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When it came out in 2002, the Subaru Baja puzzled buyers. What is it? Why is the bed too small and there isn’t the same cabin space as the Subaru Outback station wagon? It was an outlier, yet it found buyers, very enthusiastic buyers. And that is why a local Subaru dealer in Massachusetts advertised a 2024 version as an April Fool joke. 

Which Subaru dealerships are hinting at a Baja Wilderness?

Subaru Baja
2024 Subaru Baja Wilderness | SNE

Sure, why not stir up some attention, then slide inquisitive enthusiasts into a Subaru Outback Wilderness? After all, that is what a Baja version would be from. But now, there remains a groundswell of enthusiasts wanting Subaru to actually bring the 2024 Baja back to the U.S., more than 17 years after the last one was here.

When Subaru of New England posted the Baja Wilderness on its Instagram page, it said, “You asked, we delivered.” And along those same lines, Quantrell Subaru in Kentucky has also been teasing the Baja’s return. After listing what its specifications would be, it ends with, “Fortunately for you, when the time comes early next year, you won’t have to travel too far to slip behind the wheel of the all-new Subaru Baja.” 

What Subaru dealers are telling customers about the Baja?

2023 Subaru
2023 Subaru Outback Wilderness | Subaru

That falls into the same general category as what Subaru of New England says. “The Subaru Baja Wilderness has everything you need for off-road adventures. So where will the 2024 Baja Wilderness take you?”

So we have (at least) two dealers shilling for a Subaru product that Subaru says is only for Australia. But it says there won’t be U.S. distribution. “All it takes is a quick email with one of our specialists, so contact them as soon as you would like to reserve one or take a test drive.”

Is the Hyundai Santa Fe driving the Baja Wilderness idea?

Hyundai Santa Cruz
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Joe Santos/MB

So the Lexington, Kentucky dealer is not only saying it’s coming for 2024. But it is already offering you to get on a reservation list and welcoming test drives. For a vehicle that Subaru has not completely announced and as of now doesn’t exist. 

Obviously, a Baja variant would be based on the Outback station wagon, as the Baja was made from an Outback, too. The difference between the early 2000s and now is the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick. Both are compact unibody pickups, with the Santa Cruz following along the lines of the Baja with its origin from an existing wagon/SUV. 

How are sales of the Ford Maverick and Santa Cruz?

Worldwide the Ford Maverick has already sold 25,000 of the compact trucks in the first quarter of 2023. And Hyundai has sold almost 10,000 Santa Cruz pickups in the same quarter. So both brands are on the course of selling record sales with each, with Hyundai doing it with components already developed for the Tucson SUV. That means development money and time were already spent before the first Santa Cruz was penned. 

While speculation is just that, when you have two dealerships announcing the same general outline, it indicates there is enough buyer interest, and enough winks from Subaru, to make these claims. When there is something more concrete, we’ll bring it to you. 


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