ask if he got the Teabag model.

    Three gears in reverse, one forward.


  93. 93
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It’s not really an SUV. I mean, you’re sitting high up and it’s as aerodynamic as a brick but it’s short. very short – the turning radius is crazy small and parallel parking is insanely easy once you get used to the stubbiness.

    There is road noise tho since there’s no carpeting. that drives some people up the wall.

    the thing is like a bloody TARDIS, it is. I can fit a large frame lambretta in the back, or two large frame vespas with the seats up. that’s crazy.

  94. 94
    alhutch says:

    John – you should check out the Mazda CX-5. Gets 24mpg city & 30 mpg highway with the largest available engine & AWD. And uses regular!

  95. 95
    jl says:

    Maybe, if Cole is going to blog about this process, he could test drive a Lamborghini or a Rolls or something. Maybe he’d have to cross state lines to do that, so might be against Cole principles.

    And, what happened to the old car in the field? It still there?

    Anyway, I will watch for exciting posts of the Cole test drive of used Mazda’s or whatever with the appropriate level of fascination.

  96. 96
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I used to be in marketing in a previous life. I’m sure they can explain it to their own satisfaction. Forest, trees, etc. Just wondering, is all.

  97. 97
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Maybe he’d have to cross state lines to do that, so might be against Cole principles.

    Or violate the terms of his parole.

  98. 98
    Steeplejack says:


    He sold the old Subie to someone who towed it away, and he (Cole) paid the farmer something for the use of his field.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    My Sims are growing corn so I can buy them a stereo. Better? ;-)

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: I honestly have no idea what that means.

  101. 101
    mai naem says:

    I looked at the Element around 04 and I didn’t like all the plasticky stuff that was in the interior. It just felt industrial and kind of flimsy. I had a Murano loaner last year and it was a nice ride. I’ve just never liked the curvy crossover/suvs and there’s virtually no “squarish” suvs out there anymore. I blame all this on the Lexus 300 SUV which I remember being the first curvy SUV that ended up having a really good rep for quality.

  102. 102
    kdaug says:


    I’m still getting used to having a not 15-year-old car.

    I haven’t gotten there yet. I’ve got a 1998 Acura Integra w/ ~58K on the odometer. But that fast, nimble little car has saved my life on a couple of occasions. (Think scenarios where you have to drop it into third and punch it, and realize later that any other car would have rolled.)

    And yep, I get random strangers approaching me asking if I want to sell it. Hell no, motherfucker, no sooner than I’d sell my dog.

  103. 103
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It’s a very dangerous video game for my iPad. I used to play it on my desktop for hours. You control tiny people!

  104. 104
    Jay C says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @CaseyL: @Steeplejack:

    I think this hits at the problem: the Element was too big for a “small SUV”, to small for a “medium SUV”, and ended up with usual fate of the third car in a two-car lineup customer fanbase enthusiasm unfortunately notwithstanding…

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    I got a MINI convertible in 2005 as a second/summer car, and still love it eight mainly problem-free years later. Of course, averaging just 2800 miles a year on the little darling helps a lot: but even with a lot of local driving, I still average 30.50 mpg. Though I cheaped out and didn’t get it with cruise control. BAD move, otherwise it would be perfect.

  105. 105
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: I am not getting out of the boat.

  106. 106
    John Cole says:

    @burnspbesq:I’m laughing, partially because I like the punchier Burns, and partially because the Steelers have no cheerleaders.

  107. 107
    Sloegin says:

    My Element? The posts between the windshield and the driver/passenger windows are bulky (and it’s *really* easy to lose visual contact of pedestrians in them).

    That’s it for my criticism, except it’s gonna be a bitch to try to find a good used one if I ever total this one.

  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @John Cole: He mocked your school’s cheerleaders, not those of the Steelers. Whether he meant Bethany or WVU is unknown.

  109. 109
    NotMax says:


    For those who like it, playing Sims is an incredible time bandit. And it is surprising how much of an emotional investment one can put into some of the Sims.

    Plenty to diss Maxis/EA about but on the plus side, way, way back in Sims 2 the game allowed for same-sex marriage.

