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Should Subaru Bring An All-New Crosstrek-Baja Pickup?

Forget about a mid-size Subaru pickup, what about a small Subaru Crosstrek-Baja all-wheel-drive truck? Would consumers buy it?


Americans want big trucks, but would a small all-wheel-drive Subaru pickup sell in North America? According to reports, Ford is planning on bringing a global Mini truck (pictured below) 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. The vehicle is so far unnamed and is set to serve as a replacement for the Chevrolet Montana, a small front-wheel-drive utility vehicle sold in Latin America. So why not Subaru?


Why couldn’t the Japanese automaker take the new Global Platform that serves as the architecture for all new Subaru vehicles, and bring a new Outback-based small all-wheel-drive pickup? You might say they already tried that with the Brat (Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) and the Legacy Outback-based Baja.

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 Crosstrek does today.

Would you buy a compact Crosstrek pickup?

We don’t know why the Baja never really took off. It offered great fuel economy (up to 28 highway mpg), all-wheel-drive, and appeared to a young generation of buyers with active lifestyles, just like the Crosstrek. Baja lacked power but was offered as a fun turbo model in 2004 with 230-hp, but it had an unattractive appearance.

The small Baja pickup never sold well and had other 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. Subaru dropped the Baja after the 2006 model year.

So why not use the Crosstrek as the basis for the new Subaru small pickup but don’t 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. For power and towing, It could be offered with their new 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder boxer used in the Ascent. Will Subaru build a new Crosstrek-Baja small pickup to compete with the new Ford and Chevy mini-trucks? It’s fun to think about, but not likely.

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

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Photo credit: Ford Motor Company, Instagram subaru_worldwide


Digitaldoc (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 11:11AM

No interest in a pickup from Subaru, or anyone else.

If they stick with the 2.0NA engine for a pickup, I doubt anyone will buy it. If they can put a better engine in a Crosstrek based pickup, not sure why they would not offer it in the Crosstrek as well.

Aaron T Hansberry (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 2:11PM

In reply to by Digitaldoc (not verified)

That's just stupid and ill- informed. Of course it would sell, mainly because of the safety, not to mention the all wheel drive. It should be based off of the Outback rather than the Crosstrek. The Baja was just to earily for its time. They are extremely versatile and extremely hard to find!

Zedd (not verified)    May 26, 2019 - 2:52AM

In reply to by Aaron T Hansberry (not verified)

I absolutely loved my Baja and would buy this in a heartbeat. Ive had 10 different people offer to buy mine on the spot and dozens more ask me about it. It had about 200,000 miles on it when I sold it.

Big Engines (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 2:52PM

If the Subaru Pickup came with CVT then no thanks :\
The Pickup must have 2 speed Four wheel drive, High & Low Range with a traditional automatic transmission as 8 speed Automatic transmission

Digitaldoc (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 6:41PM

In reply to by Big Engines (not verified)

Unfortunately, AFAIK, Subaru only has CVT's for auto transmissions, and no 8 spd's to source. Shame, as many of us prefer a good ol' fashioned torque converter automatic over those buzzy CVT's.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 3:52PM

The whole article is confusing, it mentions the Crosstrek in the title, then mentions basing it off the Outback, which is a larger platform.

While it makes more sense to base it off the Outback, as it is larger, and the newer platform, I would think basing it off the Crosstrek could be an advantage as there are really no compact pickups in the North American market currently, and could give Subaru a segment all their own for a while (Ford has expressed some plans to build one, but not coming out imminently).

Then again, if they want to be be serious, I don't think anyone will will buy a pickup with their wimpy 2.0NA engine, especially with a CVT.

I remember the original BRAT, and could not get past those rear facing seats in the pickup bed, and thinking how unsafe they were riding out in the open. Not sure they even had seat belts!

Al d (not verified)    May 22, 2019 - 10:37PM

For a import pick up..I'll stick with a Tacoma or tundra. I own a outback and a forester. I love them. I'm a fisherman in south FL.

