The Volkswagen Amarok range will get a significant boost in the middle of next year when the eight-speed automatic transmission and single-cab variant go on sale in Australia.
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A 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine is also expected to join the Amarok range in 2012, although Volkswagen Australia spokesman Karl Gehling said he could not confirm the availability or timing of the engine at this stage.

The automatic Amarok TDI420 debuted at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, teaming a more powerful 132kW/420Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine with a ZF-developed eight-speed automatic transmission. The transmission is a conventional torque-converter gearbox rather than a dual-clutch semi-automatic unit, which has been Volkswagen’s preference for its passenger cars.

The Amarok TDI420 4MOTION at Frankfurt was equipped with stop/start engine technology, regenerative braking and low rolling resistance tyres, leading to combined cycle fuel consumption of 7.6 litres/100km. The 120kW/400Nm Amarok TDI400 4MOTION six-speed manual currently available in Australia uses 7.9 litres/100km combined.

Sharing the Dual Cab’s overall length and wheelbase, the Amarok Single Cab’s load bed is 650mm longer than the five-seater. With a new length of 2205mm and an unchanged width (1220mm between the wheel arches), the Single Cab has a load area of 3.57 square metres. Volkswagen says it’s large enough to hold two Euro pallets with 600mm of bed space to spare.

Mr Gehling confirmed the Amarok Single Cab would be available in both rear-wheel drive and selectable/permanent 4MOTION all-wheel drive. Volkswagen says the 90kW/340Nm TDI340 rear-wheel drive Single Cab uses 7.2 litres/100km on the combined cycle. The equivalent Dual Cab uses 7.7 litres/100km under Australian standards.

The Amarok Single Cab should maintain the Dual Cab’s high safety record, with electronic stability control and four airbags fitted standard.

The expanded Volkswagen Amarok range will compete against a host of new utes in 2012, including the recently released Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and Toyota HiLux, and the Holden Colorado and Isuzu D-Max, which go on sale in the first half of 2012.