At $4,300, Could This 2003 Subaru Baja be the Perfect Last Minute Gift?

Illustration for article titled At $4,300, Could This 2003 Subaru Baja be the Perfect Last Minute Gift?
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Four-door car-trucks were once a pretty big thing, and today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Baja was Subaru’s entry into that weird category. Let’s see if this manual-equipped edition is worth bringing it back.

While I was writing up the post for last Friday’s 2015 Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG, I got the Sammy Hagar song, Red stuck in my head, owing to the Benz’s cherry hue. For a while it proved majorly annoying but it at least drowned out all the holiday music that’s been inundating my every shopping experience.

That Sammy-supported color was only one of the Benz’s high-points, another apparently being its $29,900 price. That, and the car overall, took home a decent 61 percent Nice Price win.


Belated happy Winter Solstice fellow Paganettes. Last Friday did represent the shortest day of the year here in the Northern (or as I like to call it, the More-than) Hemisphere, and that’s a day for festivities, feasts, and maybe even a nog or two.

That’s all done for another year, but tomorrow is Christmas, a holiday with many traditions borrowed from the Northern European Pagan Yule celebration, but one that still comes a few days late.

I always figured that Christmas came when it did so that people could take advantage of the big after-Yule sales that obviously took place in olden days. They had Target back then, right?

Illustration for article titled At $4,300, Could This 2003 Subaru Baja be the Perfect Last Minute Gift?

If you’re looking for a gift for someone, or maybe even the opportunity to treat yourself this holiday season, you might want to look no further than this 2003 Subaru Baja car/truck/wagon.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the Baja since fewer than 30,000 were sold over its brief four and half year model run. The Baja was based on the Legacy/Outback wagon, but with the out-back portion of the roof lopped off and replaced with a 40-inch long pickup bed. It was Subaru’s first open bed vehicle since the end of production of the beloved Brat. It did not however, include jump seats in the bed as the Brat did, likely because Subaru’s lawyers had savvied up in the intervening years.

Illustration for article titled At $4,300, Could This 2003 Subaru Baja be the Perfect Last Minute Gift?

Unlike the seemingly similar Chevy Avalanche which offered a collapsable gate at the front of its bed to extend its load capability into the cabin, the Baja just had a small pass-through under the back glass. On the plus side, the Baja did offer an optional fold-out fence that extended cargo space to above the lowered tail gate, as well as an articulating license plate holder in back that would fold down when the gate was lowered.


This 2003 doesn’t seem to have the fence, but it does have a more recent 2.5-litre engine and five-speed transmission. Those are said to have 80K on them, while the rest of the car apparently rocks more than that, although the total is not provided.

Illustration for article titled At $4,300, Could This 2003 Subaru Baja be the Perfect Last Minute Gift?

It comes in Garnet Red over silver cladding with a grey cloth interior. Aesthetically, the car seems to be in decent shape, with some typical scratches and chips owed to its age. You’ll know it’s clean however, seeing as all the ad’s pictures were taken in a car wash. Seats and carpet seem to be in fine fettle, although in need of further attention with a vacuum and maybe some upholstery cleaner.

Tires are said to be good and the replacement motor is said to have new timing gear and related ancillaries. The car is claimed to ‘drive and run excellent’ while the engine is ‘extremely smooth and transmission shifts perfect.’


That engine makes a modest 165 horsepower. The turbo edition makes a good bit more, but then that also costs a ton more in today’s market. In fact, the Baja as a model seems to have some sort of cult following based on prices being asked. I know that Subaru has the best loyalty in the business—I mean, I’ve seen the ads—but the Baja seems to be a cult within a cult.

This one asks $4,500, and comes with a clear title and apparently no major issues. It has that replacement drivetrain too, which probably has a story behind it. However, the hour is getting late and we need to vote on that price before we settle our brains for a long winter’s nap.


What do you think, is this Baja worth that $4,500 asking? Or, does that price have you exclaiming Baja-umbug?

You decide!


Denver, CO Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`



I want to weld the rear doors shut, move the firewall forward and drive the 5-speed big BRAT of my dreams.