Mitsuoka’s first SUV is the 1990s-inspired Buddy

Mitsuoka has unveiled its first-ever SUV, the 90s-inspired, Toyota RAV4-based Buddy; could arrive in Singapore mid-2021

Photos: Mitsuoka


Japanese retro-specialist carmaker Mitsuoka has unveiled its latest creation, and its first-ever SUV. Dubbed the Buddy, the car blends Mitsuoka’s unique sense of retro style on a car based upon a modern platform, in this case the Toyota RAV4.

Like the Rock Star roadster, the Buddy takes inspiration from a slice of Americana, and its styling is a nod towards the large American SUVs of the 90s. The large chrome grille and bumper up front, along with the stacked headlights mimics the Chevrolet Blazer of that era.

The rear end treatment is reminiscent of cars like the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Cadillac Brougham, with its upright taillights, contrasting trim panel and chrome lettering.

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The side profile is more modern, and gives away the Buddy’s RAV4 roots. Chunky all-terrain tyres, complete with classic retro chrome hub caps, are available as an accessory option to complete the look, although regular road tyres can be specified as well.

Mitsuoka has not released any pictures of the Buddy’s interior, but if cars like the Rock Star are anything to go by, it’s unlikely to be substantially different from its RAV4 donor car — read our review of that car here.

Drivetrain options mirror the RAV4 too, with a choice of 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 171hp, or a 2.5-litre hybrid version with 175hp. The petrol version comes with the choice of two or four-wheel-drive, while the hybrid model is four-wheel-drive only.

Mitsuoka will announce the Buddy’s prices and start taking orders for the car in Japan at the end of November. There’s no confirmation about exports yet, but authorised distributor MyCar Pte Ltd says it is looking at the possibility of bringing the Buddy here, perhaps around the middle of 2021.

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Ben Chia
CarBuyer's senior staff writer went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world.