2023 Volkswagen Amarok Is The Ford Ranger Rival We Want But Can't Have

Reveal / 11 Comments

This is a truck we'd happily park on a red carpet.

The Volkswagen Amarok is another of those vehicles that America misses out on. But that pill is not so hard to swallow in 2022, as the Ford Ranger will be a very similar vehicle. Because of their shared underpinnings and the fact that Volkswagen wants to bring a pickup to our shores, we've been keeping a close eye on the German truck as it has edged closer and closer to a public unveiling. With special headlights and an attractive design being teased, we've been eager to see the completed product, and now that Volkswagen has revealed the new Amarok, we can see that our excitement was not unfounded.

Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

The new pickup will launch with numerous trims: Amarok, Life, Style, PanAmericana, and Aventura. Style and higher trims will feature IQ.Light, VW's LED matrix headlights. Depending on which model you have, the front fascia will have either a 'horizontal' design or - in the case of the PanAmericana and Aventura - an X-shaped design. Above the number plate is an embossed 'Amarok' script. Carrying over from the previous-generation Amarok is the unusual wheel arch shape similar to that of the VW Atlas, with these housing wheels from 16 inches to as big as 21 inches. At the back, the tailgate is again embossed with the word 'Amarok' with C-shaped taillights again boasting LED technology if you've specced the PanAmericana or Aventura trim.

Eight colors will be offered: Clear White or metallic finishes like Midnight Black, Bright Blue, Light Grey, Deep Red, Dark Grey, Bright Beige, and Mid Blue.

Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

Measuring 210.63 inches in length, the new Amarok grows by 3.78 inches. The wheelbase has also grown, reaching 128.74 inches, an increase of 6.81 inches. Because the wheelbase has grown more than the body has, the overhangs are now shorter, giving the pickup more attractive proportions and an improved approach angle. Speaking of off-roading ability, water fording depth has increased from 19.69 inches to 31.5 inches.

The new pickup will be available as both a two-door SingleCab model and a four-door DoubleCab. The SingleCab is naturally more practical with a longer load bin that can carry two pallets loaded in sideways. The cargo bed features eye rings and can handle up to 1,102 pounds. Maximum payload has increased from a tonne to 1.16 tonnes (2,557 lbs). An electronically operated roll cover - borrowed from the Ranger - further enhances the truck's appeal.

Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

Inside, the cabin boasts an eight-inch driver info display as standard with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment display in portrait orientation. On the Style and higher trims, the Digital Cockpit with its 12-inch driver cluster is included alongside a 12-inch infotainment display. With a mix of touch controls, physical buttons, and rotary dials, we expect this cabin to be excellent from an ergonomics standpoint. Aluminum trims are added to some models too, elevating the luxury feel. In addition, PanAmericana and Aventura trims get a Harman Kardon sound system exclusive to the Amarok. These trims also get a leather-look instrument panel with contrast stitching. New electronically adjustable seats enhance comfort, with the Style variant getting ArtVelours covers and the PanAmericana model using high-quality leather.

Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

The roof has a load capacity of 771.62 lbs, which means you can add a roof tent as an accessory. Other accessories include a bike holder, a multifunction carrier system, a manual roll cover, and various styling bars. A bull bar, skid plates, all-terrain running gear, and a snorkel can also be equipped to maximize capability.

Four turbodiesel engines will be offered, along with one turbocharged gasoline engine. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder is the base engine, offering 147 horsepower. An uprated 2.0 TDI offers 167 hp. Then there is the bi-turbo 2.0-liter diesel four-pot, which offers 201 hp. Finally, we have the 3.0-liter V6 turbo, which generates either 237 or 247 hp, depending on the market. The only gasoline engine is a 2.3-liter turbo-four - essentially the same Ford motor found in the current-gen Ranger - which produces an impressive 298 hp. A new 10-speed auto is offered, but a six-speed auto and manual five- and six-speed gearboxes will also be available. Depending on the market, selectable all-wheel drive or permanent all-wheel-drive 4Motion systems are available. The Amarok will be able to tow up to 7,716 lbs.

Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

As for safety equipment, you can have adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist with lane centering, a rearview camera, and a front assist surround monitor. Blind-spot monitoring with lane change assistance is also on offer, as are parking sensors at each end of the vehicle. When the going gets tough, six different driving modes are available, depending on the trim. These are Normal, Eco, Slippery, Snow/Sand, Mud/Rut, and Tow/Haul.

The new Amarok looks like a great all-rounder, and we sincerely hope that the US-spec Ranger is just as impressive. That vehicle should arrive later this year as a 2023 model. While there are no plans to bring the Amarok to the US just yet, its Ford underpinnings open the door for VW to do so at a later date. What do you think, should VW enter the US pickup market?

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Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

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