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Old 03-12-2004, 07:59 AM   #1
Frank Zuccarini
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Default Baja Reliability, according to CU

Just got my April Car-Buyer's issue of Consumer Reports, and I was surprised and disappointed to find that they had found the first year reliablily of the Baja to be "worse than average".

I always take CR's reports with a grain of salt, but they have always loved Subaru in the past. Still do, except for the Baja.

In scrutinizing the Baja "reliability history", this model was found to be below average in the following areas: Electrical, Air Conditioning, Brakes, Body Integrity, and Power Equipment.

I plan on buying a Baja Turbo in May, and this report has shaken my confidence a bit. Does anyone in this forum have any insight as to why the Baja would be less reliable than the other Legacy models upon which it is based?

Thanks for any and all comments.............Frank
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Old 03-12-2004, 10:43 AM   #2
dbowers30
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Member#: 57148
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: New Jersey
Vehicle:
2003 Baja
Silver

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Hey there,

I'm new to this forum, as I just bought my Baja in January.

I work in a company that has dealings with CR, and it's a hit-and-miss affair sometimes.

I've got no idea why the Baja would score less than something like a Legacy Outback, since they are nearly identical. However, I'm still learning, so I could be completely wrong.

All I know is that I love my Baja. First Subaru I've ever owned, and it's going to make a repeat customer out of me.

-Don
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Old 03-12-2004, 01:31 PM   #3
SouthShoreBaja
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Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: out in left field
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2006 2.5RS
Aspen White

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If you look around on this forum, there's a good amount of discussion on the brake situation. Personally, i've had mine since January '03 and haven't had a similar occurence as of yet. You can't blame everything on driver inexperience so i'd guess there's some truth to their concerns.

As far as your question vis a vis the regular Legacy line, one of the things you cite the report pointing out was body integrity. This is the only area that differs from the regular Legacy line, so perhaps they found something is less reliable overtime to do with the moldings or the bed.
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Old 03-12-2004, 03:18 PM   #4
BajaNut
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leggtnut on lgt.com

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CR came out with the same results about a year ago on the '03s and there was a discussion at lenght about that. They stated the exact same thing. I bet that they just copied and pasted the article in the new issue and didn't bother to check if the Baja is actually got the same issues. I have found that CR is sometimes BS because they sometimes rush their findings. I did some research and I have found that they said the exact same things about the old El Cimano (sp). So What I have knoticed that they tend to enphisise the negitive when the reviewer doesn't personally like the model. Just trends that I have knoticed with CR and other reviewers. Normally I tell people to sverly take it with a grain of salt. This is, normally, one persons opinions and not always facts. When my mom bought her Ford Escape, the reviewer in CR gave it high ranks and didn't mention anything about the known issues, which were abundant, when the article was written. They said that it was one of the best small SUV's out. Even though tere were about 5 major recalls on it at release. sorry for the long rambeling, just my .02 worth.
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Old 03-12-2004, 05:03 PM   #5
cadillacjake
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2004 Baja Turbo
Black Granite Pearl

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This was based solely on the '03 model year, which yes, seems to have been plagued by numerous reports of brake failure. I haven't heard of the ABS problem in an '04 yet, but would love to know if it's happened. Yes, I'd say that C/R has written kind of a bogus note on the car here, but then again, all of their cars reviewed that were in their freshman year scored poorly, except for anything made by Toyota, who C/R has always doted on.
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Old 03-12-2004, 05:56 PM   #6
hatake
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Member#: 34811
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Denver
Vehicle:
04 Baja T
Black

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My rear door weather strip popped right out for no reason. The dealer replaced it right there. So far this is the only issue I've had with this car since December. No rattles yet. I remember my old Impreza had rattled right off the dealer parking lot. And that was made in Japan... Also this imp driver's side window fell off from the railing about a year into it. I was like and the dealer charged me to fix that as "usual wear and tear..." I'll keep an eye on them
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Old 03-12-2004, 09:04 PM   #7
mollyb916
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Location: San Diego, Ca
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2003 Baja
Silver

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We purchased our Baja in Nov. '03 and have had nothing but good luck with it. In fact we're so impressed with it we are going to purchase the '05 outback when they become available.
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Old 03-12-2004, 09:08 PM   #8
cadillacjake
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Crestview, FL
Vehicle:
2004 Baja Turbo
Black Granite Pearl

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I like this, I'm seeing more and more new names popping in here. Welcome all!!!
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Old 03-13-2004, 09:16 AM   #9
Frank Zuccarini
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Thank-you, everyone, for sharing your experiences and opinions.

