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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

In the metal: Pre-production Volkswagen Amarok revealed

Ford Ranger's locally built twin will have the same engines, but with revisions to the exterior and interior.

Until now only seen in a series of sketches, Volkswagen has officially showcased the second generation Amarok in pre-production form ahead of its world debut later this year.

While still decked-out in comparatively thin layers of black-and-white masking, the Amarok, unsurprisingly, bears a resemblance to its Ford Ranger sibling, but as per comments made two years ago by Wolfsburg’s Commercial Vehicles Head of Design, Albert-Johann Kirzinger, a number of visual differences are indeed present.

As indicated by the series of teaser first released in 2020, followed by a pair last year and two this year, the Amarok boasts standard LED or optional Matrix I.Q LED headlights seemingly identical in design to the current model, a model specific bonnet, new front wings, outer door skins and an X-motif facia.

New VW Amarok pre-production details
Approach, departure and breakover angles likely to be similar to that of the Ranger.

At the rear, the taillights are said to be unique, with the same applying to the Amarok stamped tailgate and the option of up to 21-inch alloy wheels the Ranger doesn’t offer.

Although Volkswagen didn’t disclose any images or details of the interior, a teaser sketch released in December last year showed the same dashboard as the Ranger, but with a Volkswagen specific steering wheel, a redesigned gear lever and apparent absence of the portrait-style twelve-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

“We’ve given the strength and power of the new Amarok an unambiguous expression–with clear Volkswagen DNA, inside and out,” Kirzinger said at the time.

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In addition to the reveal of the prototype, Volkswagen confirmed that several modifications at its behest had gone into the structure of the Amarok, as well as the Ranger, given that both, together with the new Everest, are based on the heavily revised T6 platform, now known as T6.2.

“The new Amarok is a much better pick-up than if Volkswagen had done it alone. The same goes for Ford: without our input, the new Ranger wouldn’t be so good,” Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Marketing Head, Lars Krause, was quoted as saying by Britain’s Autocar.

“The partnership has allowed us to pool our individual strengths. Beyond the business side of things, the product has benefited greatly”.

New VW Amarok pre-production details
Side profile unchanged from the Ranger

Having confirmed last week that the Amarok, which will be built alongside the Ranger and Everest at Ford’s Silverton Plant outside Pretoria instead of the General Pacheco facility in Argentina, will once again be sold only as a double cab with the select market set to receive the returning single cab, Volkswagen also revealed the following:

  • an unchanged towing capacity of 3 500 kg;
  • payload uptake of 350 kg to 1 200 kg depending on the model;
  • four initial trim levels; Life, Style, PanAmericana (off-road-focused) and Aventura (upscale lifestyle similar to the outgoing Extreme);
  • overall length of 5 350 mm (+96 mm)
  • wheelbase of 3 270 mm (+175 mm)
  • height of 1 880 mm (+ two millimetres);
  • width of 1 910 mm (-34 mm)

Underneath the bonnet, the Amarok will drop the current model’s Volkswagen engines for units made by the Blue Oval, which for South Africa will be made at the Straundale Engine Plant in Nelson Mandela Bay following Dearborn’s R600-million investment last year.

New VW Amarok pre-production details
A choice of two all-paw gripping systems will be offered

While certain European markets will get a petrol engine in the shape of the 2.3 EcoBoost the current North American Ranger makes do, the choice of turbodiesel engines will mirror those of the Ranger, which at the bottom end consists of the 2.0 Panther that produces 110kW/350Nm and 125kW/405Nm in single-turbo form, and 155kW/500Nm in bi-turbo guise.

Although a six-speed manual comes as standard on the single turbo derivatives, the Amarok is anticipated to be offered solely with the General Motors co-developed ten-speed automatic gearbox, which the bi-turbo has as standard.

It, therefore, means that the ‘box replaces the eight-speed Tiptronic that has done duty on all but the entry-level model until now.

New VW Amarok pre-production details
Changes at the rear include new light clusters. Image: autocar.co.uk

At the same time, Volkswagen further stated that two all-paw gripping systems will be offered; a conventional part-time four-wheel-drive and a permanent all-wheel-drive with rear-wheel-drive being standard.

The biggest change is however the reserved for the flagship Amarok V6, which eschews the 190kW/580Nm 3.0 TDI for the Ford-made 184kW/600Nm 3.0 V6 sold until last year under the Powerstroke moniker in the F-150.

Despite Ford having admitted to working on a hybrid Ranger, an electrified Amarok won’t be materialising anytime soon, with the same, for now, is true of the much rumoured Amarok R reported last week as having been a seriously considered twin to the Ranger Raptor.

New VW Amarok pre-production details
Recent teaser sketch of the interior.

Supposedly revealing itself in July, the Amarok will make its South African market debut in the first quarter of next year and not in the final half of this year as previously reported.

Expect more details to become available over the coming weeks and months.

Additional information from drive.com.au and carexpert.com.au.