The Latest Toyota Recall Is the Best News Ever

Toyota Highlander Hybrid While other people back further away from the Toyota dealership every time there’s another recall, I greet each warning with anticipation and joy. “This is great,” I think. “Pretty soon they’ll have to drop their prices on that Highlander hybrid I’ve had my eye on since it first came out.”
There’s just one problem. Every time I love a car, it gets yanked from production. My husband jokes that professional teams should follow his fantasy-draft picks and do the opposite, because everyone he picks gets injured immediately. I feel like I’m the same with cars: the kiss of (professional) death.
The latest doomed-cars list – the models being taken off the production line in 2012 – made me wonder why the cars I love are just not that into me.


My family always had sensible station wagons, those barf-inducing tubes where the air conditioning made the front seat cold enough for a snowball fight while the kids in the back slowly dissolved into puddles of sweat, bare legs pasted to the plastic seat like fleshy Velcro.
What I wanted was a van. Specifically, a VW bus. They were boxy, graceless, and as lumbering as a musk ox … but they were also candy-colored and iconic, with round headlights that looked like eyes and plenty of room for family, friends, and several dogs. Eventually, I grew up and learned to hate both hippies and Nazis – two of the Volkswagon company’s biggest fans – and the VW Bus was taken out of service.

Years later, there it was: the Honda Element. For me, it was all the fun and function of the VW Bus without the baggage: It held a crap-ton of people, and the seats folded up to reveal a plastic interior that could hold a multitude of, say, surfboards and dogs (are you sensing a theme?) and could be hosed down with ease. Never mind that I wouldn't know what to do with a surfboard beyond drinking at a bar where one is hanging on the wall. I liked the idea.
Plus, the word “element” rhymes with “elephant,” which just tickled me. It looked like an elephant -- cute and slow and strong. Whenever I made a Craigslist purchase, I borrowed an Element from Zipcar, and when I saw that they give all their cars cute names, I suggested “Babar.”
Well. Guess what’s on the newest list of cars going out of production? Babar. Babar the Element. Plus the Volkswagon station wagon – the smaller, more practical version of the bus, a stalwart among my parents’ left-leaning, pipe-smoking, corduroy-suit-wearing college-professor pals.
At this rate, the Highlander will surely be gone before I can snag one, unless I manage to save up a down payment just in time for that sweet spot where the price plunges to its lowest point before it goes the way of the Tucker.
For the record, I’m not worried about the mechanical woes in this recall. I’m willing to bet mine would be one of the vast majority that runs just fine. When my husband objected to this line of thinking, I pointed out that his best friend Alex has a Highlander that drives like a dream.
“Well, maybe there can be only one,” he said.

Huh. Maybe I should just get a Jeep.

What car have you always wanted to own? Is it going out of production, too? Tell us in the comments!

Image via Toyota

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