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2004 Subaru Baja Review
A quirky, unique choice for Subaru lovers.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2004 Subaru Baja seems as much like a pickup truck as a sport utility vehicle. This pickup truck can be considered a crossover. It sports both a pickup feel from its exterior look and a sport utility feel from its performance, although it loses some usefulness in both areas for its effort to fill both categories. The strange design limits the amount of actual hauling capability, but it offers plenty of seating for a small family. The truck bed only measures three and a half feet long. Under the hood, it adapts the same 2 engine available in Subaru's other 2004 models, and the standard package boasts 165 horsepower. The Turbo, new in 2004, contains a turbocharged version of the engine. With Subaru's standard, permanently engaged, all-wheel-drive system, all-season terrain does not cause an issue for this somewhat small pickup.
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Subaru Baja Sport, Subaru Baja Turbo
For 2004, Subaru adds a Turbo model to the Subaru Baja lineup. The Turbo features the same 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the Sport model, but supercharged for 210 horsepower rather than the standard 165 horsepower. The ground clearance for this truck rises slightly, and it pairs with an improved suspension. The interior features a redesigned trim in medium gray.
The exterior of this pickup features large front fenders, foldable mirrors, and a unique grille. It includes integrated fog lights that sit behind protective stone guards. The 2004 Subaru Baja features a standard moonroof in both the Sport and Turbo. It rides on a 104.3-inch wheelbase and measures 193.3 inches long overall.
Using the Switchback system, the rear seat and cargo area change to allow more storage capabilities. The cargo bed can be lengthened to 75 inches to hold equipment, supplies, and groceries. The bed of the truck offers a light and roof rails and cross bars come standard in both models. Sixteen-inch wheels come standard as well as power windows, locks, and mirrors.
This pickup truck seats four people, somewhat comfortably, in perforated leather-trimmed seats. The steering wheel and shifter come wrapped in leather. The truck comes standard with cup holders, air-conditioning, keyless entry, a six-way power driver's seat, and a thermometer. The steering wheel tilts to make the driver as comfortable as possible, and the 2004 Subaru Baja comes standard with an AM/FM radio and a CD player. The back seats fold down to increase the amount of storage capacity when needed. The storage and hauling capacity seems somewhat lacking, though, despite adjustable seats and the ability to lower the back seats. The major downside to the interior concerns the legroom, which feels somewhat restricted in the back seat.
Performance & Handling
Under the hood, the Sport features a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 165 horsepower. The Turbo features the same engine setup, but generates 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. The 2004 Subaru Baja comes standard with a manual five-speed transmission, but options include a four-speed automatic in both the Sport and Turbo models. The all-wheel-drive system makes the Baja a great vehicle for climates that exhibit all four seasons. The Baja can handle some off-road driving, but the design makes this an unlikely use. The Turbo option introduced for the 2004 Subaru Baja line provides extra power and some extra horsepower and torque. It remains quiet, and the ride feels smooth thanks to enhancements to the suspension. The acceleration might hesitate when pushed hard, though, and it lacks passing power.
Unfortunately, the 2004 Subaru Baja has not been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. However, the Subaru Baja comes standard with driver and passenger airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, child seat anchors, daytime running lights, electronic brake force distribution, and ventilated front and rear brakes.
EPA Fuel Economy
Subaru Baja Turbo: 16/21 mpg city/highway
- All-wheel drive at no extra cost
- Turbo performance
You Won't Like
- Performance without turbo
- Tight seat bolsters
- Limited towing and hauling for a pickup
- Lack of safety testing
A quirky, unique choice for Subaru lovers.
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