I've subscribed to CR continuously since I was 16 (I'm 50 now), but like said at the onset, I take everything they say with a grain of salt. I know that they often have a bias and, even when they don't, their reviewers often care more about way different things than I do.

Anyway, thanks to all your help, I'm convinced that CR is way off base here regarding reliablity. In fact, they loved the car, but downgraded it because of first year reliability issues, which were likely exaggerated because of the extremely small number of vehicles in the sampling. It seems the the only bone fide reliability issue revolves around the ABS, and I hope that Subaru has this resolved for the 04's. Even if they haven't, I'm commited to a Baja Turbo in May. I'm selling a Ford Ranger pickup to buy the Baja, and it should complement my wife's Forester XT very nicely.

I'm disappointed by the lack of community for this neat car/truck, but it sells in extremely small numbers. Does anyone know if there is another forum at which people share their love of the Baja?

Again, thank-you......................Frank
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Old 03-13-2004, 11:26 AM   #10
cadillacjake
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Member#: 49969
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Crestview, FL
Vehicle:
2004 Baja Turbo
Black Granite Pearl

Cool Another Baja Forum

Here's another good site that's growing in popularity:
Subaru Outback.org's Baja Site
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Old 03-13-2004, 07:22 PM   #11
Samirr76
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Fl33tw00d, PA
Vehicle:
2003 Baja 5MT
Yellow w/ 220,000 miles

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My wife has over 20k miles on her 03 Baja without a single problem. It runs as smooth and quiet as the day we bought it. I dont know what Consumer Reports is smoking

Oh and ours was a very early production model.
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Old 03-14-2004, 12:52 AM   #12
BajaNut
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2014 Outback SAP
leggtnut on lgt.com

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I just stopped by the store today and read the article in the CR and I think that it is verbadium the exact same one that they did for the 03's. So I don't think that they even re-tested.

Also, On a brighter note, the JD Power mag rated it as the best small pickup. It was a far, but extreamly short review and states some of the things that people have complained about. The 2 cons were the cabin was a little smaller than expected and the stiff ride. Both of with I haven't knoticed for myself.

Ben

Last edited by BajaNut; 03-14-2004 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 03-14-2004, 11:56 AM   #13
Samirr76
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Fl33tw00d, PA
Vehicle:
2003 Baja 5MT
Yellow w/ 220,000 miles

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Stiff ride????????????????

Have they driven a WRX??

Have they driven other pickup trucks?? Drive a Nissan Frontier Crew Cab or a an Exploder Sport Crack and tell me how your ass feels copared to the Baja!
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Old 03-14-2004, 12:02 PM   #14
BajaNut
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leggtnut on lgt.com

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Quote:
Originally posted by Samirr76
Stiff ride????????????????

Have they driven a WRX??

Have they driven other pickup trucks?? Drive a Nissan Frontier Crew Cab or a an Exploder Sport Crack and tell me how your ass feels copared to the Baja!
I second that. I test drove both of those before I bought mine. Talk about buck boards.
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Old 03-14-2004, 04:48 PM   #15
cadillacjake
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Crestview, FL
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2004 Baja Turbo
Black Granite Pearl

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Agreed, if they're going to compare this to other compact pickups, then this HAS to have the best mannered suspension for street use and light hauling out of the lot. Okay, so you sacrifice payload weight, but this isn't for the contractor crowd. More like the weekend at Home Depot group who's hauling a few cases of tile home.
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Old 03-14-2004, 06:43 PM   #16
BajaNut
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Join Date: May 2003
Chapter/Region: BAIC
Location: Kirkland, WA
Vehicle:
2014 Outback SAP
leggtnut on lgt.com

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not to mention the Costco runs that it is just easier to though it into the bed of my baja instead of the back of my wife's forester.
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Old 03-18-2004, 09:37 PM   #17
ez bturbo
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2004 baja turbo 5spd
black/dark gray

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I think my baja is among the smoothest rides Ive ever had. Its great for crusing on the highway, fine for around town. The only problem I have is that if you are on fairly uneven ground, and there are numerous small bumps, the spring rate seems a bit slow maybe, because it seems to bounce you around a lot more than other driving conditions might indicate.

