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2004 Subaru Baja Compact Truck

Base MSRP Range: $21,995 - $23,995

Base Invoice Range: $19,982 - $21,779

MSRP As Tested: Not Available

Versions: Sport, Turbo

Vehicle Category: Compact Truck

Engine Location: Front Engine

Drive Wheels: <All Wheel Drive

Engine As Tested: Turbocharged, 2.5-liter,Horizontally Opposed, Single Overhead Cam, 24-valves, ">Cylinder , 210-horsepower at 5,600rpm and 235 lb-ft torque at 3,600 rpm.

Transmissions: 5-speed Manual , 4-speed Automatic .

Fuel Economy (city/hwy): Manual 18/24, Automatic 18/23

Standard Safety Features: Driver and front passenger airbags, power-assisted disc brakes, ">Antilock Braking System (ABS).


Everywhere I traveled this week, I got noticed.

Or should I say the 2004 Subaru Baja Turbo got noticed.

From northern Michigan to the local Meijer, people would ask, "What kind of car is that?" Then would proceed to check out the exterior and interior of the Baja. Most people were impressed.

I was most impressed with its looks. The exterior of the Baja looks more like a passenger car. In the rear, of course, is what amounts to a flat bed.

But even though this car/truck crossover vehicle is a bit unique and radical, it's the sportiest vehicle out there on the highways and byways.

And did I mention that it's a blast to drive?

Power is taken care of by a dual overhead cam 210-horsepower 2.5-liter intercooler and turbocharged boxer 4-cylinder engine that gets its technology from the 2004 Impreza WRX high-performance sports car.

Out in front is a hood scoop that delivers outside air to the engine-mounted intercooler. This four-cylinder would actually outperform a six-cylinder engine in a heartbeat, mostly based on its merging and passing performance both on the highway and in city driving. The engine is definitely a strong performer and never let me down in any situation.

Again, the exterior of the Baja is really sporty. From its recessed fog lamps to its aggressive front treatment and grille, the Baja really makes a statement about what this crossover is all about.

The great thing about the Baja, too, is its versatility. Depending on exactly what you need for your active lifestyle, the Baja can be switched around to provide as much as 90 inches -- seven and a half feet -- of pickup bed to carry even the longest of items.

All you have to do is fold the rear seatback down, then lower the Switchback door between the cargo bed and interior section and you've got all the room in the world to work with.

There's a bed liner back there as well to protect your investment.

We took the Baja to a rural Sears store up north to purchase one of those newfangled leaf vacuum units that looks like a lawnmower and can mulch about eight bags' worth of leaves into one. The box was larger than life, but it fit back there snugly.

You can also opt for a Subaru accessory bed extender. That can extend the normal flatbed to 58 inches. You can put anything your heart desires in the regular bed, including mountain bikes or any other outdoor equipment you see fit to throw back there. There are four tie-down hooks that can keep it all secure as well.

And if you're really a traveler, Subaru offers attachments for the roof rails and cross bars that can allow you to carry kayaks, snowboards, skis and bicycles. Pretty rugged and very, very versatile machine.

Slip inside the Baja and you'll find nothing that resembles a truck in any way, shape of form. The interior is outfitted and has the comfort features of a fine sport sedan. All Baja models are four-passenger vehicles, by the way.

In the rear, your passengers will be treated to major comfort features that you won't find in some of the other utility-oriented vehicles out there. Stuff like darkened glass, three-point safety belts, a rear-seat console box and cupholders.

You want a little luxury? Try out the leather-trimmed upholstery, six-way power driver's seat, 100-watt AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped shifter, air conditioning, power tilt and retractable moon roof, power windows, mirrors and door locks, cruise control, outside temperature gauge and remote keyless entry system. And all that is standard equipment.

The Baja Turbo also is equipped with full-time all-wheel-drive. There are 8.4 inches of ground clearance, allowing Baja to go where it wants. There are also four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel/four-sensor anti-lock brakes.

You want even more fun? The Baja is equipped with a Sportshift feature. That allows you to move the shifter to the right of the gated transmission panel and you're on your way to manual gear shifting. All you have to do is move the shifter forward to upshift and rearward to downshift.

Safety features are all there, including dual front airbags, front seatbelts with pretensioners, force limiters and height-adjustable anchors and three-point safety belts for all positions.

Sounds like a pretty decent vehicle, huh? You bet. And if you buy one, be sure to be prepared for questions galore. Go see it, bet you'll like it. Any more questions: Write me.

Editors Ratings


Absolutely everything. 6 cylinder, normally aspirated engine with instantaneous throttle response. DSG transmission. Reasonably good trunk space for a sportscar. Modern Classic roadster styling. A great car to collect.


None, as long as you have the money for a fabulous toy like this.

Ratings (1-10)

  • Style: 9
  • Performance: 9
  • Price: 8
  • Handling: 9
  • Ride: 9
  • Comfort: 9
  • Quality: 9
  • *Overall: 8.7

More Data

Where Built: Germany.

Major Options: Cargo/Convenience Net, Bed, Leather Package.

Seating: 5

Number of Rows: 2

Length in Inches: 193.3

Warranties: 3 years/36,000 Limited warranty, 5 years/unlimited corrosion, 5 years/60,000 miles Powertrain, 3 years/36,000 Free roadside assistance.

Weight in Pounds: 3 Manual 3,605, Automatic 3,670.

Maximum Payload in Pounds: Not Available.

Maximum Gross Vehicle Weigh in Pounds: Not Available

Towing Capacity in Pounds: 2,400.

Gas Tank Capacity in Gallons: 16.9

Destination Charge: $525