Vintage trucks and SUVs are in high demand right now, as well as their successors, and crossovers are dominating the world’s sales charts. Few will be surprised to learn that Mitsuoka’s quirky Buddy is sold out until 2023. Unveiled in November 2020, it combines styling cues reminiscent of 40-year-old Chevrolet models with the efficiency and reliability expected from a new Toyota.
It’s not quite popularity that has led to the Buddy selling out. Mitsuoka has never dozed off in volume, and the Buddy is no exception. According to Motor1, it will only build 50 copies of the Buddy in 2021 and 150 more in 2022. It is not yet known how much it will make in 2023. the standard RAV4 (some 448,000 were sold in America alone in 2019), but the Buddy is much more than a Toyota crossover with extra bling.
Stylists have forged an unlikely visual link between Toyota’s hot-selling people-mover and your grandfather’s farm truck by adding a shiny grille, two-piece rectangular headlights and boxier sheet metal for the windshield. Toyota genes seep through the center section of the Buddy, but the rear receives vertical lights – which are enigmatically Cadillac-esque – a hatch shaped like a truck’s tailgate and more chrome. Dog dish hubcaps are also available.
Instead of a 350 small-block, buyers will be given a choice of factory Toyota powertrains. The basic powertrain is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an output of 171 hp or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid that produces 219 hp.
The price for the Buddy starts at 4,697,000 yen for the non-electrified model and 5,899,300 yen for the hybrid, figures representing approximately $ 45,000 and $ 56,500 respectively. It’s about $ 19,000 more expensive than a basic RAV4 in the Japanese market. With this in mind, selling 200 units in a matter of days is an impressive feat. We’ll have to admire it from afar, though, as nothing suggests it’s America-bound. As a tradeoff, there are still thousands of real ’80s Blazers and Suburbans across the country waiting to be revived.