Volkswagen has finally unveiled the all-new Amarok bakkie, which replaces the previous-generation model that is actually still on sale here in Mzansi. The new vehicle will be available from dealerships countrywide as of the first quarter of 2023. As one might probably know by now, the Amarok shares its underpinnings – platform, some engines and some body parts – with the new Ford Ranger. In fact, the Amarok and Ranger are manufactured right alongside each other at Ford’s plant in Silverton, Tshwane.

Designed in Germany and Australia, the new Amarok is said to be a fulfilment of customer feedback from the current model. Some of the features and characteristics have been retained, such as the bold face, large rear load box that can absorb a Euro pallet, and upmarket interior.  The Amarok is 5.3 metres long – longer than the BMW X7 – and has a 3.27m wheelbase. Depending on the market, it will also be offered in single cab configuration.

Volkswagen designers really went to town with the front end, drawing big LED headlights and daytime running lights, a big VW grille with the badge on, and an X-shaped lower front grille.

Side profile shows more size, with wide wheel arches, a raised suspension, longer inside cabin for better passenger legroom, roof rails that help the roof to handle up to 350kg of load, some side steps and wheels from 16 to 21-inches in diameter. An electrically operated roll cover is new for Amarok. Volkswagen says the car has an 800mm wading depth, as well as better approach and departure angles than before.

At the rear we see C-shaped LED tail lights, a strong bumper, tow bar in some models, and embossed AMAROK lettering on the door. Volkswagen executive were at pains to explain that of the items we can see and touch outside the car, only the side mirrors, roof rails and door handles are common with the Ranger.

Inside we see a largely premium interior for the top PanAmericana and Aventura double cab range, 25.4cm to 30.5cm infotainment touch screen at the centre console, VW’s Digital Cockpit display, as well as physical switches and buttons to augment the touch screen. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is controlled by these buttons as an example. The Amarok is also just about as connected as any new Volkswagen product.

For the Amarok, Volkswagen will be offering customers a choice of four turbo diesel and one turbo petrol engine. We don’t yet have any information as to how many of these will make their way to Mzansi though.

The baseline 2.0-litre TDI (110kW) is confirmed for Mzansi, while the 125kW TDI and 150kW TDI biturbo are under consideration. At the top of the diesel chain is a 184kW, 600Nm V6. The petrol model is powered by a 2.3-litre turbo (sourced from Ford) making 222kW. However, for Mzansi it would be detuned to 199kW.

Again, depending on the markets and models, Amarok will be offered with 5-speed manual, 6-speed automatic or 10-speed automatic. Some models don’t have 4Motion AWD either, and will rely on rear-wheel-drive.

The new Volkswagen Amarok looks great and offers plenty. The local outfit will have its hands full pricing it though in these times of Chinese competitors and high input costs. That it is manufactured in this country should go a long way towards mitigating these.

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