Could Subaru’s partnership with Toyota lead to a modern day return for the Subaru Brumby ute?
Despite not having a ute in its current lineup, Subaru has a storied history with the humble utility and a recent unofficial render of a modern day Subaru ute has gotten us thinking: could it actually come to fruition?
Published to the Digimods Design channel on Youtube, the recent renders hypothesise how a modern day Subaru ute could look and there’s more than a hint of the Toyota Tacoma utility in the rugged design.
As well as similarities with the Tacoma – particularly in the side profile -, there is clear inspiration drawn from the Subaru Solterra electric SUV, which itself is based on the same platform and overall design as the Toyota BZ4x.
While there have been no official indications of any Subaru ute being in development, the aforementioned Toyota design cues as well as the two brand’s increasingly close relationship, could potentially make a new Subaru ute more likely than otherwise.
Seemingly running in parallel to SUV-mania is Australia’s obsession with utes, and aside from the dominance of the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, brands are also jumping at the opportunity to capitalise on the trend for more diversified lifestyle focused models.
That includes smaller more urban friendly unibody utes like the Hyundai Santa Cruz, the Ford Maverick – both of which sadly aren’t available in Australia – and persistent rumours about a Toyota Stout to sit below the Hilux.
Unlike most major car brands in Australia, Subaru is one of the few that do not presently offer a utility as part of their model lineup. However, Subaru Australia has previously gone on the record as having advocated for a ute with its Japanese head office.
A comparatively small player in the global auto market, Subaru runs a leaner operation than Toyota, making a larger and more diverse model range more challenging. However, since 2020 Toyota has had a 20 percent stake in Subaru, becoming its largest single shareholder and potentially increasing the chance that a new Subaru ute could make it into reality.
The two brands are collaborating more frequently as part of an increasingly close relationship. This has included platform and production sharing partnerships for the BZ4x and Solterra electric SUVs, as well as the GR86 and BRZ sports coupe twins. Subaru is beginning to use Toyota’s hybrid tech globally too.
With the increased frequency of occurrence for these collaborations, the feasibility of a ute could become a more realistic idea if it’s based on sharing existing technology from the larger brand.
This idea could also potentially become more realistic if the ute also used a unibody construction like the Santa Cruz and Maverick as this would theoretically allow for it to utilise an existing passenger vehicle or SUV platform.
This said, the renders created on the Digimods Designs channel do seem to take a more rugged traditional pick up truck approach, which would make sense given the relation to the Toyota Tacoma.
So perhaps it’s possible we could see a Subaru ute based on Toyota’s TGNA-F platform, which forms the basis of the Tacoma, Land Cruiser and Tundra among other vehicles.
For a brand which already promotes its ‘active lifestyle’ brand positioning, a ute would seem like a logical addition to the Subaru lineup which already has a historic affinity to the vehicle type.
That includes the original Subaru Brumby and the lesser known Subaru Baja, which the recent renders are named after.
For the uninitiated, the Baja was the name of a unibody ute version of Subaru’s second-generation Outback sold only in the US between 2002 and 2006.
The vehicle generated its own cult following, which has occasionally bubbled back into prominence online – most recently when new renders inspired by the current generation Outback were used by a US Subaru dealership teasing a ‘new model’ as an April fools joke.
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