  110. 110
    seaboogie says:


    Apparently you just need the proper incentive to pull the trigger on this car buying situation of yours. So this is what I propose:

    Based on their long knowledge of you and your issues, get your parents (as a unit) Seth, Devon and your fraternity boys (as a unit) to each select a car for you to purchase. That’s four vehicles. Then invite the commentariat to vote over a one week period of time (with the sellers agreeing to hold the vehicles for our decision. Here is where the incentive comes in: In order for us to vote, we have to send a donation to your pet charity (minimum $5), and they will tabulate the votes and render our decision, which you will then be bound to purchase. You will make a lot of people and animals happy, and have a new cause to bitch, moan and grumble for years to come – therefore you will be happy too.

    Also, the vehicle that wins our votes will arrive to you with a jar of mustard in the cupholder, and one and all can breathe a sigh of relief.

  111. 111
    sophronia says:

    I have a 2007 Element and I suppose I fit the soccer mom demo, since the reason I bought it was to transport my kid. He’s very big for his age and the Element had the most head and leg room of any vehicle we tried, by far. I wanted something he wouldn’t outgrow because I like to keep cars for decades. So far it’s been good for us and easy upkeep.

    When we were looking at the dealership they showed us the CR-V, the Pilot and the Oyssey minivan, but we had to ask specifically to see the Element. So I guess they were already aware of the problem with the customer base. The Element was about $6000 cheaper than the cheapest SUV so I can see why they wanted to push the customers into buying something else.

  112. 112
    Botsplainer says:


    I’ll have to put soul town into the presets. They preloaded Sinatra (24 total presets, three banks of eight), but I never gave it a chance.

    I keep wanting to like the deep track and underground garage channels, but I keep getting disappointed.

    Wife, of course, is a Hits1/20 on 20 girl. 20 on 20 has some good moments, but Hits1 is awful.

  113. 113
    max says:

    Tomorrow I am going to go do a test of a couple Ford’s- the Escape, the Edge, and I may look at a pickup truck for shits and giggles, and then I am going to go check out Toyotas.

    Dude, basically, you’re going for a tall station wagon (it’s actually a car category! the ‘sport wagon’! yeesh). If you want better gas mileage an Escape should be OK. If you’re going for an SUV get an Explorer. Any truck big enough to be comfortable (and mind, I like trucks*, but I’m not John Cole) tends to be hell on gas mileage. A used Ranger Supercab might be OK. I think it might be too small though.

    [‘I think you shoulda shelled out the 4k for Suburu I found for you 4 months ago.’]

    * Because ‘Fuck it, we’ll just throw it in the back of my truck and not hassle with this other bullshit’ works for me, especially since I move everybody anyways.

  114. 114
    kdaug says:

    @NotMax: Pssh. Tamagotchi/Pikachu.

    The interesting things are happening on the indie side. Try Wayward, or Pixel Dungeon. Lots of ways to die.

    (Obligated to add – a lot of cohorts are crowing about launching ESO today.They even got cupcakes! Check it out if you’re inclined, I plan on waiting a couple weeks.)

  115. 115
    🍀 Martin says:

    Honda Element is the best car I’ve ever owned. Best for people with kids – tons of room for them in the back. Best for people with dogs – no carpet, let them all in wet after a day at the beach.

    Ours is a 2006, with some practical modifications to it. I’ve got a conference next week to a city that you basically can’t fly to, can’t take a train to, so I’ve got a 4 hour drive each way. Can’t wait. The only thing I’d like to do is replace the stock radio with a new one with CarPlay built in, and I’ll be set again.

    I usually keep my cars about 10 years, but I don’t think I can part with this one. It’s just that great of a car.

  116. 116
    Punchy says:


  117. 117
    gerry says:

    Test drive a Mazda. You won’t be sorry.

  118. 118
    Steeplejack says:


    Yeah, I think the only time I listened to Hits 1 was when I activated the radio. Shudder.

    I, too, am surprised at the number of times that I go to the Deep Tracks/Classic Vinyl/Rewind channels and am mildly disappointed. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but it feels like they do the “greatest hits” of deep tracks, if that makes any sense. Most of the SiriusXM channels I like do a good job of dropping in true “deep cuts” on a regular basis. Soul Town is really good for that. At least once a week I’ll hear a song that I swear I haven’t heard since around the time it was first on the radio.

