Mitsuoka Motors on June 17 launched the Buddy crossover, a retro conversion of the Toyota RAV4, into mass production. The new car, unveiled in November 2020, is inspired by 70s American SUVs.
Mitsuoka Buddy is currently only available for the Japanese car market. The first customers will be able to get behind the wheel of the new car on June 24th. The 2.0-liter petrol model starts at ¥ 4,697,000 (about $ 42,400 at current exchange rates), while the 2.5-liter hybrid version starts at ¥ 5,250,300 (about $ 47,400).
Mitsuoka Buddy differs from Toyota RAV4 in modified appearance and modified rear part of the body. The front fenders of the car, the hood and the bumper are designed in retro style. With the help of the car’s shape, lines and chrome parts, the company tried to style the new model after the Chevrolet K5 Blazer SUV from the 1970-1980s. Instead of the standard RAV4 headlight unit, the Japanese manufacturer used characteristic rectangular headlights, and the radiator grill was made from a nickel-plated grill-like grill. The rear of the car differs from the RAV4 with a chrome trim and vertical lights found on the Cadillac. Chrome wheel caps complete the retro exterior.
Buddy body elements are made of polypropylene and molded ABS plastic. Practical materials have allowed Mitsuoka Motors to achieve excellent visual similarities with prototypes, as well as repeat the exact geometry of the body.
According to preliminary statements, Mitsuoka Motors was going to produce no more than 150 vehicles per year. However, plans had to be revised promptly due to high demand. As of April 2021, 545 orders have been collected.