The Mitsuoka Buddy debuted on October 29, 2020, and the company started taking pre-orders on November 26. In just four days, the quirky Japanese automaker has amassed enough orders that anyone placing a request now has to wait until 2023 to get the funky crossover.
Mitsuoka intends to make 50 units of the Buddy in 2021 and 150 of them in 2022. Prices start at 4,697,000 yen ($45,000 at current exchange rates). The range-topping hybrid model with all-wheel drive is 5,899,300 yen ($56,532).
Gallery: Mitsuoka Buddy
The Buddy uses the current Toyota RAV4 as a starting point, but then Mitsuoka overhauls the front end to make the crossover look like an early 1980s Chevrolet pickup or SUV, like the Blazer or C/K Series trucks of that time. There's a chrome egg-crate grille with stacked headlights at each corner. Mitsuoka add a skinny LED light strips running through the center crosspiece. The new face requires making a new hood that the company gives chunkier styling than the standard crossover. The chrome bumper adds to the retro styling
There are smaller tweaks to the rear. Mitsuoka adds vertical taillights, and the hatchback is generally flatter and more minimalist than on the RAV4. There's a chrome bumper back there, too.
Inside, the Buddy looks just like the RAV4. Tiny adjustments include a Mitsuoka badge on the steering wheel. The seats and door panels feature stripes that match the body color.
The powertrain is straight from the Japanese-market RAV4. A 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder is available with front- or all-wheel drive. Similarly, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid comes in the same drivetrain layouts. At least at this point, Mitsuoka isn't offering the Buddy with the RAV4's PHEV system.