  119. 119
    danielx says:

    All of this is just procrastination until I go buy the fucking Subaru.

    I am sure that this plan of action makes sense, in some alternate reality in which David Brooks truly is one of the Wise, as opposed to the present world line. That would be the one we live in, in which David Brooks is a douche rocket who occasionally manages to sound Wise.

    Edit: in that other world Cole would fall in love with and purchase a ’63 Lincoln with the suicide doors.

  120. 120
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @danielx: Me, I like test driving cars. Of course, I really love driving.

  121. 121
    Linnaeus says:

    As a third-generation UAW member, I feel it’s my duty to my brothers and sisters to ask if you might consider a union-made car, John. That is, if any of them fit your needs and your budget.

  122. 122
    chopper says:

    @🍀 Martin:

    This conference sounds like its in a black hole.

  123. 123
    reality-based says:

    @John Cole:

    when I dither endlessly about some purchase or ever, I realize that what I mostly am is afraid of making a mistake – finally pulling the trigger on a car, getting it home, and discovering its a lemon, for instance. “OMG, what have I done, this piece of junk is worthless, what was I thinking? And where am I gonna get the money to replace it? ”

    or wanting to make sure that I buy the platonic ideal of whatever it is I am buying – in JC’s case, not just ANY comfortable, reliable, economical car, but the BEST POSSIBLE one.

    dither factor rises exponentially with dollar value of object purchased – but hey, I obsessed for 3 months over buying a new mattress (endless shopping trips, hours and hours online, etc.) so – –

    Dude – you can’t control this. Despite your best efforts, you may end up purchasing a lemon. You may buy a car, and three months later discover the perfect car you SHOULD have bought. Life – it’s totally random that way.

    Doesn’t matter. Take your best guess, do sensible diligence – have car checked out by mechanic, obviously – and pull the trigger –

    Or you’ll end up doing what I did – getting so disgusted with myself and my endless dithering, I just went out one day and bought basically the first mattress I saw. Which, of course, I don’t like.

    (yes, I know, there was a mattress thread a couple of days ago – I stopped myself from commenting on that one, didn’t want to relive the experience.

  124. 124
    askew says:

    Man, I really wanted a Honda Element when I went to go buy my car but they had stopped selling them. Great cars. I ended up replacing my Honda 1998 CR-V with a Honda Accord, which I like but I don’t love like I did my CR-V. That was a great car, but they made the newer CR-Vs so much bigger and more expensive that I couldn’t justify the poor gas mileage or price. They really don’t have a good, small SUV any longer unfortunately and I only buy Hondas.

  125. 125
    RSA says:


    I’ve got a 1998 Acura Integra w/ ~58K on the odometer.

    Since last summer I’ve been driving a 1998 BMW Z3. It now has 35K miles on it. An old friend of my wife’s sold it to us when he figured out he only drove it to the golf course and back.

  126. 126

    @gian: Volvo seats are comfy. Almost shockingly so.

  127. 127
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Try the seats in a Saab. Best long distance driving seats I have ever experienced. A ten hour drive in the 9-3 feels like two hours did in my old Altima. Also too, the seats in my ’84 GTI were damned good.

  128. 128
    Tom says:

    3 words:
    W R X

  129. 129
    MikeJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I drove my TT nonstop from Memphis to Houston and it was much comfier than you would think a sports type car should be.

  130. 130
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Tom: Cole doesn’t like driving.

  131. 131
    Booda says:

    Still driving my 2005 element. Best car ever. Perfect for my 2 big dogs and fits a whole drum set perfectly. Not a day of trouble since I bought it. I’ll never understand why they quit making them. If they made a new hybrid or electric element they would make a fortune.

  132. 132
    danielx says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    So do i, but Cole SAYS he hates the whole process and knew he was going to buy the Subaru a month ago. Of course he also said he needed to get his old car out of some farmer’s field three months ago, so consistency on this kind of thing is clearly more of a concept than a rule.

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeJ: Many Euro cars are designed around long distance journeys – seats, gearing, etc.

