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In terms of its outward appearance, the four-door Baja comes across as a customized version of the Outback, wherein the back has been cut off to form a pickup truck. Design elements that are exclusive to the Baja are: a bolder, broader grille, a stylized fuel filler door inspired by the ST-X concept and a Silver Stone lower body and tailgate cladding with side ground effects. The rear bumper comes with a molded-in step pad for easy bed access and the tailgate features a slick license plate display operation that enables the plate to be seen even when the gate is down -- simply pressing two buttons on either side allows the plate bracket to be positioned in a horizontal mode that becomes vertical when the gate is lowered. Cargo bed sport bars are finished in stainless steel, flanking the CHMSL that appears on the aft edge of the roof. Roof rails and cross bars are standard, finished to match the bed liner color. Door handles are body color as are the dual foldaway-type heated power adjustable outside mirrors. Exterior colors will include Baja Yellow, Black Granite Pearl and Silver Stone metallic -- all over the Silver Stone metallic cladding.

Moving inside, one will appreciate: the perforated leather upholstery with front seat Baja logo embossing; Baja-embroidered floor mats; leather-trimmed black and silver steering wheel and shifter handle; analog gauges with silver trim rings; illuminated ignition switch ring; map lights; power door locks, moonroof and windows; rear bulkhead storage area and seat-back net storage pockets; rear seat console box with a lid; and oh, so much more. The AM/FM stereo, single in-dash CD player and air conditioning are all standard as well. You'll find tinted dark smoke rear door and rear window glass along with UV tinted green front door glass. Illuminated visor vanity mirrors with lids are provided for driver and passenger alike, and there is a keyless entry system.

There will be a host of specialized aftermarket gear for Baja personalization to match an owner's lifestyle activities. And more than likely, a hard tonneau for the bed will become available in the near future. An accessory bike carrier is definitely in the works. According to Mark Darling, Subaru's Marketing VP, "The Baja was designed as an 'In your life' rather than an 'In your face' vehicle." Advertising tag lines include "When you get it, you get it" and "Go outside and play".

Peter Tenn, Product Planning Design Specialist for Subaru of America, Inc. pointed out that the Subaru Switchback™ system was actually individually developed before competitive systems were introduced. Timing and fun-to-drive characteristics, resulting from added structural rigidity were key in the unique system's design. It would not be inappropriate to think of the Baja as a vehicular "Leatherman" tool. Baja production and sales are projected at 2000 per month for the 2003 calendar year.

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