CR is a good source, but I would not really just on that. There are plenty of other ratings/reviews out there, and often they do not agree with CR.
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Old 03-27-2004, 09:03 PM   #18
gstien
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2003 Baja
Maroon

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Okay, so I have only had mine 3 months and 5,000 miles...LOL, but I don't agree with CR. Stiff ride? I just got back from an 11 hour 700 mile trip, and stiff ride was not an issue! In fact, my father in law took a spin in the car, and said it rides as good as his 95 town car. Take that CR! I did notice a whistle in the drivers window at 80-85mph, but that's to be expected. The doors have no tops to them, it will whistle on occasion. I too will be a repeat buyer based on my short experience with the baja. I have owned 11 cars, and this is by far the best one (excluding my street rod) LOL. It handles great, gets good gas mileage, and no complaints from my wife or the dog (on the trip)....I would say it's a great car if only for those 2 reasons!
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Old 03-30-2004, 08:44 PM   #19
BajaGirl
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Default

I love the smooth ride. I have an 03 Baja (I ordered it the day that they came out at the dealers!) Anyways, I found it to have an incredibly smooth ride, and the engine is quiet which is great for my long trips to Minnesota from New Jersey. I found the handling to be great and I have got through some sticky situations fairly easily and safely.
I haven't had any problems with my body work, electrical system, or anything else.

You'll enjoy it!

The Baja rules!!!
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Old 09-13-2004, 08:25 PM   #20
plunk10
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2004 :derp:

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Bump for reliability updates. I'm seriously considering a trade-up
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Old 09-13-2004, 09:41 PM   #21
ajabobrut
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Member#: 56726
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Cantonment,FL
Vehicle:
2004 Baja Turbo
Regatta Red Pearl

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I had no problems with my 03,it was so smooth you could'nt tell it was running.As for my 04,i wish it idled as smooth as the 03.I fill like the 03 was better built than the 04.I 've been having some LF window and door problems.
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Old 09-13-2004, 11:34 PM   #22
gstien
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Member#: 56771
Join Date: Mar 2004
Vehicle:
2003 Baja
Maroon

Default Reliability

The only problem I have had with the car, is that mine attracts accidents.
I have had 2 people hit me since buying the car in Dec. The most recent one (6 weeks ago) was my own Niece! Backed into the front passenger door. Working out the window adjustment has been sort of a problem, but it's not a big deal. The glass shifted upon impact. When a Yukon meets a Baja, that's what happens.
The clutch causes the car to jerk in humid weather, but other than that I have no mechanical complaints.
The initial quality was good. It had a few defects when I got the car, but the dealer replaced/fixed them with no problem.
As a fleet manager (over a fleet of 110 cars), I can honestly say this is a good quality car for the money. I am still trying to figure out how to incorporate a few Bajas into the fleet. I certainly won't be putting Dodge or GM back into the fleet. I have enough of those and I spend more time patching both brands up.
Should have bought Subies....if they will let me!
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Old 09-14-2004, 12:00 AM   #23
BajaNut
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2014 Outback SAP
leggtnut on lgt.com

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gstien,
This might help with the battel to add baja's to your fleet:
I found this in a back issue of Subaru Drive magizne
http://www.drive.subaru.com/SubaruDr...rTurnSum02.asp
Quote:
Don't Let This One Sneak Up On You

I am writing to you from a small police department in eastern Washington state that serves a town of 2,800 people. The police chief, another officer, our city administrator and I own Subaru vehicles. Several years ago we started kicking around the idea of turning a Subaru into a fully functional patrol car. The city leaders were skeptical, but we persisted, and this year we outfitted an Outback Sedan with standard police equipment including lights, siren, radio and a comfortable back seat area for those “special folks” for whom we provide transportation. We think that this may be a one-of-a-kind vehicle in the U.S. It is sure to turn some heads as well as sneak up on some bad guys.

David J. Szambelan
Asst. Chief of Police
Colfax, Washington
I have seen this one in person. It definatally got a double take and I know some people that have been pulled over by this officer and they ccouldn't believe the handeling the thing had in the snow and ice.

Ben
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