The all-new model is bigger, has more than 20 driving assistance systems, comes with a range of diesel engines and even has the prospect of going electric in the future.
This second-generation Amarok is no longer limited to VW’s own architecture and was co-developed alongside the new Ford Ranger. This means that there are several elements that are all-new to the Amarok, but might not be bespoke to the VW. This includes the 10-speed automatic gearbox and the engines.
It will also come in both single-cab and double-cab versions, although it’s likely we will only see the latter in the UK. There will also be more than one four-wheel-drive system available and a six-speed manual gearbox to go alongside the auto.
Still recognisably an Amarok
Given the boxy look of a pickup, there is only so much that any designer can do with the styling, so most of the updates are centred around the front and rear end of the Amarok. The front gets a lot of the horizontal details that are familiar to the brand’s passenger cars, while there is a new LED headlight design as standard.
Higher-end models will get a so-called ‘IQ-Light,’ which will come with features such as automatic dipping in the presence of oncoming traffic, street lights or traffic lights. It also has a cornering function.
The front end on more generously equipped models also features a X-shaped design while ‘Amarok’ is embossed over the number plate. In case you forget which truck you are looking at by the time you walk around to the back end, there is another reminder on the tailgate, where the name is embossed again in large letters.
Function meets quality inside
Inside, VW has given the Amarok a raft of high-quality features, including the Digital Cockpit that appear on several of the brand’s passenger cars. This comes in the form of an 8- or 10-inch digital display in the place of a traditional instrument cluster.
In the centre of the dash sits a tablet-style, portrait-orientated touchscreen. The good news is that the new Amarok actually has some buttons, rather than placing all of its interior controls into touch-sensitive panels or integrating them into the infotainment screen. Something Volkswagen has been criticised for doing with its cars in recent years.
It perhaps helps that the second-generation Amarok is based on the new Ford Ranger, rather than being limited to VW’s own architecture. The buttons and switches give physical control over features such as the air-conditioning and the on- and off-road driving modes. They have been included as a result of feedback from customers, so there is a chance that this might filter through to other vehicles too.
Larger and stronger
The new Amarok is larger on the outside – it has 173mm more space between the axles and is 96mm longer overall. This translates to more space in the cabin rather than in the loading bay, though. The latter is actually 11mm shorter than before at 1,544mm and 14mm narrower at 1,206mm.
It is, however, capable of carrying two Euro pallets and has a higher potential payload – that is up to 1.16 tonnes in some versions. There is another welcome boost to the towing ability, too – all versions can haul up to 3.5 tonnes.
What are the engine choices?
Globally there will be one petrol and four diesel engines in the 2022 VW Amarok. There will be three four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesels and a 3.0-litre V6. Although there will be a petrol, it isn’t likely to come to the UK any time soon.
These four-cylinder units will consist of a 150hp model (that also won’t come to the UK) a 170hp version and a 204hp bi-turbo with 500Nm of torque.
The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual unit, although the 241hp 3.0-litre V6 diesel comes with a 10-speed automatic ‘box that will be optional elsewhere.
Interestingly, VW says that the Amarok has been created with electric in mind. Although it is not part of the original plan, it is feasible that we will see an EV version of the Amarok in the future. As VW is planning for the Amarok to be on sale for over a decade, this could well be necessary as the years go by.
At the IAA, Carsten Intra, VW Commercial Vehicles CEO, said that going electric is something that has yet to be decided. However, he confirmed that: ‘The platform is able to provide a plug-in hybrid as well as a BEV.’
However, it is likely to be markets other than the UK that are ultimately the deciding factor. While there is a big push for EV in Europe, the Amarok is set to be sold widely in markets such as Africa, Australia and the Middle East, where the needs are totally different.
The question is the business case, says Intra. ‘If the markets are ready, we will do it,’ he explains. ‘The popcorn is starting to pop all over the world and you can see it with the Ford F-150 Lightning, you can see with the Rivians and the Hummers and everything in the US. Most probably we are going to be successful with the business case so we are quite positive.’
