What a weird mashup of styles. It kind of works, though.
Have you ever wanted the current Toyota RAV4 to look more like an early 1980s Chevrolet pickup or SUV? Unless you're working in Mitsuoka's design department, we expect the answer is a resounding: "No!" However, the quirky Japanese automaker makes this weird look a reality with the new vehicle that it calls Buddy.
Mitsuoka rips off the RAV4's front end and replaces it with a chrome egg-crate-style grille with a pair of stacked headlights on each side. For a modern touch, there are skinny LED running lights in the central crosspiece. The company also adds a shiny chrome bumper, a hood with sharper creases, and boxier fenders, which makes the area ahead of the windshield vaguely resemble the classic Chevys.
Gallery: Mitsuoka Buddy
The Buddy also receives a modified rear end with styling that more generally evokes the styling of '80s Chevy SUVs without directly taking from them like at the front. There are now vertical taillights and sharper creases for the rear hatch with a two-tone finish for the area in the middle versus the rest of the body color. For a matching touch, there is a chrome bumper like the one for the nose.
The company didn't offer any photos of the interior suggesting, the layout is the same as the RAV4. The current crossover has a very nice cabin for its segment, though, so there's no reason to be disappointed.
Mitsuoka doesn't alter the RAV4's Japanese-market powertrains. There's a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder making 169 horsepower (126 kilowatts) and 153 pound-feet (207 Newton-meters) of torque. There's also a hybrid-assisted 2.5-liter four-cylinder with a total system output of 215 hp (160 kW) for the front-wheel-drive version or 219 hp (163 kW) with Toyota's E-Four all-wheel-drive system. At this time, it doesn't seem like the company plans to offer the Buddy with the RAV4's plug-in hybrid.
Technically, this is just a teaser for the Buddy, and Mitsuoka plans to give the vehicle a full unveiling on November 26. So far, the only burning questions are price and availability.