2023 Subaru Baja pickup specs, features
Denis Flierl's picture

Why A New Subaru Baja Pickup Would Easily Outsell The Hyundai Santa Cruz

Will Subaru offer a midsize pickup? Here is why a new 2023 Subaru Baja pickup would be a hot model for the automaker.
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The Hyundai Santa Cruz enters the new untapped Sport-Adventure Vehicle (SAV) segment, and Subaru should be too. A new Subaru Baja pickup would not only compete well, but it would outsell the hot new Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup. Here are the Santa Cruz sales since it launched in July 2021.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz SAV has sold 6,634 units in five months. A new 2023 Subaru Baja midsize pickup would likely be a big hit with Subaru's active customers.

2023 Subaru Baja pickup specs, features
photo credit: @catchme_outback

If Subaru resurrected the Baja and offered a new compact pickup, it would likely be a much bigger hit with a younger demographic of active customers than the Santa Cruz.

With the Hyundai Santa Cruz and new Ford Maverick pointing the way in the Sport-Adventure Vehicle segment, the Subaru Crosstrek Baja would fit right in. It would be an instant hot pickup for Subaru of America.

2023 Subaru Baja pickup specs, features
photo credit: @catchme_outback

The all-new Subaru Baja pickup could feature the brand's core values of safety, fun-to-drive, all-wheel-drive, and a low center-of-gravity. The Baja pickup would be rugged and off-pavement ready.

Imagine an all-new Subaru Crosstrek Baja Wilderness with a 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine producing 260 horsepower. The more rugged Baja Wilderness trim could lead the segment with extra ground clearance, all-terrain tires, and underbody protection for off-road adventures.

Subaru's new 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 away.

Hyundai doesn't have a loyal customer base of outdoor enthusiasts who would buy the Baja and park it next to their Forester or Outback SUVs. Subaru would sell more Baja pickups than Hyundai Santa Cruz'Cruz' 6,634 units in five months.

It's time for Subaru of America to offer an all-new 2023 Subaru Baja Sport Activity Vehicle for its customers in North America and dive into the untapped compact pickup market. Would you buy an all-new Subaru Crosstrek Baja? Leave your comments below.

You Might Also Like: Why Subaru Is Waiting So Long To Announce The New Crosstrek Wilderness

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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Comments

