Vintage trucks and SUVs, as well as their follow-ups, are in hot demand right now, and crossovers rule the world’s sales charts. So few will be surprised to learn that Mitsuoka’s quirky Buddy is sold out until 2023. Unveiled in November 2020, it blends styling cues reminiscent of 40-year old Chevrolet models with the efficiency and reliability expected from a new Toyota.
It’s not entirely popularity that led to the Buddy selling out. Mitsuoka has never dabbled in volume
Stylists forged an improbable visual link between Toyota’s hot-selling people-mover and your grandpa’s farm truck by adding a shiny grille, two-piece rectangular headlights, and boxier sheet metal ahead of the windshield. Toyota genes seep through the Buddy’s middle section, but the rear end receives vertical lights – which are puzzlingly Cadillac-like – a hatch shaped like a truck’s tailgate and more chrome. Dog dish hubcaps are available, too.
Instead of a 350 small-block, buyers get a choice of factory Toyota powertrains. The base powertrain is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 171 horsepower or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid
Pricing for the Buddy starts at 4,697,000 yen for the non-electrified model and 5,899,300 yen for the hybrid, figures that represent approximately $45,000 and $56,500, respectively. It’s about $19,000 more expensive than a base RAV4