SUMMARY: The Subaru Baja is more than a car, but it's not really a pickup or traditional SUV. It essentially a vehicle that will predictably offer an appeal that draws no lines in the sand where gender and age are concerned.
Following extensive on road and off-pavement exercises which included an obstacle course and ground clearance demonstration, my personal preference leaned to the 5-speed manual transmission model, simply because the power delivery was deemed more responsive -- the automatic transmission model seemed short on acceleration with the four banger motor. Admittedly, it will be just fine for many buyers, but it wouldn't be a disappointment to learn that Subaru planned to shoehorn in their 3.0 liter 6-cylinder boxer motor coupled to their Sportshift automatic transmission.
Ride quality and handling characteristics on the other hand, are not lacking at all. The Baja is both comfortable and agile, on or off the pavement. It may well be the ideal vehicle to satisfactorily address the broadest range of lifestyle endeavors regardless of age or gender.
The Baja is extremely attractive, and while not arousing every observer's emotions, it is definitely a cool ride that delivers a higher than average level of functionality. The Baja is decidedly for those who want to "Go outside and play".