The 2017 Volkswagen Amarok has been photographed undergoing cold weather testing in Sweden ahead of its world reveal around July and expected Australian launch in November this year.
The mid-life Volkswagen Amarok update clearly won’t be bringing any drastic styling changes, though the disguise on the front of the ute indicates a revised bumper/grille/headlight layout.
The cabin will also get a range of updates to bring it up to speed with the class-leaders such as the Ford Ranger.
You can expect this to include new infotainment, with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto to feature, alongside new trims and — potentially — some active safety equipment. Whether it gets much-need rear airbags remains unknown. Here’s hoping.
Some reports are suggesting powertrain tweaks are on the horizon, though we expect them to be minimal at most. The current range uses a small 2.0-litre biturbo-diesel with with either 132kW/420Nm, 132kW/400Nm or 103kW/340Nm depending on tune.
Six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions are available, as are rear- and four-wheel drive configurations.
The Amarok has become an increasingly important car for Volkswagen Australia. It has a roughly 5 per cent share of the 175,000-strong Australian ute market, and is the company’s third top-seller behind the Golf and Polo.
Much of this success is down to its new entry level workhorse variants that target the base Japanese entrants, and appeal to tradies rather than weekend warriors – though half of all sales remain the Highline.
We spoke with Volkswagen Commercials Australia director Carlos Santos recently, who said the company had a little way to go before it attained the tough image and “street cred” of rivals such as the Toyota HiLux, but that it was getting there fast.
“It’s a hard thing to break into, that’s the Aussie ute market,” he said. “That’s why HiLux has been so successful, they’ve hung their hat on “unbreakable” for so many years.
“We still have to build that street cred and create that toughness image, which I’m not sure we’ve quite got yet, and that’s why I still think there’s so much potential… you’ve got to prove yourself.”
As we know, 2015 was the year of the ute. New-generation versions of the Toyota HiLux, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton arrived, as did upgrades for the Ranger and BT-50. The Amarok, though, is largely unchanged since 2011.