Ask Nathan: Retro Toyota RAV4, Chevy V8 Data and Selfies?

That is a retro Toyota RAV4, and it’s kinda slick. (Image: Mitsuoka)

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • What do you think of the Retro Toyota RAV4? 
  • Nathan’s Chevy V8 opinion – corrected.
  • Bloggers and YouTubers use selfies too much!

The first question comes from a huge Toyota fan who wants our opinion on the retro Toyota RAV4 kit that’s recently been reviled.

Q:  (Via: Twitter@NathanAdlen) Bro! Did you see this retro Toyota RAV4 story?

Autocar UK posted it and I am curious if you think if a retro Toyota RAV4 package would sell in the U.S.? Was great seeing you in Vegas last year. Hope you’re feeling well!

— Magpie1990E

A: Thanks for reaching out!

Yea, I saw the story and the images blew my mind!

This is indeed a modified RAV4, customized by Japanese custom coach-builder Mitsuoka. It’s called, the Buddy. For those of you who want the Buddy body kit on your RAV4 – there’s a chance that it may come to the United States. Right now, Mitsuoka’s products do not sell in this country. High demand may change things.

Mitsuoka’s Buddy is mostly an exterior upgrade making the retro Toyota RAV4 look like a cross between an older Chevrolet K5 and a bitchin’ old-school station-wagon. There appear to be no mechanical upgrades, nor do we see evidence of anything dramatic with tech features. Other vehicles, like the Rockstar (which is a Mazda MX-5 Miata wearing Corvette-ish retro skin), it appears that Mitsuoka will retro-ize the interior as well. Unfortunately, there are no photos or sketches – yet.

Those steel wheels with BFG rubber look epic!

In Japan, there’s been a bit of a renaissance with independent coach-builders using modern cars as a canvas for retro rebirth. I’ve seen countless micro/Key/Kei vans styled like early 70’s and 80’s U.S. vans. It’s ridiculous and cool – at the same time. From what I’ve seen, some of those body kits ran between $1,500 – $3,500, depending on how deep you go.

Pricing has not been announced, but overseas pricing for some of their offerings run about double what their initial sale price was. At least, that’s in the UK. As for the United States, there would be a few hoops the company would have to jump through before they could sell these here.

If I’m not mistaken, it would be easier to sell the components as a kit to various retailers. I seriously doubt that Toyota would offer this type of option on their factory-built vehicles.

Who knows? You might see this kit available at the next SEMA show!

  • N

The next question is more of a statement that comes from a viewer about my take on the Chevrolet 5.3-liter vs 6.2-liter V8.

2020 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss
The Trail Boss has been a staff favorite

Q: Nathan you’ve said on a few videos the 6.2L and 5.3L V8’s are so similar in terms of mileage and cost that there’s essentially very little difference.

I’m going to show you that’s not true. From the annual fuel cost (based on 15,000 miles/yr) for the 2021 6.2l 4×4 Silverado is $2,350. For the 2021 5.3l 4×4 the annual fuel cost is $1,800 for the 8-speed transmission and $1,700 for the 10-speed.Keep in mind the difference is not only fuel economy but also the fact that the 6.2 takes premium fuel.

So over 1 year the cost difference is $550 for the 8 spd and $650 for the 10 spd. Now lets take that number over the the averge age of cars and light trucks on the road (12 years) 550 x 12 = 6600, 650 x 12 = 7800 Now add the up front cost for the 6.2l for ($2,495) 6600 + 2495 = 9,095 for the 8-spd and 7800 + 2495 = 10,295 for the 10-spd For the 2021 Sierra the annual fuel cost numbers are higher for the 6.2l (likely because of worse aero than the Silverado) but the same for the 5.3l.$2,500 for the 6.2l 4×4 and $1,700 and $1,800 for the 4×4 5.3l 8-spd and 10-spd respectively.

Yearly savings over the 6.2 is $700 for 5.3 8-spd and $800 for 5.3 10-spd So doing the math over 12 years and adding the $2,495 up front cost the total savings for the 5.3 Sierra is, 10,895 for the 8-spd and 12,095 for the 10-spd So to recap that’s, $9,095 and $10,296 savings for the Silverado (8-speed, 10-speed)$10,295 and $12,095 savings for the Sierra (8-speed, 10-speed)  You stand to save around $9,000 – $12,000+ over the lifespan of a truck with the 5.3l V8 over the 6.2l.

