Skip to main content

Back To The Future With A New Subaru Crosstrek STI Brat Pickup

Check out what a new 2020 Subaru Crosstrek STI Brat compact truck could look like. Should Subaru bring it?


Americans are buying lots of mid-size trucks, but how about a small all-wheel-drive compact Subaru pickup based on the popular second-generation 2019 Subaru Crosstrek? According to reports, Ford is planning on bringing a global Mini truck to South American and is planning on selling it in North America. GM is also working on a new car-based compact Chevy truck with unibody construction. So why not take it further with a new 2020 Subaru Crosstrek STI Brat pickup?

Do you remember the Subaru Baja compact pickup? Subaru unveiled the first model in January 2001 at the North American International Auto Show. The Baja was the spiritual successor to the smaller Brat pickup, and like the Brat, Baja was based on Subaru’s wagon platform.

Subaru Baja

Subaru could take the new Global Platform that serves as the architecture for all-new Subaru vehicles and use it to bring a new small all-wheel-drive pickup based on Crosstrek. You might say they already tried that with the Brat (Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) and the Legacy Outback-based Baja, and it didn’t work out well for the Japanese automaker.

The Baja featured Subaru's great all-wheel-drive system, making it versatile in a variety of road and weather conditions and it was meant to appeal to young consumers with a taste for the active, outdoor lifestyle much like the popular Crosstrek does today. But Baja had some serious issues.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek

The small Baja pickup never sold well and had some flaws. There was no middle seat and it could only haul four people, and only a small portion of the rear bulkhead (the mid-gate) folded for cargo. The bed was small, and the ride height was only 7.3-inches but by the end of production was raised to 8.4-inches.

Baja lacked power but was offered as a fun turbo model in 2004 with 230 horsepower, but it had an unattractive appearance. Subaru Corporation could use the second-generation 2019 Crosstrek as the basis for the new small pickup but they don’t have to make the same mistakes. It would be the ideal size and could offer the same removable partition that expanded the Baja’s truck bed to nearly 7 feet.

This time, make the opening as wide as the bed to accommodate a sheet of plywood or other large items. Going even further, let Subaru Tecnica International get their hands on it and offer it in two versions, a Crosstrek STI with the Ascent-sourced 2.4-liter direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder boxer. And also offer it with an off-road package.

Will Subaru bring an all-new 2020 Crosstrek STI Brat and an off-road version to create a whole new compact pickup performance segment? It’s fun to think about, but it’s not very likely.

You Might Also Like: Should Subaru Build Ascent-Baja To Cash In On Mid-Size Truck Craze?

Bookmark the TN Subaru page and be sure to follow the latest 2020 Subaru Crosstrek model change reports on FacebookTwitterInstagramSubaru Report. Tweet your Subaru news tips to us @SubaruLegitNews and we'll give you a shout out! Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates.

Watch The New 2020 Subaru Impreza Changes and Upgrades video and subscribe to the Torque News YouTube channel for daily Subaru and automotive news analysis.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru USA, Timmons Subaru, Crosstrek-Brat used with permission from Instagram user good_grief_graffix


Mary E Benner (not verified)    September 9, 2019 - 10:57PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Yes! I had to sell my 2005 Subaru Baja Turbo this summer. I drove this vehicle for 14 years and I LOVED it. At 150,000 miles it was going strong. I kept it in great mechanical condition. It needed a catalytic converter and I couldn't find a replacement. I decided the Baja needed to go to a collector who could work around parts availability difficulties. I am driving an Impreza Sport now.

Sandra Biehler (not verified)    December 31, 2019 - 6:21PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Absolutely! Bought a new black 1983 Brat and had it until I couldn’t get parts to pass smog. Loved it being turbo. I really like the Crosstrek but haven’t purchased due to low horsepower. I am holding until a turbo model is created , but would purchase a pickup if equipped like the crosstrek!

Tom Smith (not verified)    September 9, 2019 - 9:22AM

But they can't even make the vehicles that they have out now right. I am unsure how this one will turn up.

Paul Cahill (not verified)    September 9, 2019 - 11:35AM

Ew. No.
For one, its obvious by Jeep, Pickup and heck hatchback sales that people want four doors. (not verified)    September 9, 2019 - 5:03PM

Yes please! I'm the proud owner of a Baja but it's getting a bit up in years. This was a suggestion I made to SoA about a year ago when dealing with a warranty issue on my WRX. Bring it... I'll be first in line! (not verified)    September 9, 2019 - 5:05PM

Yes please! I'm the proud owner of a Baja but it's getting a bit up in years. This was a suggestion I made to SoA about a year ago when dealing with a warranty issue on my WRX. Bring it... I'll be first in line!

Josh W (not verified)    September 9, 2019 - 7:19PM

It’s a dud that Subaru doesn’t need. I know I wouldn’t buy it. Look at chevy’s attempt to recapture the El Camino with the hardly functional SSR (dud). And I certainly wouldn’t call the Baja a success story. There’s little more you could put in that “bed” that you couldn’t manage with a solid roof rack on any existing sedan. So why do it? Especially an STI model that will no doubt push a sticker of $30k+. Why bother with performance and symmetrical awd with all of the weight in the nose. The motor is already in front of the front axle and it took Subaru 2 decades to dial in the balance with the Impreza. I’d drop the extra 5 on a WRX/STI and buy a thousand dollar beater truck for the occasion it’s needed if I were in the market and looking at this thing. Pump a turbo BRZ/STI to the US market already and stop trying to revive stuff that never took off. If you like this concept, to each his/her own. But, if you think you’re essentially getting the convenience and versatility of a truck along with the comfort and economy of small sedan, I’m afraid to tell you that you’re not getting either. Just my advice