We hate to be bearers of bad news, but there’s no easy way to put this: Mitsuoka’s Buddy, the perfectly-named Toyota RAV4-meets-K5 Blazer crossover you never knew you needed, is now sold out until 2023 — merely four days since the company began taking reservations.
The news, courtesy of Japan’s Car Watch via Motor1, is hardly surprising yet nevertheless depressing. Mitsuoka is planning only to build 200 of them before 2022 is over, and the boutique manufacturer of the weird and wonderful is now collecting orders for its 2023 stock. Soon you won’t be able to get one until 2024!
I just wanted an opportunity to express my fondness for the Buddy, because it makes me happy. I love its name. I love its’ quad rectangular headlights. I love that the front is all chrome-clad and built of hard, defined edges even though the side is curvaceous and crossover-y, and I love that you can buy one with color-matched steel wheels set in chunky BFGoodrich All-Terrain rubber.
Most of all, I love that the Buddy has absolutely no business looking as good as it does. This thing is an old Blazer from the front, a RAV4 from the side and a Cadillac from the back. The press shots promote a delightfully impossible vision of Americana with out-of-focus youths and sometimes dogs. This is a vehicle that makes no sense, and therefore all the sense in the world in times like these.
What’s more, the Buddy is the perfect follow up to Mitsuoka’s last foray into American car culture, the Miata-based, C2 Corvette-aping Rock Star. The company is clearly enamored with an era and aesthetic right now, and it’s a far cry from the likes of the Galue and Orochi. I fully encourage Mitsuoka to work through these ideas even though I know I’ll never drive or see one in the flesh.
The Buddy starts at 4,697,000 yen, which roughly translates to $45,000. That’s almost $20,000 more than the cheapest new RAV4 you can buy in the States. At the end of the day, it just warms my heart to know 200 people wasted no time ordering these delightful crossovers from an alternate universe. Makes you wonder what they’ll come up with next; maybe it’ll be a Nissan Cima styled to look like a late-model Buick Riviera.