I’m saying goodbye to Charlie this week. Before you get ready to send me your condolences, let me just say that Charlie is my car. I know, you’re probably thinking wth?

First of all, yes, I do name my cars. I can’t remember exactly when this started. I vaguely remember my sister giving our family cars names. So I’m going to give her the credit lol.

Let me see, my Subaru Forester was Jesse, my first Toyota Highlander was Alex, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was Sydney. Which brings me to my current Highlander, Charlie.

As a side note, the names have to be gender neutral and convey strength, reliability, and a bit of fun.

Charlie has been with me for 15 years. Yep, I bought her in 2009. She has…are you ready for it…369,581 km.

Saying goodbye to Charlie by Colleen Kanna, Photo of Charlie, my 15 year old red Toyota Highlander.

15 year old Charlie

Once I had paid her off, I vowed to drive her to the end of her life because I liked not having car payments. Before Charlie, I used to lease my cars and trade them in every 3-4 years. But, that meant always having car payments every. single. month.

Charlie has seen our family through good times and bad over the years. The adoption of my daughter, the many birthday parties, summer camps, skating competitions, and road trips. Countless trips to and from the hospital when I was going through breast cancer. Charlie was a great vehicle for my business because she was spacious. I could fit a lot of inventory, racks, mannequins, etc. in the back. She moved me to my new condo after my divorce. And, she moved my daughter to Barrie to train and then to Kingston to go to university.

Charlie is pretty much the only car my daughter has known or at least remembers. When I told her that Charlie was done, she sent me these Snapchat replies. The kid has a flair for the dramatic and a good sense of humour.

Saying goodbye to Charlie by Colleen Kanna, Photo of my daughter's reaction on Snapchat when I told her.

Years ago, I made a pact with my mechanic, George. I would keep driving Charlie and he would keep servicing her until he felt it was unwise to do so. There have been many times, George exclaimed, “This vehicle has far exceeded my expectations”.

Well, the day finally arrived. I took Charlie in for her routine oil change and asked George to check a rattling sound coming from the engine. The answer was, “It’s time”.

So I hopped online and checked out Tony Graham Toyota. To be honest, I had been checking them out for a while now because I had a feeling that Charlie was coming to the end.

There was one slightly used RAV4 Hybrid just waiting for me. It was a 2023 with low mileage. The previous owner had pre-ordered a Prius and had to wait for it to come in. So he bought the RAV4 in the meantime.

It’s white, not a colour I would normally choose but the pickings are slim for used vehicles. It’s a Limited edition so has a lot of bells & whistles. Cars have changed a lot in the last 15 years! The previous owner got many upgrades like extra trim and coatings on the doors and door handles to prevent dings or dents in parking lots. And extra coating on the front hood to prevent rock chips and eventual rust.

Tony Graham couldn’t offer me a trade-in for poor Charlie. No market for a 15 year old, 370K used vehicle. But George gave me $600 to use Charlie for spare parts.

Sorry Charlie. You’re definitely worth more than that. I truly loved driving that car. And I didn’t have to worry about anybody stealing her.

Which brings me to naming my new car. My daughter sent me a whole list of suggestions. Logan and Parker are in the running. Which name would you vote for? Any other suggestions? The only rule…it has to be gender neutral and exude strength, reliability, and a touch of fun. Not too much to ask for in a name!

Used RAV4 Hybrid in white

Name that car…

One last question, do you name your cars? Let me know in the comments.

Update: Charlie barely made it to George’s garage. On the way there, I noticed the temperature gauge was above the red warning zone and the heater had stopped working the day before. I crossed my fingers and said a little prayer and thankfully we made it. Charlie, you gave me your last breath. Thank you.

Until next time,

~ Colleen

Colleen Kanna, Photo by Anna Epp Photography

I’m a recovering Chartered Accountant and Breast Cancer Champion turned Fashion Designer. My COKANNA Canadian-made bamboo clothing is all about comfort and style. Giving back to the community is important to me so I support local breast cancer organizations who treat the whole person and not just the disease.