2025 Subaru BRAT Return Gets Featured Unofficially With Quirky Cues and PHEV Oomph

The derogatory term 'spoiled brat' was something that no parent ever wanted to hear – even if they overindulged their children to the point that they started exhibiting behavioral problems. However, if you joined BRAT with Subaru, that was a different thing altogether.
2025 Subaru BRAT rendering by Digimods DESIGN 8 photos
Photo: Digimods DESIGN / YouTube
2025 Subaru BRAT rendering by Digimods DESIGN2025 Subaru BRAT rendering by Digimods DESIGN2025 Subaru BRAT rendering by Digimods DESIGN2025 Subaru BRAT rendering by Digimods DESIGN2025 Subaru BRAT rendering by Digimods DESIGN2025 Subaru BRAT rendering by Digimods DESIGN2025 Subaru BRAT rendering by Digimods DESIGN
Instead, the Subaru BRAT was a light-duty 4WD coupe utility based on the Subaru Leone compact car produced by the Japanese automaker between 1971 and 1994 as a pun on the term lion. The Ute was initially introduced in 1977, and BRAT is an acronym for "Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter," derived from the brand's four-wheel drive station wagon model.

Back then, it closely followed the ethos of coupe utilities such as the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero. It, too, was sold until 1994 and, in various markets, was also known as the Brumby, MV Pickup, or Shifter. Offered with 4WD and the Subaru EA engine, the company's (unspoiled) BRAT featured two generations powered by the 1.6-liter EA71 or 1.8-liter EA81 (the latter, with or without turbo) mills and was always a two-door coupe utility compact truck.

Its successor came in 2002, but the Subaru Baja was something else entirely – a four-passenger, four-door, AWD model produced in the United States at the Lafayette, Indiana factory of Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. It was also heavier and more powerful, thus motivated by the 2.5-liter EJ series of boxer engines. By the way, although the Subaru BRAT was produced until 1994, exports to North America closed in 1987 and only continued in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, or Latin America, while at home in Japan, it was never even offered.

However, the little Ute still had a tremendous impact on fans even to this day. Enough so that its fame has reached the imaginative realm of digital car content creators, and someone dwelling there decided it was time for a CGI revival. Cue Dimas Ramadhan, the virtual automotive artist behind the Digimods DESIGN channel on YouTube, who has recently taken up the task of revealing the return of the Subaru BRAT in a way that might feel entirely quirky or daring, depending on your POV.

More precisely, the pixel master probably mixed his reinvention project with the DNA of the Ford F-150 Lightning zero emissions pickup truck because this digital BRAT revival has the allure (and especially the profile) of a Ford Motor Company product. However, the front and rear are entirely Subaru's – although they, too, feel just as disconnected from reality. That's probably because the author styled the front after the Subaru WRX rather than something larger, such as the Forester compact crossover SUV.

A full-size pickup truck with the front and rear of a sporty AWD compact sedan is not exactly a dream come true, right? However, it's interesting to note that the four-tipped rear with diffuser and sporty exhaust note isn't that bad, at least from a distance. Plus, it would be interesting to see a four-door Subaru pickup truck with something like a PHEV powertrain (it has an outlet at the front, I'm sure you didn't miss that, but also four exhaust tips) try to take a swing at the full-size pickup truck establishment, right? Albeit, not with the profile of a Ford F-150 Lightning, and the front and rear modified from the WRX to fit the hulking context, please!

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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