The first Mitsuoka Buddy has just rolled off the line in anticipation of its release later this month on June 24, Car Watch reports. Now that I’ve seen the Buddy in motion, I get why people love this thing.
I have to be honest: I didn’t like the Mitsuoka Buddy very much before today. I am a big fan of the K5 Blazer, but I didn’t think the Buddy had the brio of the K5. I didn’t really see or understand the appeal of this SUV, which is basically a modified Toyota RAV4, until I saw this one clad in North Carolina Blue:
I feel as happy watching this as those workers seem in the video. I’m now applauding the Buddy, because this is truly one of those cases where pictures do not do a car justice.
What once seemed like a disjointed and clashing design is now bright and friendly. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the design of the Buddy is harmonious, it’s a little jarring in profile. but at the very least, the design is consistent throughout.
The Buddy’s sharpest angles seem rounder now, too. OK, maybe not rounder, but certainly softer. It could very well be the hue of the pastel paint, which looks incredible with the chrome accents, but I am digging this more than I thought I would. I’ve even warmed up to the Buddy’s overbite!
The other good bit of news from the report is that the preorders were expanded to 300 units per year, according to Car Watch. That may not seem like a lot, but that figure represents a 100 percent increase of the original run of 150 units.
That increase comes despite the relative high cost of the Buddy, which “starts at 4,697,000 yen [~$42,623] for a 2.0-liter gasoline vehicle and 5,250,300 yen [~$47,646] for a 2.5-liter hybrid vehicle,” per Car Watch.
This first one produced is a one of the 2.5 hybrids, so it’s one of the pricier ones. It’s quite a lot of money to pay for a RAV4, even when accounting for the reliability of Toyota, but I would now say the Buddy is worth its asking price.