We Need the Subaru Brat to Return

A rendering of the 2023 Subaru Brat has us feeling all sorts of excited. Will the Subaru Brat make a return to join the compact pickup truck game? With the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz coming, why wouldn’t Subaru want to get in on the truck game? 

Is the 2023 Subaru Brat happening? 

Maybe. According to Auto Evolution, the Subaru Brat rendering was created by Kleber Silva. The rendering shows a Subaru Forester that has been transformed into a compact pickup truck. It would have all-wheel drive and a truck bed for your camping gear. 

The original Subaru Brat was produced in the late 70s and 8-0s before Subaru was the mass-market brand with the outdoors appeal that it has today. Go ahead and count the number of Subaru models you spot around a mountain town. They’re everywhere now. 

Subaru Brat Rendering
Subaru Brat Rendering | Kleber Silva

Subaru made the Brat out of an existing family car to provide a cheap solution for a vehicle that provided a little more utility. However, the chicken tax was an expensive issue for the unibody truck to work around. 

Also, B.R.A.T. means Bi-drive Recreational All-Terrain Transport. This is a fancy way to say AWD and doesn’t refer to an unruly child. A new Subaru Brat wouldn’t be annoying, but it could spoil us. 

The Brat had a 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter engine option, so it wasn’t the most robust option. They both have a flat-four configuration, and there was room for a spare tire under the hood. But the truck was unfortunately discontinued. 

What about the Subaru Baja? 

The Brat wasn’t the end of the Subaru truck story. In 2002 the Subaru Baja was introduced but was only manufactured until 2006. The Baja has a better and more easily recognized name and also served as a unibody truck. 

Under the hood, you will find a 2.5-liter flat-four engine with 165-hp. But you could also upgrade to the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine for 210 hp, which is pretty exciting. That’s a solid amount of power for a compact truck. 

Subaru Baja parked in lot
Subaru Baja | Subaru

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The adventurous Subaru Baja was discontinued due to a lack of interest. The truck was seen as an ugly option that didn’t immediately take off. It rode on the Subaru Outback platform. But when the Outback changed platforms, there wasn’t enough interest in the Baja to engineer a new version to fit the new platform. 

Will there be a new Subaru truck? 

Again, maybe. Subaru is working on a new model that’s about the size of the Outback. It could be another crossover SUV, but it could also be the return of the Brat or the Baja. However, Subaru hasn’t confirmed or denied any information about a new truck. 

As Subaru works to compete against rivals like Ford, they are rolling out new, more aggressive-looking trims. For example, the Subaru Outback Wilderness trim will be a new, more capable option to take on the Bronco. 

To truly go against competitors, it would make sense to get into the compact truck game. People love their utes, and there is tons of excitement surrounding the upcoming Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.