Pitched as an April Fools joke by an American Subaru dealership, a render of an Outback-based ute was shown off in concept, but is it actually a very good idea?
The render was shared to social media on April 1st, showcasing what appeared to be a new-generation Subaru Baja – a dual-cab ute that was previously based on the Outback wagon and sold in North America.
While the supposed vehicle announcement was revealed to be fake, the idea of such lifestyle ute vehicle isn’t perhaps such a bad idea given the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz have enjoyed so much success overseas.
Although these unibody utes might lack the rugged capability and huge payload and towing capacities of the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Nissan Navara, they seemingly promise just enough to be appealing
What’s more, the capability teased by the dealer sounds very appealing, helped in part by the fact that Baja render is based on the Wilderness version of the Outback.
“Equipped with a 260hp turbocharged Subaru Boxer engine, 9.2-inches of ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive, and up to 75 cubic feet of cargo space, the #SubaruBajaWilderness has everything you need for off-road adventures?” the dealer quipped.
Subaru has been slowly rolling out a range of ‘Wilderness’ variants of its popular models, with the Outback, Forester and now the new-generation Crosstrek all receiving the same treatment.
Currently these models are only available in North America however just last month, Subaru Australia’s, managing director Blair Read told Chasing Cars that it is “definitely something we’re pursuing.”
“We’ve got the (XT) turbo here, that’s a big tick, job done, so it (Outback Wilderness) is on the list,” Read added.
While some would have trouble associating Subaru with utes given the brand’s current line-up, it’s actually no stranger to the load-hauling machines.
Subaru first introduced the BRAT (Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) to the North American market to compete with manufacturers such as Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda in the small truck segment.
The second-generation BRAT debuted in 1981, where it was introduced to Australian and New Zealand markets as the Brumby.
Sales continued in Australia until 1994, when the Brumby was pulled, marking the end of Subaru Australia’s short-lived life with a ute in its line-up.
Though it never left the North American market, Subaru introduced its Outback-based Baja ute for the 2003 model year.
This wagon-based ute was powered by a 2.5-litre flat-four petrol engine in standard form, and a turbocharged version with up to 160kW was also available.
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