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New SA-built Volkswagen Amarok breaks cover

The new Amarok sports an aggressive X-shaped front apron with narrow LED headlamps. The latter can be upgraded to IQ.light LED matrix units.
The new Amarok sports an aggressive X-shaped front apron with narrow LED headlamps. The latter can be upgraded to IQ.light LED matrix units.
Image: Supplied

After what seems like years of sketches and teasers and other assorted social media clues, Volkswagen has finally premiered its new second-generation Amarok pickup.

Though it might share its underpinnings with the new Ford Ranger that broke cover at the end of 2021, Amarok version 2.0 differentiates itself from the Blue Oval's offering with an X-shaped front apron, a pair of narrow horizontal LED headlamps, restyled wheel arch guards and a range of unique alloy wheels measuring up to 21-inches in size. At the rear you'll find C-shaped taillamp clusters and “Amarok” lettering stamped on the tailgate. 

As reported before by TimesLIVE Motoring the second-generation Amarok is larger than the outgoing model. