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Could The Subaru Baja Pickup Truck Come Back?

Subaru Baja

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Sometimes you’re so far ahead of the curve you need to wait nearly 15 years for the rest of the world to catch up. Such is the case with the fabled Subaru Baja. With an ephemeral four-year run from 2002 to 2006, the Subaru Baja was outmatched in the super-sized SUV explosion of that decade. But now, with maximum utility and minimized carbon impact on everyone’s mind, the Subaru Baja is back with a vengeance, ready to pick up (yes, pun intended) right where it left off.

A Vehicle Is Born on the Baja Peninsula- the Subaru Baja

You can see the rise of hill-top dwellings as you look south from San Diego. You cross the border, hook right, go up a hill, and hook left to enter the “Coastal Route-1.” Route-1 was built by America to help thwart any potential Japanese coastal invasion in WWII. Route-1 was designed to send emergency supplies as far away as Cabo San Lucas in the 1940s, and it hasn’t been paved since. In fact, once you pass Ensenada, much of Route-1 is now missing, and you have to follow nearly impassable tracks through a barren desert wilderness dotted by ranches and fishing villages.

Anyone who has been there or who was brave enough to race through this terrain in the annual Baja 1000 knows well enough that what you’re driving needs to be tough, extremely off-road capable, easy to fix, easy to pull out of holes in the earth, and highly versatile with respect to the cargo and people it can carry.

The original Subaru Baja came with custom amenities to cope with the rigors of Baja off-road life on “the peninsula.” Early models enjoyed:

  • Off-road lighting
  • Lifted 7.3″
  • Expandable rear cargo-beds
  • Movable license plate frames (after all, this is Baja)
  • Copious storage and map pockets
  • Leather seating
  • All-Wheel-Drive
  • A 2.5L 165HP Engine
  • A 2.5L Turbo with 210HP
  • A 5-speed manual or Auto transmission
  • A rear-seat pass through to the cargo bed
  • Flip-up cargo bed seating (after all, this is Baja)

When you are conquering the endless stretches of dirt-packed horizons with only cattle crossings as your landmarks, it makes a lot of sense that exterior seating is available. After all, you might have to lend a helping hand to a stranded rancher and an injured calf. The back of the Subaru Baja was designed especially for this. Unfortunately, a recovery vehicle for stranded Caballero’s couldn’t compete with the full-size SUV revolution. So the formidable and adventurous Baja has been waiting for its moment, south of the border. To the legions of Subaru Baja fans out there, the Baja SUVs time has finally come.

The Baja (Potentially) Rides Again

Times change, and so does the automotive landscape. Where once growing cravings for full-size SUVs and trucks drowned out the Baja, the quirky smaller-hauler class it belonged to is now seeing serious interest. Several brands have thrown their hat in the ring – but what is the formula they’re following? Take a more refined and maneuverable car platform, and give it an open-air pickup bed. Down under in Australia, this is the popular “ute” segment (ironically, the Baja never was sold there). The benefits to these “utes” are many.

A lower center of gravity gives precise handling, a more nimble size for city streets, and a more refined and comfortable car-like ride. Sure, cargo capabilities are smaller than body-on-frame pickups, but you get a proper double-duty vehicle in return. Think of it as a pickup truck for those who need open-air hauling on Monday, but an easy city-commuting car-like experience the rest of the week.

We can’t say for sure, but we do know that rumors are swirling round and round. It just makes sense. Why miss out on a segment you helped pioneer? The Baja is a pseudo-classic today, standing out as a vehicle that shrugged at the early 2000’s size-obsessed market and confidently did its own thing. It’s a simple concept. You see, the Baja can be thought of as a modified Outback without a back – it rode on the same platform with a nearly identical interior, powertrain, front end, and body lines.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does Subaru make a truck?

Yes, though not anymore. Subaru, over time, released two trucks in the North American market: the BRAT and the Baja. The BRAT came about in 1978 as a plucky open-bed variant of the Leone (a model that later evolved to become the iconic Impreza) and lasted on sale until 1994. Defining features like bed-mounted seats and a boxy body make the BRAT an instantly recognizable classic among Subaru enthusiasts.

Meanwhile, the Baja was a BRAT successor based on the Outback wagon that came about in 2003. Following a similar formula, the Baja lasted until 2006 with variants like a turbocharged model – and an iconic yellow paint scheme. As well, in Japan, Subaru makes small “Kei” work trucks like the Sambar, though they never sold them here in America.

Why was the Subaru Baja discontinued?

Relative to full-size pickups, the Subaru Baja was small and expensive. Research showed that the original Subaru Baja didn’t cater enough to the luxury expectation of brand loyalists. The good news is, Subaru, the #1 brand for Brand Trust, is about to solve all those old problems.

Is Subaru bringing the Baja back?

As of yet, we do not know since Subaru has not released any information on the New Baja. Stay Tuned!

Is the Subaru Baja a truck?

Yes. In terms of utility, the Subaru Baja will be spoken of as a pickup truck. Officially, it will not cross the federal weight criteria of 7,000lbs to be classified by the DOT as a truck. But that’s great news. What it saves in weight, it makes up in projected tow capacity. The new Subaru Baja is expected to haul up to 5000lbs.

Quantrell Subaru in Lexington Is Closer Than San Felipe

Fortunately for you, when the time comes early next year, you won’t have to travel too far to slip behind the wheel of the all-new Subaru Baja. Quantrell Subaru in Lexington, KY, doesn’t require a passport to get to. All it takes is a quick email with one of our specialists, so contact them as soon as you would like to reserve one or take a test drive. If you absolutely cannot wait for the new Subaru Baja to be available, why not try the spacious and capable new Subaru Ascent for sale? Or on the other hand, keep some money in your pocket and grab one of our amazing used Subaru models for sale to quell the pangs of impatience. With Subaru, your investment is always protected with the Subaru Trade-Up Advantage program and customer loyalty rewards. Now on a parting note, the biggest question remains unanswered. Well, we know the answer. With all of the ranches and outdoor activities ’round here, will the new Subaru Baja also make good use of cargo bed seating just like the original? I guess you’ll have to see for yourself, but you might just find yourself saying “Vamos” to anyone you meet along your daily adventures.

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