It’s a terrible time to shop for cars.

I’ve been halfheartedly looking at getting an older Ridgeline to do a mild off-road/overland build.  Only problem is, the supply of “bargain” Ridgelines means that I’d have to buy something with serious problems or a lot of rust, or spend a lot more than I budgeted for.

The prices on a few others I’ve been watching have similarly been inflated.  Some of the newest FJ Cruisers (they were discontinued in the US in 2014) are now selling for close to the original sticker price for clean, low-mileage examples.  And while I can no longer drive a manual, the price of the average S2000 now seems to have jumped up as much as $10,000.

Same old story–supply and demand, plus the newer story on the block, the chip shortage, are causing these prices.  There are still a few bargains to be found, but be prepared to do a lot of work.  I recently found a 2008 RDX with what the owner says is a bad turbo.  It’s attractively prices, but only if the turbo is indeed the real problem here.  The RDX would also make a decent offroad build, although not quite what I wanted.

We have also been toying with the idea of an electric car for commuter use but even there, the newer models have not yet taken their usual nosedive in price.  And actually, the upcoming Hyundai models seem to be the most attractive, especially since a few of them will offer the 800 volt charging system.  But those won’t be available used for quite a while yet; the Ioniq 5 isn’t even available in the US yet.  I’d also looked at the 2nd gen Nissan Leaf (as you can get 150 or 220 mile ranges) or the Chevy Bolt, but I’m wary of Nissan given their quality woes, and have sworn off anything and everything GM.  Yet with so few moving parts, there is a lot less to go wrong.

Honda’s Clarity plug-in hybrid would get back and forth to work two times before needing a charge (to remain in EV mode) but same as the others, prices are still high.

We’ll sit this car situation out for a while, unless a totally killer deal comes along.

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