Melinda D Garner (not verified)    June 20, 2019 - 7:13PM

The baja was what I really wanted when I purchased my Forester 5.5 years ago.
I think it would need a larger engine than a 2.5L though. My Forester has to work a little harder than it should to tow a small trailer with my mower on it. The trailer is very lightweight and can be rolled around by hand so more HP should be a point to be addressed. Still need the AWD though - & still need the good MPH.

Mike OHandley (not verified)    August 29, 2019 - 9:12PM

I'm a former Toyota mechanic. I owned Toyotas from 1971 through 2003. In 2003 I needed a small pickup but felt that the Tacoma was just too big for my needs. I was griping to the sales guy at the Toyota dealership about needing more than a station wagon or hatchback but less than a Tacoma. He said in a low tone of voice so that his boss wouldn't hear him, "Why don't you check out the Subaru dealer down the road. They've got a new model pickup called the Baja. It's like the Brat that they used to sell except it's a 4-door. I said, "Nah, I want something as good as Toyota." He said, "That's just it. Toyota owns a 16% stake in Subaru." Since I know Toyota never buys crud, I decided to check it out. Three hours later, I rolled out of the Subaru dealership with my Baja. I loved the handling and comfort and the fact that I could haul fairly large single objects. Two years later, I upgraded to the turbo. I still own it! It's the best snow car I've ever owned.

brockway (not verified)    October 17, 2019 - 10:17AM

I would love a Subaru with a truck bed. I don't know what Subaru it should be based on, but it should seat 5 comfortably, get decent mileage, and have a bed with as much versatility built in as possible. I don't want a full-sized truck, and the mid-sized trucks are too big these days as well. I want a vehicle that's great in winter (like our Forester), gets decent gas mileage, and will allow me to occasional haul a load of mulch, a few bikes and maybe occasionally some sheet goods like drywall or plywood (with the gate down).

Katie Bravo (not verified)    October 26, 2019 - 6:27AM


brockway (not verified)    December 8, 2019 - 12:43AM

I liked the features of the Baja, I just didn't like the looks with massive amount of lower body cladding. It looked especially garish (in my opinion) in the two-tone color scheme. I think it was those looks that made it less popular than it could have been.

C L Teeple (not verified)    January 21, 2020 - 5:05PM

I would buy a Subaru Baja in 1.1 nanoseconds. I am on my third Baja (bought the first one right off the production line). The one I am driving now is the 2006 model and I have 200,000 miles on her. You have no idea how many offers I have had from people to buy my Bajas!! Subaru totally screwed up; the Baja was just getting popular when they stopped making them in 2006. I am now waiting for the Santa Cruz to be produced. I do NOT want or NEED a large pickup. Leave those for the macho crowd of guys! There is huge population of us out here just waiting for a smaller pickup. . . . not to mention I only drive a standard shift; the Ridgeline only comes in automatic trnasmission!!

Linda Hobart (not verified)    January 30, 2020 - 11:33PM

I loved my Baja drove it for 10 years. Would love the small size truck. Loved my ford ranger too but due to the height and some physical difficulties getting in and out of a truck had to go To a car. and I really love a Subaru. Please come back with the Baja like truck and affordable.

Peter Anderson (not verified)    March 13, 2020 - 6:03PM

My wife adores her 2006 Baja/ turbocharged/ leather/ loaded with all the bells and whistles. She has already stated that she would buy another one immediately. Hers has 98,000 original miles and runs like a top. The Baja is just the right size for her. I can tow my 16’ boat, load with wood and she gets her garden essentials with ease. We’re waiting for the new Baja anxiously! Bring it on SUBARU!

Nick Davis (not verified)    January 3, 2021 - 1:50AM

This exactly! If they built it on the crosstrek platform, built it with 2 additional inches of lift, offered a low range, and improved the offroad approach angle I think it would sell like hot cakes. People are tired of trucks that are too expensive with poor fuel economy. If they came in at that low-mid 20s price tag I think they wouldn't be able to keep them on the lot.

Eva Wilson (not verified)    February 1, 2021 - 8:49PM

Yes, yes, yes! Missed out on previous Baja. Would have been perfect for my needs. Yard work, gardening, light hauling I can only dream. Make it happen!