If you are a child of the 1970s and the Toyota RAV4 is just too boring to look at, there’s good news. That’s because Japanese brand Mitsuoka unveiled its Toyota-based Buddy in late October, which featured retro Chevy-inspired styling. The crossover is only available for sale in Japan and has a base price of around $45,032. Unfortunately, Motor1 reports that the weird-looking Buddy has officially been sold out until 2023.
What exactly is a Mitsuoka Buddy?
The recipe for the Mitsuoka Buddy is actually quite simple. For starters, you take a Toyota RAV4 and alter most of its major exterior components, such as the front and rear bumpers, as well as the wheels. To make these changes, the Buddy’s designers seem to have drawn inspiration from Chevy SUVs from the 1970s and 1980s. The wheels appear to match that style as well, with chunky spokes and a chrome hub cap. Aside from the healthy dose of chrome, the rest of the Buddy appears to be standard RAV4.
According to Motor1, the Mitsuoka Buddy’s interior is mostly RAV4 as well. Although there is a Mitsuoka logo on the steering wheel, the rest of the cabin remains largely unchanged. In this regard, the Buddy wins because the RAV4 is already a well-designed vehicle. As a result, the Buddy benefits from many of the same standard tech features as the RAV4. However, since the Buddy needs the Toyota as its base, it is quite expensive.
Prices start at around $45,032
As you’d expect, utilizing another vehicle as the base for your crossover is no easy feat. The result is that the Mitsuoka Buddy carries a base price of around $45,032. For this, you get a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine developing 169 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. For context, a Toyota RAV4 has a base price of $26,050 in the U.S. and features a larger and more powerful 2.5-liter engine. To add insult to injury, the most expensive Buddy featuring this powertrain comes in at around $52,676.
If saving money at the pump is more your style, you’re in luck. That’s because the Mitsuoka Buddy is also offered with a hybrid powertrain. As you’d expect, the 2.5-liter hybrid engine comes straight out of the RAV4 and develops 219 hp and 206 lb-ft of torque. However, opting for the Hybrid model has a massive effect on the overall price. While the base Buddy Hybrid starts at around $50,337, the fully loaded model comes in at around $56,559. Unfortunately, even if you live in Japan and are willing to fork over the incredible sum, you still can’t have a Buddy.
When will the Buddy become available again?
Unfortunately for fans of retro SUVs and the Toyota RAV4, the Mitsuoka Buddy is officially sold out. According to Motor1, you’ll have to wait until 2023 if you want one of these strange crossovers. Motor1 reports that Mitsuoka intends to build 50 of these crossovers in 2021 and 150 of them in 2022. The result is that if you want one of the extremely limited Japan-only crossovers, you’ll have to act fast since demand is surprisingly high.