  134. 134
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Owned an 03 Element, picked it up the second month they were out. They are not a traditional SUV like a Tahoe or Explorer. More of a station wagon done a bit differently. Loads of useable room inside, I think you’d have to be over 7ft tall to even think that head room might be a problem. Handle pretty well for how much they weigh and how tall they are. I had the AWD version and you could feel when the back wheels started to drive. In 3 yrs in the snow and ice I had that happen once.
    If I could afford it I’d buy another for my last car. All around maybe the best car I’ve owned in 46 yrs.

  135. 135
    NotMax says:


    Lots of ways to die.

    Definitely not an attraction or selling point for me.


  136. 136
    Bunji says:

    Please John, just buy a Toyota, pre 2007.

  137. 137
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @danielx: Hey, I asked about the removing the bandage/going into cold water thing earlier. Apparently, Cole moves to the beat of a different drum..

  138. 138
    danielx says:

    That being said, i confess to being a recovering gearhead…except I’m not all that recovered because I have serious auto lust for a 2007 Audi S4 with 43k miles, which is not a totally practical purchase even tho i need new wheels.

  139. 139

    @Omnes Omnibus: like Saab seats as well. Have a Limey friend that’s a Saab fanatic and his cars convinced me.
    Took a look at quite a few 9 3s but couldn’t find the right one. I have to go up to LA and Orange County a bit so I could be in for an hour’s drive or a 6 hour drive depending on the whim of the fsm. Was driving my wife’s old mercedes with recaro seats before the Volvo and I had to run the heated seats or else my back would seize up if I drove for more than 15 minutes. The Volvo seats don’t look like they’d be especially comfortable but I have no back issues any more.

  140. 140
    Suzanne says:

    @askew: I have a 2000 CR-V with almost 190K on it and it’s starting to look like it’ll be time for a new car in a year or so. So I have been thinking about what to get, and I realized that I just want another CR-V. I rode in my coworker’s 2013 CR-V and it didn’t feel any bigger. Are the new ones a lot larger? I have been considering the Nissan Rogue, as well.

  141. 141
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @danielx: The 2007 still had the V8, right? A madman of car. She will be seriously nose heavy, but the AWD will mellow that out.

  142. 142
    WaterGirl says:

    @🍀 Martin: Had never heard of CarPlay. Me want. Even in my 2005 CRV. Is that even possible?

  143. 143
    askew says:


    Compared to my 1998 CR-V they are a lot bigger and I hate the new design. It used to look like an SUV with the tire on the back. Now it looks like a minivan. The Element was much closer to the size of my CR-V. I loved that car. The entire bottom was basically rusting through from all the Minnesota winters and that is the only reason I got rid of it. I even used the built in picnic table and cooler. Great car.

  144. 144
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ranchandsyrup: I really love my Saab. It has its eccentricities. So did my GTI, which is my second favorite car. The Altima I had for several years was remarkable only for being unremarkable – nothing to complain about and nothing to write home about. Character matters.

  145. 145
    WaterGirl says:

    @Suzanne: Can you park your CRV next to your co-worker’s CRV and compare? That’s what I finally did when trying to compare two CRVs.

  146. 146
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Someone up-thread derided the Honda Fit. Them’s fightin’ words. Best car EVAR. Talk about fanatical devotion.

  147. 147
    cbear says:

    @John Cole:

    …the Steelers have no cheerleaders.

    WTF? Is Roethlisberger still that rapey that you can’t even have cheerleaders around?


  148. 148

    I’m more like Cole with cars but my wife is a car person–hence the mercedes. I’d never get one for myself. Got rid of my 4runner that I had for 12 yrs and 250k miles when we had our first daughter and got an SUV for hauling kid stuff and I took on her car. Was a lot of fun to drive (350 hp) but was too tall for it. I’m more of a motorcycle person.

    Those old gtis were cool and were distinctive. Used to hitch a ride to school with a friends’ brother that had a Wolfsburg edition, which was awesome.

  149. 149
    Mnemosyne says:


    I stepped away to build a few businesses and put my Sims to work planting pumpkins (you can get over 500 Simoleans per patch — who knew?) Apparently one of the working titles of the first version was “Dollhouse,” and that’s pretty much what it is. I’m not girly in most ways, but I do like playing with my little Sim dolls.

  150. 150
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Those old gtis were cool and were distinctive.

