Toyota RAV4 gets retro Chevy Blazer vibes thanks to Mitsuoka


If you’ve always wanted a Toyota RAV4 that looks like it actually came from Detroit in the 1980s, let me introduce you to Mitsuoka. The tiny Japanese automaker has made a name for itself by taking today’s cars and turning them into truly incredible vehicles — or downright hideous expressions of creativity, depending on your opinion.

Its latest creation is the Mitsuoka Buddy. The company published a teaser video for this truly odd SUV on Tuesday. It looks a lot like I took a stab at photoshopping a concept car, and I assure you, I am not great with Photoshop. Some here on the Roadshow staff call it charming; I don’t quite see it that way. That’s where the whole “your opinion” thing comes into play.

Personal feelings aside, the Buddy starts life as a modern Toyota RAV4, as you can see from the greenhouse and the wheel arches. From there, Mitsuoka cobbles together various pieces and parts from other vehicles to create something familiar, yet completely alien. The front works best for me with its nods to vintage pickup trucks and SUVs from the 1980s — a body-on-frame Chevy Blazer, perhaps. The chunky tires and steel wheels are also pretty excellent. 

This RAV4-based Mitsuoka is really soaking in the retro American vibes, eh, Buddy?


To me, the rear falls apart with clunky proportions and taillights clearly ripped from a first-gen Cadillac XT5. It feels like I’m staring at two separate cars depending on which angle I view, but this is all part of Mitsuoka charm, I’m told.

I’m not a Mitsuoka hater: The guys and gals in Japan did a wonderful job on a previous creation called the Rock Star. That project saw a Mazda MX-5 Miata turned into a C2-generation Corvette and I was 100% there for it. We’ll have to wait for when the company’s ready to share more about its Buddy, but in the meantime, enjoy the wholesome video for the car’s teaser, embedded above.

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