Subaru today introduced the Baja Turbo at the New York International Auto Show. Baja Turbo is the third version of the brand's unique crossover vehicle that blends the versatility and ruggedness of a compact 4-door pickup truck with the driving dynamics, safety and comfort of a passenger car. Powered by a 210-horsepower 2.5-liter intercooled turbo boxer engine, Baja Turbo gives new definition to sport plus utility, adding an element of driving fun absent in compact truck-based vehicles.
Baja Turbo is the third new turbocharged model that Subaru has introduced for 2004 MY: Forester 2.5 XT was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show, and the 300-horsepower Impreza WRX STi at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. These three models, along with the Impreza WRX, underscore the brand's high-performance product strategy that's reinforced by more than a decade of rally-winning experience. All turbocharged Subaru models feature a functional hood scoop that feeds outside air to an engine-mounted intercooler.
The Baja models follow in the pioneering tire tracks of the Subaru Outback, the World's First Sport-Utility Wagon. Outback sparked the trend in crossover vehicles that combine positive attributes of a sport-utility vehicle with the handling, ride comfort and fuel efficiency of a passenger car.
The Baja models deliver many of the practical benefits of a 4-door compact pickup truck, but with the kind of responsive handling and ride comfort that eludes truck-based vehicles. The practical size makes Baja easy to maneuver, while still offering cargo-carrying versatility not possible in a sedan or wagon. Baja models share a family resemblance with Outback, including enlarged front fenders, four-beam multi-reflector headlights (two-beam on Baja Sport), large foldable mirrors and integrated foglights with stone guards. In addition to the functional hood scoop, Baja Turbo is distinguished by new-design 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
The key to the Subaru Baja models versatility is the Subaru-designed Switchback system that 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 Baja with the active-lifestyle person in mind. The rear seatbacks fold down to add interior storage, and the Switchback panel between the cargo bed and interior section can be lowered to then extend the cargo area length. The expandable 41.5-inch pickup bed can handle a variety of outdoor equipment, such as mountain bikes, surfboards or scuba gear. Lowering the tailgate and attaching the optional Subaru accessory bed extender lengthens the bed to over 58 inches inches. Then, lowering the rear seat and Switchback cargo bed door can provide a maximum load floor length of over 90 inches for carrying long items.
Subaru equipped the Baja bed for rugged usage. An integrated bed liner provides durability and allows easy cleaning, and other useful features include bed sport bars, a dual-illumination bed light and four tie-down hooks. A swing-down rear license plate bracket, carried over from the ST-X concept vehicle, keeps the plate visible when driving with the tailgate lowered. Baja also comes standard with roof rails and cross bars, and Subaru offers attachments for carrying bicycles, skis, kayaks and snowboards.
Inside, Baja Turbo is more like a sport sedan than a pickup. All Baja models are configured strictly as 4-passenger vehicles. The rear seating area provides each passenger with the feeling of personal space and comfort, further distinguishing Baja models from the more utility-oriented models on the market. Dark smoke tinted rear door glass and rear window glass reinforce this ambience. A rear-seat console box in the seat bottom integrates dual cupholders.