    They felt alive – they responded to the driver. If you did something dumb, so did the car. If you handled her well, she danced.

  151. 151
    Steeplejack says:


    Dude, basically, you’re going for a tall station wagon [. . .].

    You just reminded me of one of the things I like best about my Kia. When I get in it, the seat is at the exact right height so that I go in horizontally—I don’t sit down in it and I don’t climb up into it. On the road I ride a little bit taller than a sedan but not as high as a big SUV or pickup. It’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference. So much so that I have joked to my road-trip friend about measuring the seat height from the ground for consideration in future car purchases.

    ETA: The Element had that same feeling when I test-drove it—a little high but not real high.

  152. 152
    Suzanne says:

    @askew: Yeah, I have one with the tire on the back. I got rear-ended a couple of years ago by a dude driving an HHR, and he sort of bounced off the tire and fucked his car up pretty good and proper. I don’t feel strongly one way or the other about the exterior design—I sort of like the curvy look of it. I think the Rogue is even better in that department. But I care A LOT about the interior. I know it’s stupid, but in Phoenix, we spend many miles and hours driving, so I want comfort and lots of really good cup holders. I need to be able to carry multiple 54-ounce beverages without them tipping over.

  153. 153
    JustRuss says:

    @chopper: Yep. I love that I can fold up one seat and toss a bike in the back. The cargo bay is about a foot taller than most CUVs, and that comes in very handy. Plus, 90K miles, zero problems. Wish it were quieter on the highway though.

  154. 154
    Mnemosyne says:


    The car I just traded in after 15 years together was a Toyota RAV-4, which was a perfectly sized small SUV (IMO, of course). Unfortunately, over the years they just kept getting bigger and bigger, so I didn’t even really consider one when I was car shopping last year. Not everyone likes a giant car!

  155. 155
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Word. The only cars I had before this one were a Corolla and a Civic. I am used to little, and I don’t like how big cars can feel so ungainly and just too damn big. I love the CR-V so much. The only design feature that I would have preferred to have would be the option for a headrest on the middle rear seat. Typically, it’s just the four of us in the car, but when we have a fifth, I get nervous about whiplash.

  156. 156
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suzanne: Those things aren’t cars. They are vehicles. The difference matters.

  157. 157
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: M.Q is on hid 3d GTI. He’s a fan, clearly. I’ve been really surprised that he’s so fond of driving my MINI.

  158. 158
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I loved that car. She danced when asked. The next car that I found that would dance when I asked is my current Saab. Weirdly, that is my criterium for what I want for a car: will you dance when I ask?

  159. 159
    gian says:


    wife and I looked at the CRV and the equinox in 2012
    she made the final call (we have the equinox)

    but the Jr High kid in me still gets a kick out of the Honda trim lines mixed with the CRV

    I mean CRV-EX… it’s like a truck named SCR TM

    the kicker for us was the rear legroom and the movable rear seat in the equinox. damn was it a bitch to find it in non black interior. seriously “I’m a car dealer in inland So Cal, let me order all the interiors in black” WTF?

  160. 160
    Petorado says:

    I have an ’03 Element. It’s the most comfortable car ever. The seats are more comfortable than most living room furniture and both front and back rows recline to 180 degrees flat. Beware the suicide doors in the wind, the engine is under powered (can only speak of the 2x version), and the transmission has you reaching for 5th gear by the time you’re hitting 45. Other than that, other cars seem primitive in their design and flexibility by comparison.

    Subaru seats are notorious for their discomfort, and long road trips especially bear this out. Subarus definitely have a fanatical following out west, but no one raves about their seating comfort, especially anyone larger than the skinny athlete-type. I like music too much too ever be able to get over the Subaru engine whine, so there’s that.

    Cole should look into the Toyota Hilux – official vehicle of revolutionaries everywhere.

  161. 161
    🍀 Martin says:

    @kdaug: FTL is out for iPad.

  162. 162
    🍀 Martin says:

    @WaterGirl: Should be. Pioneer is working on one, but it’ll probably be a little bit yet before they ship.

  163. 163
    columbusqueen says:

    Hey–where’s Steve, good buddy? Long time no see!

  164. 164
    Paul in NC says:

    I wouldn’t buy that Subaru. If no one else has bought it in the months since you first looked at it, there has got to be something wrong with it.

