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Why A New Subaru Ascent-Baja Pickup Would Hit The Sweet Spot

A new 2021 Subaru Ascent-Baja pickup could be what the automaker needs now. See why it would a sweet spot for the Japanese automaker.


Would you buy a Subaru pickup if it were offered by the Japanese automaker? Now would be a great time for Subaru to offer it. Pickup trucks outsold passenger cars in America for the first time ever and Subaru would be in a great position to cash in if they would build one. It’s been one of the hottest segments for automakers and it’s our guess it would sell well like the brand’s new Ascent family hauler. The new 3-Row SUV has done better than expected. So would a new Subaru pickup.

Subaru needs to build a mid-size pickup to compete with the Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier. The brand’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system would be perfect for a pickup and would likely be a big hit with truck buyers who want to go off-road. Subaru has two options, but one is best.

2021 Subaru Ascent, Subaru Baja mid-size pickup, best mid-size pickupA Crosstrek-Baja would be too small for the North American market

The new Subaru Global Platform would allow the Japanese automaker to use the bigger Ascent platform, or use the smaller Crosstrek architecture as a blueprint. We think the Crosstrek-Baja would be too small and the mid-size Ascent-Baja would be the sweet spot.

Remember the Subaru Baja compact pickup? The Baja was the spiritual successor to the smaller Brat pickup, and like the Brat, Baja was based on Subaru’s wagon platform. But Baja had some serious issues. The Baja was too small, 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 8.4-inches.

2021 Subaru Ascent, Subaru Baja mid-size pickup, best mid-size pickupSubaru Baja was a good idea but it had flaws

A mid-size Ascent-Baja pickup would be a great addition to Subaru’s AWD lineup and it wouldn’t be hard for the automaker to design one. Like Baja that used Subaru’s wagon platform as the vehicle’s starting point, Subaru could use the new Ascent SUV as the mid-size truck’s launching platform. Cut off the back, make a few exterior design changes and you’ve got a good-looking 4-door Subaru all-wheel-drive truck for Americans.

It could be manufactured right alongside the new Ascent 3-Row family hauler in Lafayette, Indiana with its new 2.4-liter direct-injection four-cylinder boxer engine for power. The Ascent-Baja would sit higher off the ground with at least 8.7-inches of ground clearance and could also be offered as a Sport trim with a raised suspension.

2021 Subaru Ascent, Subaru Baja mid-size pickup, best mid-size pickupSubaru needs an Ascent-Baja mid-size pickup

An all-new Ascent-Baja pickup would be right in Subaru’s wheelhouse of niche all-wheel-drive models and appeal to tens of thousands of truck buyers. A Crosstrek-Baja pickup would be too small for the North American market, but the larger Ascent platform would give Subaru a truck to compete in the hot mid-size pickup segment with the Tacoma, Frontier, Colorado, and Canyon. It would be the sweet spot for Subaru. Would you buy a Subaru pickup if it were offered by the Japanese automaker?

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru, Instagram users subaru_worldwide, good_grief_graffix


Christina K Shiner (not verified)    May 14, 2020 - 11:56PM

I guess I am an odd ball out. I want a smaller truck. I loved the size of the original Baja's. I guess a slightly bigger size would be okay. I may buy it if I could afford one.

Mike Morris (not verified)    May 15, 2020 - 9:46AM

I would definitely buy this to replace Sport Trac. We live our Ascent. It would be the perfect size for a truck

G Button (not verified)    May 15, 2020 - 12:14PM

Definitely would buy have an outback and an corolla now, an outback and a Subaru pickup would definitely hit the sweet spot.

Kenneth A de Leon (not verified)    May 15, 2020 - 12:21PM

Would consider it if they got rid of the CVT and added a dual range transmission. That will never happen though.

Dwayne (not verified)    December 22, 2020 - 6:54PM

In reply to by Kenneth A de Leon (not verified)

Yes get rid of the CVT they suck! Dual range tranny would be nice.I'm currently on my 3rd Baja,ive owned more subaru's than any other make.I won't buy any make with a CVT their Junk!

Margaret Dyer (not verified)    May 15, 2020 - 1:32PM

Yes, yes, and yes I would buy the Truck have been waiting for Subaru to come out with one that would be functional for us.

Russell Hart (not verified)    May 15, 2020 - 4:06PM

Over the years since 1980 I have owned 3 Brats and a Baja. I took them in the woods deer hunting and plowed through the worst snow storms upstate NY could create. Sadly the salt on the roads disitegrated them. Now that I'm old and live in Florida I miss my Baja. If you build it we will come.

Mike D. (not verified)    May 15, 2020 - 4:49PM

Yes, an Assent P/U would be a great option for Subaru! Making a 2 door or King Cab would be the best option to compete in the US truck segment. I recently got an Outback and a two door makes, since on the shorter wheel base to appeal the smaller truck market!

Jason (not verified)    May 17, 2020 - 11:25PM

In reply to by Matt (not verified)

Nothing wrong with the CVT. Subaru's perform well and the reliability has been at least as good as AT/MT transmissions, statistically, after the 2014 models. What they need to do is bring back low range, or better yet, just work low range into the CVT itself. The infinite gear ratios would be absolutely amazing for that, with no need to switch between hi and lo.

Matt (not verified)    May 15, 2020 - 5:57PM

I would buy one. We own two Subaru's now and love them. But no CVT please. Always said they should build a truck. Hope they do

Kristen Miller (not verified)    May 15, 2020 - 6:49PM

That would be perfect! I loved my 2013 Crosstrek, 2015 Outback and I'm still driving my 2016 Forester (my favorite so far). For the practical purpose of hauling, I'm seriously considering a mid-size truck. Subaru, make it and I'm buying!!

Wayne H Caldwell (not verified)    May 15, 2020 - 6:53PM

Definitely would buy. Picked up an ascent in January big fan. Now if they put a manual in it I'd probably be in love...don't tell my wife

Daniel Miles (not verified)    May 17, 2020 - 1:23PM

Absolutely make the Aecent-based truck! I want to be the first one to own one! Totally the perfect truck of my dreams. Don't want to leave Subaru, but need a truck! Please make this!!!

Katz (not verified)    May 23, 2020 - 3:50PM

Will buy if standard cab, manual, tow, and separate 4x6 bed/box. Will seriously consider as above with automatic.

James Paul Frederick (not verified)    June 11, 2020 - 2:52PM

I own a Baja and it is perfectly adequate for my needs. I think the Baja was about 10 years ahead of its time and if they came out with one, now, they would sell boatloads of them. I larger truck is fine and there is certainly a market for that, as well. But most people do not NEED a large truck, MOST of the time. Why buy a huge beast when you do not need it?

Army Medic - Retired (not verified)    June 13, 2020 - 2:55PM

I bought my first Subaru 2 years ago. I needed a car and they had 0% financing. It was a great choice. Best built car I ever had. If they made a pickup I would be right there to buy one.

Bill Husada (not verified)    June 18, 2020 - 1:42PM

Yes, Subaru need to build a new Baja make sure smaller than the Toyota Tacoma because it hard competing with Tacoma market. I have 2 Tacoma but I need smaller truck Subaru will fit perfectly.

Marvin Buente (not verified)    June 19, 2020 - 8:21AM

I'd buy a new accent truck like in photos in a heart beat. My wife has a 2020 outback black onyx edition, it her third Subaru.

Jeff (not verified)    July 7, 2020 - 9:33PM

I live in the city and own a 1989 Toyota P/U reg cab, 2X. It's just right for any hauling I need to do in the city and every time I take it in for service people offer to buy it. I think there is a market for a smaller than midsize truck. Especially in the urban areas.