2025 Subaru Baja: Will it be a Hard Competitor to Ford and Hyundai?

2025 Subaru Baja

Subaru started Baja production in 2002, and the first model was sold the following year. It was the first truck since the Brat model the company discontinued in the late eighties.

Baja received its name after the famous off-road racing series in an attempt to capture the spirit of adventure that accompanies the prestigious event.

2025 Subaru Baja

2025 Subaru Baja
2025 Subaru Baja

Baja is a compact, unibody truck. Each model is equipped with all-wheel drive and a 2.5-litre B4 engine. It had a 16-inch rim and a 17-gallon fuel tank.

The model produced in the first year put out only 165 horsepower. Subaru decided the truck needed more kicks and added a turbocharger with a hood spoon. This brings it up to 210 horsepower and 235 lbs of torque.

It comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, and a four-speed automatic is an option. Most of the designs are borrowed from the Inland.

Subaru designed the Baja based on the Outback body and frame and only added a small truck bed in place of the trunk. The tailgate measures about half the size of its competitors, with a length of fewer than 42 inches.

One of Subaru’s most bizarre offerings, the short-lived Baja small pickup is billed as a versatile utility that carves corners like a car.

In reality, it was just a Subaru Outback whose rear roof was thrown off in a bizarre experiment. For all its odd proportions, the all-wheel-drive offering does have a loyal following.

Sure, it has compromised the ability to carry weights, but it’s a dream of enthusiasts with sleeping looks and rally basics.

Fast forward to 2022; the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz occupy the small unibody truck market. With Subaru sales struggling recently, the reintroduction of Baja may be the ticket to reclaim the market’s attention.

While the Japanese automaker has yet to show such a return, we have imagined how Baja’s recovery will look and explore all the other things it can offer.

Hinting at its turbocharged potential, the hood is equipped with a scoop intercooler, while the sleek DRL dynamically makes the truck look fast even when stationary.

Subarus nods from old frameless windows, like the cutline of the rear door behind the window glass. The contrast theme also extends to chunky fenders and cabin areas. The latter has been designed to activate various color schemes for maximum visual impact.

While the high-side short bed may seem vertically defiant, the box footing and grip handle have been used to improve access.

Although the original had many limitations, practicality can be enhanced with intelligent solutions, storage, and customizable bed boxes.

2025 Subaru Baja Interior
2025 Subaru Baja Interior

The interior is also very similar to Outback but has different trim options to add variety. Because the Baja is relatively tiny for truck size, the Subaru provides a switchback feature — an access door between the bed and the rear of the cabin.

The gate allows the driver to haul goods up to seven feet long. It was an effective way to add cargo space, but the switchback was only helpful for sleek stuff. The openings are large enough for things like wooden boards and small pipes, but not many more fit.

Subaru Baja Engine

The Baja Powertrain ideally comes in two variants: hybrid and turbocharged. Subaru did not have a central gasoline-electric unit in its arsenal; however, with its strategic alliance with Toyota, the RAV4 Prime’s 302 hp (225 kW) PHEV powertrain could serve as an eco-friendly option.

To pump more than 300 hp, such an option would put it ahead of Maverick and Cruz. What won’t be paired with it is the current automaker’s obsession with continuous variable transmissions. ZF’s incredible 8-speed automatic delivery power to all four wheels can fill that void.


Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick as Baja’s core competitor sets. Depending on needs and price range, other candidates could include Honda’s larger Ridgeline and some lower-spec midsize trucks such as the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.

Fuel Consumption

Baja had much better fuel economy than other trucks of the time. That’s an average of 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

In 2004, trucks like the Chevy Silverado and S10 would only get a combined mpg of about 15. It is an excellent alternative for someone who doesn’t need the power that comes with more oversized gas guzzlers.

In addition to having better mileage, Baja can’t compete with other trucks. Its towing capacity was 2,400 lbs, whereas the Chevy S10 could pull 5,200 lbs.

Baja performs about half as much as most other compact trucks. Changing a person who is already a car owner will be challenging to exchange to this cumbersome setting.

Will Subaru Baja Return in 2025?

With other car companies starting to release similar concepts, it may be time for Subaru to revive Baja. Hyundai has released the Santa Cruz, and Ford has a compact, unibody truck with Maverick.

The market might be creating demand for vehicles like Baja. Websites like and many others speculate how and why Subaru should give Baja another chance.

Some have even gone to great lengths to draft their concepts and debate which model should be used. At present, Subaru has not commented on making a new Baja, but all the rumors surrounding it may make them consider it.

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