Last post on Feb 20, 2012 at 8:57 AM
You are in the Subaru Baja
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Subaru Baja, Truck
#517 of 2213 2003 Baja 4EAT test drive
Sep 12, 2002 (11:00 am)
Ride: I drove a short course near Herb Gordon (formerly Tischer) Subaru, Silver Spring, MD, w/a salesman so I was light on the throttle and steering. Salesman said the front struts have less rebound than 2002 Outbacks due to (?) springs (forgot the name) for dampening. I noted some stiffness that might have been tire (over)pressure.
Features: The pass-through is neat. Some wind noise from the crossbars with the moonroof open (as with all crossbars). The bed seems well thought-out, with drain holes, a gate-mounted license plate holder that folds so it's visible with the gate down, notches for cross supports (creating a two-level bed), and light.
Herb Gordon will receive a 5MT Baja next week. No brochures (nor at subaru.com).
I drove a Regatta Red/Silver Stone Metallic. A Baja Yellow arrived as I was talking to the salesman; it might have a bit too much orange for me but it does look nice. Funny that Subarus arrived on a covered truck carrier, while Mercedes-Benzs unloaded nearby arrived on (gasp!) uncovered trucks. (Usually, I see MB on covered trucks, this was an anomaly AFAIK.)
Sep 12, 2002 (11:14 am)
I believe they're called "internal rebound springs."
Regarding the 2-tier loading in the bed: Did you notice the slots, for the cross slats, have a small lip at the top, to keep the slats from bouncing out of their pockets. Question: How do you get the cross slats into those pockets, with that lip in place? You can get one end in, but you can't get the other end in, with that lip in place!?
I'm wondering if Subaru will be offering some sort of a spring-loaded slat, that you can compress just a bit, so that you can insert that cross-slat into the pocket?
What did you think of the styling? I think they look better in person, than in pictures.
Sep 12, 2002 (11:34 am)
When I was at the Tyson's dealer yesterday, the sales guy and I (with much help from the owner's manual) figured out how to secure the optional bed extender in place with the tailgate down. If you don't secure the bed extender in place, it will bounce up and down on rough roads, and you risk loosing your cargo.
There are are 2 small straps, with attachment clips, that slide on the bed extender. When the tailgate is down, you insert each strap-clip into the latch on both sides of the open tailgate. You need to insert until you hear "2 clicks" You then snug up the straps as needed. Then it's secure.
To unlatch those clips, when you want to close the tailgate, you use the tailgate release handle, as you would do when you want to lower the tailgate. That releases the straps/clips.
Also, when you want to remove the bed extender, you raise it vertically 90º, and it lifts right out! It's great for thieves...
#520 of 2213 2-tier loading in Baja bed
Sep 12, 2002 (11:42 am)
"Internal rebound springs", that might have been what he said; thanks, Bob.
C'mon Bob, they wouldn't call me Mr. Cup Holder if I neglected minutiae. Of course I looked at the slots! Glad you asked. The salesman said some pickups have slots to accept 2x4 lumber to create the 2nd tier. Subaru has a slot designed to work with dedicated cross slat members, not 2x4s. I don't recall if he said Subaru or the aftermarket would provide cross slat members. He said Subaru expects many aftermarket bed accessories, such as a bed cover.
Do any owners know more?
Styling: Definitely looks better in person. Normally, cladding isn't for me (why we choose GT monotone over Outback two-tone w/cladding) but if I were buying a Baja, I'd want it. I can't decide if it's overdone. It'll probably grow on me, like most things.
I just wish that Baja Yellow one had the protective white plastic wrap removed so I could get better handle how the Baja wears the color and cladding.
#521 of 2213 New struts w/internal rebound springs
Sep 12, 2002 (1:22 pm)
From www.media.subaru.com, Product Info, Baja, 07/31/2002 Subaru Core Technology Empowers the Baja™ and Defines the Brand:
The 2003 Baja retains the proven strut-type suspension design in front for packaging efficiency. The rear uses a multi-link design. This suspension design provides excellent lateral rigidity and geometry, as well as optimal control of bump-steer and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The front struts are all new and incorporate internal rebound springs, coil spring rate changes and improved shock valve tuning to reduce body roll and further refine ride quality. The internal rebound springs also increase longitudinal stability by reducing lift on acceleration.
#522 of 2213 "Lift on acceleration"?
Sep 13, 2002 (12:08 pm)
Test-drove a Baja with automatic the other day. Lift on acceleration is not one of my big concerns, and I don't think it's because of the rebound springs...
I will probably buy one, but it won't be because of its looks. Hey, has anyone seen the kayak carrier that is an option for the roof rack? I'm told I'll have to pay for it (non-refundable) before my dealer will order one. Not too helpful.
Sep 13, 2002 (1:56 pm)
Thanks for the tip, Bob. Check out the Cafe for my surprising test of the Pilot.
I think all Crew Cabs look, well, awkward. It's just not a well proportional body style. The Sport Trac isn't pretty. The Tacoma is plain but boring, and the Frontier is downright ugly now that they went overboard. The Dakota is the least offensive of the compacts.
#524 of 2213 Bought mine on Friday the 13th :)
Sep 13, 2002 (9:05 pm)
Got a silver one, automatic, with bed extender, tweeters, no other options on it. Ordered a hitch and a differential protector. $500 over invoice, and I was able to apply the $2000 in vouchers I had built up over many years in the credit card loyalty program.
I'm satisfied with the power, tried it in a couple of freeway situations. Not as quick as the Mazda Protege I'm retiring, but quick enough.
Yeah, I was writing the check when I realized the date. But I figured I was already driving a weird car, no need to start worrying about what other rules I was breaking.
#525 of 2213 Baja - 2 weeks later
Sep 14, 2002 (6:33 am)
What more can I say, I love it. Its not even worth comparing it to my old Tacoma, but it is a much better ride than even our 98 Outback. Same engine, same hp, torque, max rpms, etc. but the Baja feels like it has a 30-40 hp advantage. Maybe thats just the difference between the AT and the 5-speed manual. The suspension is a huge improvement, no body roll at all, and bumps you feel in the Outback barely register in the Baja. The steering is excellent, probably due to the larger wheels and low profile tires, but I read somwhere about the Baja having some kind of "speed tuned" steering. Anyway, I am very happy with it.
The dealership here in Plano TX still does not have a replacement for the one I grabbed and have no idea when they will get another. There were only 3 Bajas, all silver, delivered to the 3 dealerships in the Dallas area 2 weeks ago so for the moment I still have a fairly unique vehicle in an area where Subarus are not that common anyway. I have not had that many looks but so far all I've been doing is commuting and running around a bit on weekends. Since lots of people here drive Suburbans, F250 Super Duty trucks, etc. as commuter/mall shopping vehicles I am probably beneath their notice. I'm still on my first tank of gas and having a great ride. I hope Subaru comes out with more monotone color options for the Baja, the 2-tone colors really overemphasize all the plastic cladding.
Sep 14, 2002 (7:08 am)
with you about offering more color choices for the Baja. Right now you either have high-contrast choices (Red/Silver, Black/Silver % Yellow/Silver), or the no-contrast Silver/Silver.
I would like to see a couple of subtle-contrast colors offered, such as: Titanium/Silver and SeaMist Pearl/Silver. The Titanium and SeaMist Pearl are currently offered on the Legacy and Outback models.