Yes, Subaru Should Absolutely Revive the Baja

Recently, brands like Ford and Hyundai have been introducing new small trucks with available all-wheel drive. Whether it be the 2022 Ford Maverick or 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, these brands are showing that compact trucks can be a successful gamble. But, these manufacturers are not the first to explore the world of small trucks. In the past, Subaru offered a small truck with AWD, the Subaru Baja. It was available from 2003 to 2006 and had a number of notable features. And now, rumors are beginning to circulate that Subaru could reenter the truck market. 

Will they bring back the Subaru Baja?

The Subaru Baja was a ute-like truck sold by Subaru.
Subaru Baja | IFCAR

In the past, Subaru has offered two trucks to the North American market, the Subaru BRAT and the Subaru Baja. Models like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Crus show that Americans are ready to accept small trucks. And it would likely be a big success if Subaru were to modernize the Baja. 

When the Baja was initially sold, it was a total flop. According to CarBuzz, Subaru projected 24,000 Baja sales each year. But by the time the Subaru Baja was discontinued, the brand had only sold 30,000 units. So, it’s no surprise that Subaru decided to seize production after a short run.

While U.S. buyers may not have been interested in buying a small truck in the past, now brands are beginning to push into this segment. And a couple of things would likely put a new Baja ahead of the competition.

Does Subaru sell a truck?

Subaru does not currently sell a truck. But the brand does have a history of offering small, quirky trucks. If Subaru were to build a new truck, it would have some key advantages over the current small truck market. A majority of Subaru models feature all-wheel drive as standard. This is something that most truck buyers would likely appreciate.

Additionally, the quality of Subaru’s engines has gone up over those of the past. According to MotorTrend, Subaru models used to face major engine issues if maintenance was not performed properly. But still, the brand remains a popular option for those shopping for a unique vehicle.

Why did Subaru discontinue the Baja?

The Subaru Baja was a small truck offered by Subaru in the early 21st century.
Subaru Baja | Subaru

Simply put, Subaru did not have much of a choice when it came to discontinuing the Baja. The vehicle underperformed sales projections, so much so that the brand could no longer justify the cost of building it. 

With the success of small trucks on today’s market, it is possible that Subaru was just ahead of the curve. And the brand could do well to explore the viability of a new Subaru truck. Especially if the manufacturer looked back to the higher performance of the Subaru Baja Turbo.

Something that could help a new Subaru ute stand out from the crowd would be if Subaru equipped the model with a manual transmission. The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz can only come equipped with an automatic transmission and AWD is an added cost. Surly, a truck from Subaru would boast standard AWD and a manual transmission would just be an added benefit.

RELATED: Was the Subaru Baja Really That Bad?