Just four years ago, fantastically popular vehicles were in stock on dealer lots in any color you wished to drive home in. The popular Chevy Silverado was often advertised with $10,000 in cash on the dash if you would just come on by and pick one out. Then things changed. You know why. COVID? Well, that’s certainly part of it, but COVID is not longer the reason vehicles are in short supply. The real reason is that both dealers and manufacturers love the new normal.
Dealers and manufacturers don't have to carry the cost of vehicles on their books or deal with bazillions in finance costs if the vehicles they sell are bought before they are built. Dealers don’t have to tie up acres of real estate if they don't need to store vehicles. There is not much point in paying to advertise if every unit you can deliver is sold before it is created. There are so many reasons why nobody wants to return to the old days of rows and rows of unsold inventory they are too numerous to count. Car dealers are making record profits with vehicle shortages in place. So buyers will instead wait a long time and pay top dollar for the vehicles they want.
Amid this new reality are a few true gems that manufacturers were shocked to find so popular. Of course, every manufacturer wants their vehicles to succeed, but in the world of electrified vehicles, that desire is tempered by the reality that thin or absent profits (due to ridiculously high battery costs) coupled with an unpredictable and ever-changing landscape of taxpayer-funded subsidies mean that automakers don’t want to make too many awesome electrified vehicles at a loss. So, some truly fantastic vehicles are almost impossible to actually buy. Here is a list of the best three.
2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV - Battery Electric For the Value Shopper
Among the very best battery electric vehicles for folks who value a dollar is the Chevy Bolt EUV. We like the regular Bolt hatchback too, but the EUV has two things that make it the slam-dunk choice in its family. The first is GM’s hands-free Super Cruise driver assist. We’ve tested it and loved it. It seems to work everywhere hands-free vehicle operation is sensible.
The second advantage is space. The Bolt is just a bit too small for many shoppers’ needs. The Bolt EUV adds some space in the second row, making it a more family-friendly cute ute. With a price in the $20Ks after incentives (but before dealer markups), it’s no surprise the Bolt EUV was named the best electric vehicle (overall) in America for 2023 by Car Talk.
In its latest press release, GM boasted that 2023 would be a breakout year for the Bolt and Bolt EUV with “...production of 70,000 units to meet global demand.” While that sure sounds great, if you break it down, that means likely under 3,000 Bolt EUVs for all of the US per month. Compare that to the 30,000 or so CR-Vs Honda routinely delivers each month, and you get a sense of just how few EV crossovers are out there to be driven home.
Contrasting GM’s bright outlook for 2023, frequent Chevy Bolt EV and EUV Owners Group member PW posted this week, “My dealer is saying the EV is no longer in production and that my order (that I made directly on the Chevy site) is meaningless. But that I could order an EUV and get it in 4-6 months.” It is this kind of confusion that is making many electrified vehicle fans into angry ex-fans.
2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle - The One That Checks All the Boxes
What has 42 miles of all-electric range, standard all-wheel drive, a spare tire on every trim, and a 94 MPGe rating? There is only one answer; The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Prime. This five-passenger SUV is as quick as many sporty sedans off the line and one of the quickest crossovers its size among all brands. With a price in the high $ 40Ks, it is hard to top. Add in Toyota’s legendary reliability, and the RAV4 Prime is easily one of the best SUVs with a plug ever created.
With a build rate of only about 1800 units per month in Q1, the RAV4 Prime has been very hard to find. Member MM of the Official Toyota RAV4 Prime Group on Facebook reported what many owners have, saying, “Sat for 12 months on a handful of waitlists, finally got my prime in January.” Things may be loosening up a bit on the Prime. Owner KH recently landed one. He posted, “Just landed this XSE non-PP for $300 *UNDER* MSRP! Turns out coming into the dealership on the last day of the quarter is a good strategy.”
Ford Maverick Hybrid Pickup Truck - Spoiled By Popularity
Ford’s Maverick is becoming the runaway smash hit of the 2020s decade. It has sold out two years running shortly after its model year debut. Why? Well, it’s a few things. First, the imported Maverick has limited factory capacity. Second, if you were a bean counter at Ford, which would you build knowing every single one would sell at or above MSRP; the nearly $40K version or the $23K base Hybrid?
Fans are crazy about the Maverick, and when we checked last, the Facebook Fan Club for the Maverick was adding about 1,000 new members per month. The Maverick is bigger inside than the Ranger and has a crazy 40 MPG City EPA rating. Which we take issue with. You see, in our testing, it exceeded that rating, and many other publications have found the same result in long-term real-world driving.
How long is the wait? Well, who knows? Our local dealers near Boston won’t accept an order for one right now. We are on the wait list for a cancelation hoping to score one of our own for long-term testing. Owner TVL posted this week, “It's here, and I'm in love with it. Ordered in September.” Another owner recently posted, “Ordered ‘22 Hybrid XLT LUX 10/29/21 received a ‘23 3/17/23. So, the wait is around six to 16 months to get a Maverick.
Short supply and long waits are not a phenomenon unique to electrified vehicles. However, with many shoppers enthusiastic to try out their first vehicle with an electric motor, the shortage could not have come at a worse time. The new car lot nearest our office has a half-row of conventionally-powered crossovers for sale to the first buyer in the door.
Image of Toyota RAV4 Prime courtesy of Kate Silbaugh. Image of Bolt EUV courtesy of Chevrolet. Image of the Ford Maverick Hybrid media test vehicle by the author.
John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his ten years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and TikTok @ToknCars, and view his credentials at Linkedin