The Baja is not another concept. It will be Subaru's next model. Subaru confirmed it with a press release yesterday (see below). My only question is: When will that kicka$$ yellow be available on the Imprezas??
Subaru Introduces All-New BajaTM for 2003
Unique Model Blends Pickup-Truck Utility with Passenger Car Performance
DETROIT, January 7, 2002 - Subaru of America, Inc. today introduced the 2003 Baja, a new type of crossover vehicle that blends the feeling of freedom and ruggedness of a compact four-door pickup truck with the driving dynamics, safety and comfort of a passenger car. Based on the highly successful Legacy/Outback platform, the unique All-Wheel Drive Baja arrives in Subaru dealerships in fall 2002. Subaru has established a dedicated consumer web site, www.subarubaja.com,
for the new model.
The Baja follows in the pioneering tire tracks of the Subaru Outback, the World's First Sport-Utility Wagon®. The Outback sparked the trend in crossover vehicles that combine positive sport-utility vehicle attributes with the handling, ride comfort and fuel efficiency of a passenger car. The Baja delivers many of the practical attributes of a four-door compact pickup truck, but with the kind of responsive handling and ride comfort that eludes truck-based vehicles. Its practical size makes it easy to maneuver, while still offering cargo-carrying capability not possible in a sedan or wagon.
From Concept to Showroom
Subaru previewed the design and features of the Baja with the ST-X concept vehicle, first shown in 2000. The ST-X introduced a key to the Baja model's versatility - the Subaru-designed SwitchbackTM system, which provides the ability to reconfigure the rear seating area, as well as the cargo bed, to meet a variety of needs when transporting people and cargo.
Subaru designed the Baja with the active-lifestyle person in mind. The expandable pickup bed can handle a variety of outdoors equipment, such as mountain bikes, surfboards or scuba gear- even a go-kart. Lowering the tailgate and attaching the Subaru accessory bed extender lengthens the bed to nearly 7.5 feet. An integrated bed liner offers easy cleaning and durability, and other useful features include bed sport bars, a bed light and four tie-down hooks. The Baja also comes standard with roof rails and cross bars, and Subaru will offer attachments for skis, kayaks and snowboards.
Like the ST-X concept vehicle that inspired it, the Baja is configured strictly as a four-passenger vehicle. The rear seating area provides each passenger with the feeling of personal space and comfort, further distinguishing the Baja from the more utility oriented offerings. There is a rear-seat console box with cupholders integrated in the seat bottom. The Baja builds on the content level of the Outback model, adding luxury amenities and exclusive design features, including silver metallic-finished trim on the left dash switch bezel, the audio bezel, shifter trim plate and door switch bezels.
Ready for Fun on Any Road
The Subaru Baja incorporates Subaru Core Technology, which consists of a lightweight, horizontally-opposed engine, a simple, symmetric drivetrain layout and All-Wheel Drive. The inherently good balance of this design provides superior handling and performance, making the Baja fun to drive no matter where the road leads. In contrast, many compact pickup trucks offer only the option of part-time four-wheel drive, which requires driver intervention and can degrade on-road performance.
In the Baja, heavy-duty raised four-wheel independent suspension provides a smooth on-road ride while permitting off-road trail driving. Four-wheel disc brakes with four-wheel, four-channel ABS provide all-road, all-weather confidence. The Baja also includes a standard viscous limited-slip rear differential. Standard 16 x 6.5-inch alloy wheels and 225/60R-16 all-season tires lend a sporty, rugged appearance.
Rugged Yet Comfortable
The Subaru Baja shares a family resemblance with the Outback, including the enlarged front fenders, large foldable body-color mirrors and integrated foglights. Exclusive Baja design elements include the grill and a stylized alloy design fuel door similar to that of the ST-X concept vehicle. The Baja features exclusive Silver Stone lower body and tailgate cladding, and there is also a Silver Stone monochromatic model with matching body and bumper color for a distinctive appearance.
Ruggedness and versatility do not come at the expense of comfort in the Subaru
Baja. Highlights of its 60+ standard-feature roster include:
AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD player
Keyless entry system
Perforated leather trimmed upholstery
Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter handle
Outside temperature gauge
Power windows, mirrors and door locks
Six-way power driver's seat
Tilt steering column
Passenger Car Safety
The Baja shares safety engineering with the Legacy and Outback models. In terms of active safety, the Baja delivers excellent road holding capability due to its low center of gravity afforded by the horizontally opposed engine design.
The unitized Ring-Shaped Reinforcement body structure helps provide the Baja with outstanding protection in a wide variety of collisions. Like the Outback, the Baja is equipped with de-powered dual front airbags, a dual-stage passenger front airbag and front seatbelts with pretensioners, force limiters and height-adjustable anchors. Configured strictly as a four-passenger vehicle, the Baja is equipped with three-point seatbelts for all seating positions.
Proven All-Wheel Drive Performance
A 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine shared with the Outback and other Subaru models gives the Baja an excellent balance of performance and fuel efficiency. The engine produces 165 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 166 lb.-ft. peak torque at 4,000 rpm.
The Baja offers two types of Subaru All-Wheel Drive technology, depending on which transmission the customer chooses. The standard five-speed manual transmission is teamed with Continuous All-Wheel Drive, which uses a viscous coupling center differential. The five-speed manual transmission features a flexible flywheel and a hydraulic clutch for smooth operation.
Baja models ordered with the four-speed electronic automatic transmission (4EAT) feature Active All-Wheel Drive, which employs an electronically managed variable transfer clutch. Active All Wheel Drive distributes power between the front and rear wheels depending on acceleration, deceleration, cornering and wheel slippage. A standard viscous limited-slip rear differential, included with either All-Wheel Drive system, directs power to the rear wheel with the best traction.
Subaru of America supports various outdoor activities, conservation and recycling programs, including the U.S. Forest Service "Tread Lightly!" program, which encourages careful use of off-road trails. Subaru is the official vehicle of Dagger Canoe and Kayak Company, the American Canoe Association, the National Ski Patrol, the Professional Ski Instructors of America, the International Mountain Biking Association, Gary Fisher Bicycle Components and Leave No Trace.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered near Philadelphia, the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 franchised dealers across the United States.