The new Volkswagen Amarok is expected to have a choice of at least two engines – a twin turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel and a single turbo 3.0-litre V6 diesel – backed by 10-speed automatic transmissions, when it goes on sale in 2022.
While exact timing of the new model is yet to be confirmed, CarAdvice understands the next generation Volkswagen Amarok will arrive approximately six to 12 months after the Ford Ranger on which it is based (artist impression pictured below).
The Ford Ranger will continue to be sourced from Thailand for Australia, while the Volkswagen Amarok will come out of Ford’s factory in South Africa, that location chosen for its proximity to Europe.
Details on the first Volkswagen Amarok jointly developed with Ford are scarce, however CarAdvice understands it will have unique external bodywork and German input into chassis calibrations.
While Ford is effectively building the vehicle for Volkswagen, Germany is heavily involved in the joint project.
It is unclear at this stage if the new Amarok will be able to retain unique Volkswagen details inside the cabin, such as the seats, steering wheel, instrument cluster, infotainment system and sections of the dash and door trims – however there is a precedent in the ute category.
The shared Nissan Navara and the soon-to-be-axed Mercedes X-Class had largely different interiors from the ‘waistline’ up, and unique instrument clusters, infotainment screens and steering wheels. They also had a different 'footprint'; the Mercedes had wider axles.
Another mystery yet to be solved is whether the Volkswagen Amarok will have permanent all-wheel-drive for superior on-road grip – as is the case currently – or if it will adopt the Ford Ranger’s switchable heavy duty four-wheel-drive system that can only be used off-road (and, therefore, must be in two-wheel-drive when driven on-road).
It is also unclear if the next generation Volkswagen Amarok TDV6 will come with four-wheel disc brakes – as the current model does – or adopt rear drum brakes with the majority of utes in the class.
That said, using the Nissan Navara and Mercedes X-Class as a precedent for jointly developed utes, the Mercedes was equipped with disc brakes while the Navara persevered with rear drums.
While the footprint of the 2022 Ford Ranger is larger than before – thanks to a slightly wider track and bigger “dash to axle” ratio which will stretch the wheelbase marginally – it is unclear how this will impact the dimensions of the 2022 Volkswagen Amarok.
While the interior of today’s Volkswagen Amarok could benefit from more rear leg room, the current model has one of the widest cabins in the class – with superior shoulder room – and the widest ute tray.
The current Volkswagen Amarok has the widest gap between the rear wheel arches among its direct rivals.
Most of the current generation utes – including the current Ford Ranger – have a 110cm space between the wheel arches in the ute tub; the current Volkswagen Amarok has a 118cm gap, which is large enough to fit a pallet.
It is also unclear at this stage whether Volkswagen will have input into the shift behaviour of the Ford 10-speed automatic.
Ford has already done a number of calibration updates to the 10-speed auto since it arrived in the current generation Ranger XLT, Wildtrak and Raptor in 2018.
However our testing has shown the Ford 10-speed automatic is still not as smooth, seamless, or as intuitive as other automatic gearboxes, namely the highly regarded ZF unit fitted to the current Volkswagen Amarok TDV6.
At the very least, among the changes, the wading depth of the 2022 Volkswagen Amarok is likely to improve from the current model's 500mm rating to the Ford Ranger's 800mm rating.
In the meantime, both the 2022 Ford Ranger and 2022 Volkswagen Amarok remain under wraps. Indeed, prototypes are yet to be spotted, which is also an indication of how far away they are from showrooms.
However, we are a fair chance to be among the first to see them on local roads – albeit in disguise – given Ford Australia is the “home room” for the next generation utes.