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The Subaru Baja has been on people’s minds recently. For April Fools, a dealership teased a new Subaru truck that is not going to happen. But that doesn’t mean the old Baja deserves to be forgotten. In fact, if you’re willing to overlook age, it could be a solid Ford Maverick competitor. 

Why did they quit making this Subaru Baja?

As a small truck, the Subaru Baja might have been too early for its time. While compact pickups like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are enjoying some pretty good sales numbers, the Baja was sort of a flop. 

A yellow Subaru truck, the Baja sits in a parking lot.
Subaru Baja | IFCAR

When the Subaru Baja was on the market, from 2002 until 2006, it never saw the same success as other pickup trucks. It was both expensive and just plain weird. Basically, Subaru tried to combine a car, truck, and SUV into one vehicle. And while some might long for the Baja to return, folks didn’t seem to like what it offered during its time. 

A red Subaru Baja pickup truck sits in a parking lot.
Subaru Baja | IFCAR

Because of that, this Subaru truck was only made for three model years. But a prank by a Subaru dealership has caught the eye of many enthusiasts. 

Before there was the Ford Maverick, there was this Subaru truck

While the Baja came standard with a 2.5-liter flat-four engine, in 2004, Subaru introduced a turbocharged powerplant. Known as the EJ25 engine, this 2.5-liter BOXER turbo offers 210 horsepower and 235 pound-foot of torque. In comparison, the base engine has an output of 165 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque. 

Because of that, Subaru trucks equipped with the turbo engine are more sought-after. To give this pickup more enthusiast cred, you can get one with a five-speed manual transmission. And that is not something that you will find on the Ford Maverick. 

At the same time, the last Baja rolled off the line in 2006. So, this vehicle is getting up there in age. Without modifications, you won’t get the same technology and comfort that Ford’s small Maverick truck has. And, it certainly will not be as safe, both with its build and safety features. 

Ford's small truck, the 2023 Maverick is driving on a dirt road.
2023 Ford Maverick | Ford

Sure, the Baja is not as capable or as powerful as the Ford Maverick. But it offers a certain level of charm. If you show up to cars and coffee with one, you are sure to get some respect for driving this Subaru truck. 

Is Subaru bringing back the Baja?

If you want a Subaru Baja return, you’re probably out of luck. According to Carscoops, the brand has not indicated that it has plans to drop a new truck. With the popularity of small trucks like the Ford Maverick, it seems like Subaru could have a path to success with a compact pickup. 

A new Subaru truck would likely feature standard AWD much like many of the company’s vehicles. And it could benefit from Subaru’s reputation of being a safe and long-lasting automaker. 

For now, it seems like a new Baja will just have a home in our dreams.

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