definately would buy one ,Subaru Baja Pickup
Subaru could offer 2 unibody crossover crewcab pickups. 1 could be based on the Ascent and tow 5000lb or so. The other could be a MPG machine like the Maverick, based on the Crosstrek. A little 30-40MPG AWD pickup based on something like my Crosstrek would be great, if it could tow 3500-4000lb like an AWD Maverick. My 2.slo/CVT Crosstrek can top 40MPG if I set the cruise around 55MPH, and I really like how it drives/rides for a little hatch. Even with 9" or so of ground clearance, and more sidewall roll, all from the Trail AT tires that are 1" taller than stock, my Crosstrek still feels pretty stable in corners. With AWD, skids, ATs, roofrails, hitch, winchmount, and low COG from the smooth 2.slo boxer engine that gives me 35+MPG, it's already a versatile little softroad/commuter hatch, and I haven't even put a rear locker in yet. If sturdy roofrails were offered on a crewcab pickup, lockable, weatherproof luggage capacity for 5 doesn't have to be an issue. Even better if a "trunked" bed like the Honda Ridgeline's is used. Torqlockers, armor, and winchmounts are already available for most modern Subaru models too, so if Subaru makes them from existing parts bins, the aftermarket is already supporting the offroader/overlander fanatics. New tooling for every mfr involved would be minimal. A 2.4T version of either would be sweet.
Saying Ascent three times summons the Toyota conservatives and removes all the fun out of a new Baja. "You don't need power to have fun" or whatever lame excuse Subaru used to justify axing the Forester XT would be made three times worse if the new car was Ascent based. It needs to continue being based on the Outback for the appeal to remain, and maybe even with a Bronco style roof assembly in the back so you can turn the rear (fold flat) seats into part of a full size truck bed. Bonus points for a 2.4XT and even more for a Wilderness
Any article projecting sales of a new potential vehicle should be citing previous sales of the last iteration of the same concept, the Baja (no question a newer iteration would be much better looking and more capable). Despite projections for 24,000 per year there were only 30,000 Baja’s produced in the entire 4 year production run, not exactly a profitable vehicle. Since there haven’t been any concept vehicles created to test the waters (customer interest), there’s probably no plans for a small truck like derivative of any of the existing products (I think Ascent and Outback would be the best base vehicles to support the extra weight and minimal towing capability). What I would watch for (and maybe write to Subaru customer support about) is another partner vehicle with Toyota. It’s no secret that practically every new vehicle is going to be electric, and Toyota just mocked up a bunch of EV’s including small truck-based. So from a cost-saving product development standpoint, I’d think a joint vehicle based on the EV Tacoma would be the best bet for a Subaru model that would meet the needs customers want and, depending on styling, it could even sway would-be Toyota customers over to Subaru.
Would love to see a new Subaru pickup, I
Who gaf is a new baja would outsell the Santa Cruz? Good luck dealing with hypotheticals and your pointless fantasies. I prefer to remain grounded in REALITY and FACTS. And the fact is subaru is not offering a new baja and Hyundai is killing it with their current vehicles not just the SC. Oh btw the new WRX looks like utter sh** in real life. Recently saw one at the Seattle auto show. But hey, if sales are the end all be all I suppose the prius is a better car than any subaru vehicle in the history of mankind.
I own a 2006 Baja manual tranny, outfitted with a trailer hitch ebike rack, and kayak racks. It has 170k miles, running strong but it is sooooo under powered. Hell yeah I would buy a new manual one. People try to buy mine all the time.
YES!! I would buy one as long as it is a manual transmission. I currently own a 2006 manual turbo and love it. Subaru has a great opportunity here. The new Baja needs to keep the same utility that it currently has and to build upon it. I always have the rear seat down and stuff piled in there. I carry my mountain bike in the back with the optional Subaru bike rack. Granted that bike rack does not really work with modern day MTB's, a simple adapter purchase and I am still able to use it. Purchased the Subaru tow hitch package as well and towed my MR2 to the race track often with the track tires in the bed. Yes, the Baja struggled a bit, but it still did the job. The new Baja, that can tow a BRZ and have two mountain bikes in the back and kayaks on the roof is where Subaru should be looking towards. Because those that are Baja owners truly use the Baja as a utility truck, and not asking it to be a full size pickup. I have already written to Subaru with my interest in a new Baja and told them they would have my money. Just as long as it comes in a manual and keeps the same utility as the old one.
YES!! I would buy one as long as it is a manual transmission. I currently own a 2006 manual turbo and love it. Subaru has a great opportunity here. The new Baja needs to keep the same utility that it currently has and to build upon it. I always have the rear seat down and stuff piled in there. I carry my mountain bike in the back with the optional Subaru bike rack. Granted that bike rack does not really work with modern day MTB's, a simple adapter purchase and I am still able to use it. Purchased the Subaru tow hitch package as well and towed my MR2 to the race track often with the track tires in the bed. Yes, the Baja struggled a bit, but it still did the job. The new Baja, that can tow a BRZ and have two mountain bikes in the back and kayaks on the roof is where Subaru should be looking towards. Because those that are Baja owners truly use the Baja as a utility truck, and not asking it to be a full size pickup. I have already written to Subaru with my interest in a new Baja and told them they would have my money. Just as long as it comes in a manual and keeps the same utility as the old one.
The Baja was ahead of its time, especially the Turbo. With a bit more towing capacity it could probably build a lot more sales these days. Look at what Ford is doing with the 30+MPG Maverick, sales-wise. The Maverick 1500lb payload and 2000-4000lb towing capacities are pretty good for such a small vehicle, and the fuel economy is pretty good for the pep that either powertrain offers. An mid-trim AWD is plenty of capability for my all-weather 50-mile commute, my small family, the 3000lb boat I'm getting, and my healthy self-esteem. I neither need nor want a 15-25MPG behemoth of a $35K+ pickup. I live near a congested metro area. I'm not in construction, farming, hotshot trucking, nor offshore fishing in a 28'+ boat. Subaru offers great AWD fuel economy with the 2.0 or 2.5 CVT Crosstreks. I can average over 40MPG with a 2.0L at 55-65MPH. The 2.4T probably isn't much worse on gas, and the 2.5L is allegedly BETTER. Adapt those boxer powertrains to a unibody platform with coil rear suspension and one could have a fun and useful little AWD econotruck that's based on a Crosstrek or Forester. The aftermarket already supports them too, with lockers, winchmounts, skids, rockers, suspensions, etc.
Man, I was thinking this very thing. I was checking out the Santa Cruz and was thinking... "why doesn't Subaru just re-release a modern version of the Baja? If Ford can release an updated Bronco and it be successful... surely the Baja is primed for success."