CC Capsule: 2012 Mitsuoka Galue Classic Wagon – Mitsuoka’s Mystifying Mid-Range

It is not always easy to make sense of a carmaker’s range, especially for the JDM. Toyota, Honda or Nissan have a wide array of models, some of which overlap. Some models are also shared across two or more marques – the nominally independent Japanese automakers being in fact more of a cartel than anything else. And then, we have the case of Mitsuoka.

In the case of the infamous boutique manufacturer, halfway between a kit and custom car shop and a bona fide carmaker, the range is slightly clearer. At one end, you have the small saloons, chiefly represented by the Nissan March-based Viewt for the past couple of decades. There are others on occasion, but that’s pretty much it. On the luxury end, you have the big Galue saloons, the latest of which are based on the Nissan Teana. In between these two, even deeper madness lies.

There used to be the (Nissan Sunny-based) Ryoga, the (Honda Accord-based) Nouera and now the (Toyota Corolla-based) Ryugi. But there is also a sub-species of Galue, called the Galue 2-04 for some unfathomable reason. Wikipedia says: “The 204 in the new model’s name is Mitsuoka’s internal code for the design: the 2 refers to the class of car while the 04 is the generation of the design.” Doesn’t make much sense to me, but then I’m not in Mitsuoka’s marketing department. Those smaller Galues were based on the Toyota Corolla Axio and appeared circa 2008.

The Galue Classic, as far as I understand, is a Galue 2-04 with a different (classic?) grille. And it seems the 2-04 was never made as a long-roof, whereas all the other aforementioned mid-level Mitsuokas, including the Galue Classic, were available as both saloon and wagon.

At least, I think that’s what the deal is. Bear in mind this is all deduced from empirical evidence, Wikipedia entries and the notoriously vague Mitsuoka website, so if anyone knows any different, please enlighten us in the comments section.

I could not photograph the interior, but I found a decent likeness on the hinter-webs. These added bits of leather (our feature car’s was white) and wood, while highly questionable from an esthetic perspective, do need to be there to help justify adding 30% on top of the price of the standard Toyota. Your hard-earned Yens at work, folks…

I love the fact that they grafted those Cadillac lights on a Corolla wagon. The Galue, whether of the smaller 2-04/Classic variety or of the fatter senior kind (“fat Galue” sounds truer to me than “big Galue ,” for some reason), always wore Caddy-like fins until the most recent ones, from 2015 on, which unaccountably switched to Fiat 500 rear lights. Even over at Mitsuoka, tradition just isn’t what it used to be.

The bulky Bentley-esque yap on the other end is less interesting to me, but that’s the one Mitsuoka figure is the model’s signature feature, so it’s been gradually getting bigger over the past couple of decades. There is no denying that nothing looks like a Mitsuoka Galue. Probably a good thing.


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