- volkswagen's next-gen amarok pickup will be based on the ford ranger.
- vw has shared details about the pickup's upcoming return to europe in 2022 after having discontinued it last year.
- it could even come to the u.s., but it would be hard for it to make a real impact here.
the volkswagen amarok mid-size pickup never made it to the u.s. market, despite this country's penchant for trucks, because it was simply too expensive and too premium. it was a cultlike favorite in europe and south america but discontinued there, too, last year. now vw is starting to talk about the next-generation amarok, which will be based on the ford ranger. it's part of a collaboration that includes a vw caddy–based ford city van and another commercial-vehicle project. the teaser rendering for the next amarok looks tough and cool. and there has been speculation that it could come to the u.s. market.
the amarok was a refined tool that seemed more like a touareg with an open rear bed than a simple truck. in south america and europe, it gained a strong, almost cultlike reputation. but alas, it was yanked from european markets last year.
the end of the amarok in the old world was swift and ugly. as vw is prepping its hannover, germany, production site for evs including the id. buzz and an upcoming d-segment suv, they were planning to import the amarok from argentina. but when a transnational customs and tariffs deal didn't come through (not exactly a surprise, given the glacial speed of such negotiations), vw was left with empty hands; they would have had to mark up the already steep price of the amarok by another 30 percent or so to match the import duties. in typical post-piëch fashion, vw had no plan b. by now, the last units have been snatched up by connaisseurs.
details are still a bit sketchy, but we do know that vw will go for a dual-cab design. the single-cab configuration that served as an entry-level choice for the predecessor will be ditched. it will feature a body-on-frame architecture that is loosely related to the new ford bronco's, and potentially, there could be a vast number of powertrain options. the amarok could draw from ford's parts bin in the form of the 2.3-liter turbo four and possibly even the 2,7-liter turbo v-6. but we also expect to see diesel engines for markets outside the u.s.; ford itself has traditionally used four- and five cylinder turbo-diesels, which could work their way into the amarok.
vw insiders have also hinted at the ultimate powertrain for a mid-size pickup: an updated version of the silky-smooth 3.0-liter v-6 tdi, which is available on the old amarok and on a vast number of upscale vw group cars. current owners would go berserk if they had to downgrade to a clattering four.
carsten intra, head of vw's commercial vehicle division, says that styling and equipment of the new amarok will differ from the ranger. we hope that's also the case regarding the build quality: the last brand-new ranger we tested in europe had flash rust on suspension components when it was delivered, and the overall driving experience was a far cry from the amarok.
the rumor mill on a u.s.-market amarok has been going for a few years. bringing vw into the commercial-vehicle market would be a bold move, but we think it's unlikely. given that it will lose some of its premium qualities in the process of moving to a ford platform, we don't really see the case for bringing it over. vw probably doesn't need its own modern-day mazda b-series, which is a rebadged version of earlier rangers.
and the one item that would really make it interesting to the public, the fantastic v-6 tdi, is unmentionable despite its merits. vw is still way too traumatized by the diesel scandal to even think about bringing a diesel to the u.s. again. but here's a better idea: just import the old amarok to the u.s., as long as you still make it in argentina.