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Subaru Builds A New Pickup But Not The One You Want

Subaru customers would buy a pickup if Subaru Corporation built one. Subaru does sell a pickup, but it's not the one you want. Check out the new 2022 Subaru Sambar.


We have discussed why Subaru needs to offer its U.S. customers a small or midsize pick in North America. They could use the Ascent as a template for a midsize pickup with the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine that would sell well in the U.S. market. Or, Subaru of America could offer a compact pickup with the Forester or Crosstrek as the base.

Subaru does sell a pickup, but it's not the one you want. Subaru Corporation sells a light-duty Sambar pickup in Japan with a small footprint and is easily maneuverable on Japan's streets.

2024 Subaru Baja pickup

The Sambar is powered by a three-cylinder 660cc dual overhead cam engine producing 45 horsepower and 44 lb. ft of torque. Subaru Corporation offers four trim levels of the Sambar pickup, Base, TA, TC, and Grand Cab.

The Subaru Sambar pickup comes with either two or four-wheel-drive models coupled with a 5-speed manual gearbox or CVT automatic. Both transmissions have a city mode, suburban mode, and highway mode.

The Subaru Sambar pickup would not sell in North America because it's too tiny and light-duty for U.S. customers. It's a great little pickup for Japanese farms throughout the country but not suited for North American needs.

2024 Subaru Baja pickup

We have written about Subaru of America offering a new 2024 Baja pickup for U.S. customers. The all-new Subaru Baja pickup could feature the brand's core values of safety, fun-to-drive, all-wheel-drive, fuel-efficient, and a low center of gravity. Subaru could even offer a new Baja Wilderness that would be more rugged and off-pavement ready.

Subaru's dual-function X-Mode system would be a perfect fit and would be a big hit with customers with active lifestyles who want to go off-road and get further off the grid.

2024 Subaru Baja pickup
Ascent Baja midsize pickup - photo credit obw.adventures

A midsize 2024 Ascent-Baja pickup would be another great addition to Subaru's all-wheel-drive lineup, and it wouldn't be hard for the automaker to design one. Like Baja, which used Subaru's wagon platform as the vehicle's starting point, Subaru could use the new Ascent SUV as the midsize truck's launching platform. Cut off the back, make a few exterior design changes, and get a good-looking 4-door Subaru all-wheel-drive truck for U.S. customers.

Subaru does make the 2022 Subaru Sambar light-duty pickup for Japanese customers. It's time for Subaru of America to ask Subaru Corporation for a pickup that would fit its customer's needs. Would you buy a new 2024 Subaru Baja pickup built for North Americans? Leave your comments below.

You Might Also Like: The Subaru Baja ST-X - The New Turbo Pickup You Would Buy Right Now

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru Corporation


Mike (not verified)    October 10, 2022 - 8:29AM

Counterpoint, the Sambar is exactly the kind of pickup Americans need. It is all utility and economy. I don’t need an $80k vehicle to haul grass clippings or make runs to the hardware store. A small sedan for daily driving and one of these for projects would be cheaper to buy, run, and maintain.

Bob E (not verified)    October 10, 2022 - 3:21PM

If the Sambar had a hybrid engine in it, I'd buy it.

25 more tie downs than are provided with the SUBARU Solterra!

Stuart (not verified)    October 10, 2022 - 9:45PM

I would buy it for USA utility truck; would be good economy for picking up sacks of 50# feed from the city, groceries, etc.
However, with stringent USA crash tests, this design won't pass the 40mph head on crash test with occupants surviving.

Chris (not verified)    January 17, 2023 - 11:19PM

I'd definitely buy a Subaru truck, but it would have to have a regular/large bed..2.4 Turbo is a bore. It would have to have the 3.6 Ltr. V6.. 310-325Hp. Hood scoop, wide fenders,.. CVT???

Glenn (not verified)    February 17, 2023 - 8:53AM

I'm coming up on 5 years with my Outback. I usually get a new car every 5 years. I went from 20 years of having a pick up, to buying my Outback in 2018. I want a pick up, and a Subaru pickup would be at the top of my list if there was one. I'm torn. Love my Subaru, but miss/need a pickup truck.

Sean Villariasa (not verified)    March 14, 2023 - 11:58AM

Yes. I would love to see a compact crew cab pickup by Subaru. The last production pickup that Subaru made was the Baja. I wasn’t impressed with the design and overall. It would be nice to see a use of an existing car platform like the Crosstrek in order to compete with the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickups. Instead of a full unibody, May I suggest a Uniframe with a pickup box - similar to the Honda Ridgeline. This will allow better towing and payloads on the bed. It would also be great to see the Hybrid version of this model. If Subaru can bring the compact pickup, I would invest in one, since Jeep has been quiet with the Gladiator pickup’s future and likely they could discontinue it. As for names for the Subaru compact pickup, I’m okay with Brat or Baja or suggested Subaru Bandit.

Rebecca K (not verified)    April 4, 2023 - 10:17PM

I would definitely buy a Subaru Hybrid 4-passenger small truck like the Baja. I have been looking online to see when one is available. I want to get garden supplies and not mess up my vehicle's interior. I would also like to tow our fishing boat to the lake as well as transporting other outdoor gear.

Steve Williams (not verified)    April 4, 2023 - 10:51PM

I’ve been missing my Baja since I sold it but I needed something with more towing capabilities. I have regretted buying a Tacoma ever since. I’d put money down today to guarantee being one of the first to own one.

Beau (not verified)    August 10, 2023 - 1:25PM

As an owner of a 96 sambar I would love a new sambar especially when you consider everything these little trucks can do for the fraction of the cost of an f150