  165. 165
    BethanyAnne says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m confused. The 2 Democrat-appointed judges voted against the Republican, and the Republican-appointed one voted for the Republican. This is proof of non-bias how?

  166. 166
    BethanyAnne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That seems to be the most important consideration at Car and Driver, too. I think that’s what got over half of their “Ten Best” onto the list.

  167. 167
    NotMax says:

    Anyone have any experience with the Kia Sportage (new or used)?

  168. 168
    Central Planning says:

    I’m driving a 2005 Acura TL with just over 180K miles on it. It’s nice not having car payments and getting reimbursed for business mileage.

    John, if I were you, I’d figure out how much you drive per year, and then get the Lincoln MDX. In the grand scheme of things you’re probably not paying that much more per year for gas.

    That only works if you like to do the financial calculations. If you’re not interested because it’s not green enough, then you shouldn’t be looking at the Subaru either (had a 1995 Outback). Look at some hybrid (Prius as others mentioned), or go fancy with a Tesla.

    ETA: a neighbor did the cost analysis of a gas vs hybrid car because he drove back and forth to Syracuse almost every day. The MPG on the Ford he got was close to whichever hybrid he was looking at. It would have taken him something like 5 years to break even (more gas vs more expensive hybrid).

  169. 169
    Schlemizel says:

    Lincoln MDX? Wann kow whats hilarious? It gets better MPG than that Subaru you were looking at.

  170. 170
    Hal says:

    Try the Acura MDX. Great comfort and 27MPG in a large vehicle

  171. 171
    catperson says:

    I have a Mazda3 and I love it but I can’t see it suiting Cole.

    Cole, do yourself a favor and don’t look at cars you’ve ruled out based on the mileage or other specs. It just wastes time and if you have an emotional connection to what you look at you just end of agonizing over form vs function.

    Or you could just go and buy the fucking Subaru already.

  172. 172
    catperson says:

    @NotMax: I looked at the 2014 models before I bought the Mazda3. It’s fine but it has the same amount of storage as the Mazda, less nice interior, less mileage per gallon and cost a lot more. The Mazda3 is a tad zippier, but the Kia Sportage was fun to drive too.

  173. 173
    JimL says:

    If it’s room you need, try a Ford Flex. I’m 6-7 and 360 and I have ROOOOOOM! Headroom, legroom, buttroom, ROOOOOM!

  174. 174
    J R in WV says:


    We use the Bluesville (channel # 70) toJoint access blues and jazz and the Spa channels, and Outlaw Country (# 60) for variety country rock. There’s the Dead channel, and Joint, and Symphony, which is right next to Bluesville.

    I wish they had a national NPR channel – dish them all you want, they’re closer to a professional radio news station than any other. They have a fake NPR station that never has a news report on?? WTF?

    But Outlaw has the best variety, widest, everything from Bob Dylan to Allman Brothers, passing through Grand Ole Oprey, lots of Johnny Cash…

  175. 175
    ThresherK says:

    The Element seemed a lot like the CR-V, but the rated payload was something like 250lb less for the Element.

    My instinct is that it had something to do with no “B” pillar on the Element, in case of a rollover, and less roof integrity should it happen.

    But if someone knows…

  176. 176
    JULIE FLYNN says:

    I love my 2014 Mazda CX5. Small SUV, great gas mileage, fun to drive. Test drive one.

  177. 177
    icars says:

    @raven: I totally agree!

  178. 178
    Tata says:

    We bought a used 2003 Element last summer. The seats are cozy. The ride on ice is really secure. Our bicycles fit inside the vehicle for long trips, which was a big draw. Nothing like having to babysit your bicycles in a restaurant parking lot to kill your enthusiasm. Once we bought it, we noticed the Elements are everywhere here. Rumor has it Honda is bringing it back.

  179. 179
    Mnemosyne says:


    One of my co-workers is very tall (I think he’s around 6’5″ or 6’6″) and he loves his Flex (when he gets to drive it — seems like his wife gets to swipe it more than he wants since she’s carting the kids around).

    ETA: And, weirdly, it’s the reason I hate to drive Fords — I’m about 5’2″ and everything is juuuuuust out of reach on the damn car.

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