Mitsuoka is no stranger to the weird and quirky. A quick look at their lineup and you’d understand what the Japanese coachbuilder with over 50 years of history is all about.
They’ve recently built cars like the Himiko that looks like a cross between the classic Jaguar XK and the more modern Morgan Aero 8 and the Rock Star, a roadster inspired by the Corvette Stingray from the 70s. Wise as they are, they left the engineering work to Mazda as both cars are based entirely on the Mazda MX-5. They’ve just focused on their craft and what they did best; bodywork.
Recently, they’ve gotten themselves drunk on retro American styling again. This time, it’s with an SUV that seems to have returned from 1980s America into Coronovirus-plagued 2020, with more “modern styling and clothings” called the Buddy. Unlike how Suzuki adopted the Toyota RAV4, Mitsuoka has taken its underpinnings and threw away the rest of it.
It will be available either with Toyota’s 2.0-litre petrol engine or 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain paired to a Direct Shift CVT gearbox, also by Toyota. It will also come with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations.
Judging from the dimensions of the Buddy, which defers from the RAV4 by millimetres, it’s highly likely that the Buddy also rides on Toyota’s TNGA-K platform, shared with the Camry. This could mean that the Buddy is the “first classic American SUV” that can actually drives well and wouldn’t threaten to topple over at every bend.
As for the exterior styling, while the Buddy does appear drastically different from the RAV4, its C-pillar is a dead giveaway to the keen eye. With strong doses of classic Americana – from the gapping front grille, to the retro wheel design and the black panel that stretches across the tailgate, the rear end’s disproportionate look certainly raises questions and eyebrows.
As for the inside of the car, nothing has yet to be revealed however if you are keen to follow up, the Buddy will be officially revealed come the 26th of November so stay tuned!