Saturday, September 25, 2021
News The Mitsuoka Buddy Would Make A Killing In North America

The Mitsuoka Buddy Would Make A Killing In North America

The retro-American style given to the Mitsuoka Buddy even has steel wheels with chrome hubcaps


  • Mitsuoka is a Japanese coachbuilder.

  • The Buddy SUV is based on the Toyota RAV4.

  • It is heavily inspired by ’80 GM SUVs.


The Toyota RAV4 is immensely popular all over the globe. Toyota’s deal with Suzuki has birthed the handsome Across but these are not the only iteration of the Japanese giant’s super-SUV. Coachbuilder Mitsuoka has re-bodied it with undeniably appealing retro ‘80s styling and called it Buddy.

Two design elements incorporated into the Buddy speak to us. The front fascia, the grille and bumper, are basically lifted from a second-generation Chevrolet K5 Blazer, more specifically from the early to late 1980s. The stacked sealed-beam-like headlights have us staring. From this angle, the RAV4 is unrecognizable.

Mitsuoka Buddy | Photo: Mitsuoka

From the side, the Toyota’s uniquely-styled fender flares are a giveaway however the Buddy can be fitted with ultra-cool painted steel wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires complete with a small central chrome hubcap. The RAV4‘s 5-spoke wheels are also available however ruin the style.

The rear-end design is not quite as convincing. As autocar.co.uk points out, the vertical taillights seem to be pulled from a ‘70s or ‘80s Cadillac but the look is off. Perhaps some square wrapped-around-the-edges tails would have worked better.

Mitsuoka has a complete lineup of re-bodied cars, most inspired by past vehicles. Of them all, the Buddy is certainly the coolest. Order books open on November 26th.

Mitsuoka Buddy | Photo: Mitsuoka

Mitsuoka Buddy | Photo: Mitsuoka

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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