In Europe, the Amarok will come with four-wheel drive as standard. There are two systems, with one offering permanent four-wheel drive and the other a variable system. The fording depth has been increased, too – it is up to 800mm from 500mm before.
What equipment will it come with?
As mentioned the body is 10 centimetres (cm) longer, though 17.5cm have been found in between the axles. The longer wheelbase translates to a more spacious double cab. Volkwagen has confirmed this will mean wide comfortable seats at the front, with equally comfortable spaciousness in the rear. Five trim levels have been confirmed too. These range from the entry-level Amarok, via ‘Life’ and ‘Style’, up to the off-roading ‘PanAmericana’ and the ‘on-roading’ Aventura.
In addition to the 10-inch touchscreen, base versions will get adaptive cruise control, dynamic road sign display, intelligent speed assist, lane assist, rear view reversing camera and front assist surrounding area monitoring system. It also gets rear parking sensors.
Life gets LED front fog lights, body-coloured bumpers, 17-inch alloys, and heated door mirrors with downward-facing lights. It also gets more adjustment for the driver’s seat, a leather steering wheel, and tinted rear windows. Front parking sensors, rain sensor, an upgraded sound system are also included. Style adds kit such as the new IQ.Light system, the larger screens and wireless phone charging.
PanAmerica gets the following:
- Bespoke front bumper design
- LED rear lights
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Electronically adjusted front seats
- Soft-touch faux leather on the dashboard
- Harmon Kardon sound system with eight speakers
- Adaptive cruise control with intelligent speed assist and park assist
- 360-degree camera
- Mechanical differential lock
Aventura comes with
- 20-inch alloy wheels
- Bespoke front bumper design
- LED rear lights
- Chrome exterior details on the door mirrors and handles and rear bumper
- Sports bar
- Soft-touch faux leather on the dashboard
Safety systems feature pretty strongly, with more than 20 that are new to the Amarok. These include an adaptive cruise control system that can read road signs and control the speed as a result.
When does the new Amarok go on sale?
Production has started in South Africa and the Amarok is set to go on sale at the start of next year.
It is still too early to speculate about pricing.
How similar are the 2022 Amarok and next Ranger?
Since announcing their strategic alliance – codenamed Project Cyclone, no less – Ford and Volkswagen have made no secret of their plans to share costs on production and development of their next generation of commercial vehicles.
There have been Volkswagen teams embedded at Ford’s commercial vehicle headquarters at Dunton in Essex for some time now, working alongside the Blue Oval on the design development of the new products the two van giants will be building together – and this is also the case in other areas where the new commercial vehicles will be built.
Ford is leading development on the new pickup, and this is largely taking place in Australia. Ford will also build both the Ranger and the Amarok in its factory in South Africa.
However, VW Commercial Vehicle CEO, Carsten Intra, is promising that the Amarok will be a ‘genuine Volkswagen’ and will be quite distinct from the new Ranger.
‘It’s not just going to be a fantastic pickup,’ he said. ‘It’s going to be a genuine Volkswagen too – with clear DNA in both technology and design.’
Will there be a high-performance Amarok R to rival the Ranger Raptor?
It seems as though VW hasn’t totally ruled out creating a sportier Amarok, but it is not leaning towards a direct equivalent to the Ranger Raptor. Instead it is going to push its inherent sportiness and the premium nature of its higher-end trims.
At the IAA, Lars Krause, VW van sales and marketing boss, pointed to the range-topping Panamerica version but said that an Amarok R would need to make a clear business case. At the moment it isn’t part of the plans, although an Amarok R might actually be easier to adapt from the standard vehicle – so we wouldn’t rule it out. The current Raptor is very highly modified compared with a regular Ranger.
There is also the possibility of a lower-spec Amarok for those that want one. Previously the models have all been quite high-end, but it is possible for one to come with a lesser trim
What happened to the original Amarok?
As we were one of the first media outlets to report, production of the previous Amarok stopped in May 2020, so that VW could begin preparing the factory to build the new ID Buzz electric van.