That’s a lot of cash Nathan.  

Notes: I used figures for the 4×4 models but the 4×2 figures give a similar result. The fuel economy figures for the AT4 and Trail Boss trim levels get slightly less mpg across the board and but the end result is similar. The 6.2 option for the Sierra Denali has a slightly higher up front cost ($2,690)The 6.2 option for the Custom Trail Boss has a slightly lower up front cost ($1,200) in addition the 5.3l in the Custon Trail Boss uses a 6-speed, but the end result is similar. 

A: Hi there.

Thanks for doing all of this research, but, are you sure I said that? I think you may be referring to one of my co-hosts.

Your numbers are very persuasive for those who seek real savings, but (if I recall correctly) I never said anything about the long term. My main points have been, with the overall performance disparity between the 5.3 and 6.2, the performance gains are worth the extra dollars. Many lesser powertrains are less expensive over the long term. Even a base model four-cylinder economy car is much less expensive to own, run and maintain over its hot-hatch version. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice to get the beefier, more enjoyable powertrain.

The 6.2-liter V8 tows like a train, is entertaining when pushed and was fairly economical in our real-world tests. I do agree, it’s a lot more expensive to run with the preferred premium fuel. On top of that: I’ve seen how good the 5.3-liter V8 is on our long term Chevrolet Trail Boss, and it has changed some of my perspective – but not entirely.

I have said, and will continue to say, that for my tastes, the 6.2-liter V8 is one of the best truck engines GM currently builds (although, that new 3.0-liter diesel is also outstanding). Your numbers and research look compelling and I have no doubt that the savings are real, that type of information will be compelling for many. Thank you for doing your due diligence on this – I know it will be useful to many readers.

In my case, I will continue to tell people this: “Get what makes you happy – if you can.”

If I had the budget and need, I would absolutely get the 6.2 – despite the extra costs.

Thanks again!

— N

The last question comes from a disgruntled viewer who is sick of selfies.

Q: You know what I can’t stand? Selfies, candid shots and stupid poses taken by auto “experts”

I don’t want to see your face with a stupid expression with every single topic you’re talking about. It’s as obnoxious as people who take photos of their dinner, work out routines and stupid poses in the boot of a car. Why can’t you guys just remove your selfish, dire need for attention and review the product? I see it all over social media and these clowns get rewarded by car makers who bring in bloggers who have no business to press events instead of real journalists. WTH?

Don’t you hate it when these media goons hog up everything with a shot of them “posing” in front of a car they know nothing about? It sickens me and I can’t stand seeing unqualified people showing the public how cool their lives are because they get to borrow something cool for a bit. I bet they would run up to someone else’s Ferrari in a parking lot and do sixty selfies in 20 seconds if they didn’t have this gig. Half these people fell into being “automotivme journalists” while having no clue what they are saying or doing. It kills everybody’s credibility!

It’s not really you and the TFL guys Nathan. You guys are cool but I still see some stupid poses to get clicks on some of ya’lls videos. I am venting because you have posted my stuff before and I know you are not a media wh–e like ______, ________, _______, ________, ________, and _________!



Thanks Nathan I feel a lot better.

— Rick C

A: Wow –

Okay, I get your frustration, but I don’t think it’s that bad.

Some people have to work to sell their brand. Sure, some people go hog-wild on selfies, but it’s easy enough to ignore. Social media is a cheap and easy way to bring people to your brand. Some folks are entirely reliant on subscribers and clicks. It’s just part of modern business.

We’re guilty of it too. We like to have a bit of fun and, sure thing – we want to solicit folks to look at our videos. We work hard to produce them, so it makes sense that we promote them as well. As for people being unqualified; it’s something that’s been going on even before the internet. It can be aggravating to see from time-to-time, but I try to ignore it.

Simply unsubscribe, un-follow or block the people who irritate you.

It works for me.

— N