Volkswagen has drawn up battle plans to make the new Amarok the must-have ute of 2023.
Based on the new Ford Ranger, the new Amarok represents a significant leap beyond the previous model.
It shares core underpinnings and diesel engines with the Ranger, as well as new safety features including auto emergency braking, active cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.
Volkswagen’s best-selling model is also likely to share the Ford’s 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel engine, a motor that sends 184kW and 600Nm to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission.
But it won’t get the 292kW/283Nm petrol V6 exclusively offered in Ford’s Ranger Raptor.
Ford elected not to offer the Australian Ranger with a 2.3-litre turbo petrol motor found in some Amarok models, one that delivers 222kW and 452Nm of performance.
But the cars are not identical.
VW’s machine wears butch styling shaped by a Melbourne-based design team.
It has the same core interior as the Ranger, though high-end Amarok models have fancier 10-way electric seat adjustment than the Ranger’s eight-way chairs.
And Volkswagen’s 12-inch digital dashboard display is larger than the 8-inch readouts fitted as standard to the Ranger.
Top-grade Amarok variants ride on 21-inch wheels that are significantly larger than the 18-inch rims of a Ranger Wildtrak, which could return more car-like precision from a steering wheel shared with VW’s passenger cars.
VW says the new machine, built in South Africa as opposed to the Thailand-sourced Ranger, benefits from shorter and more frequent shipping routes than the older model, which came from Argentina.
That “ensures steadier supply”, according to Volkswagen.
But it will also mean the Amarok is subject to a 5 per cent vehicle import tariff that does not apply to the Thai-built Ranger, a factor likely to make the VW more expensive than its Blue Oval cousin.
VW will reveal prices for the Amarok closer to its official debut in the first quarter of 2023.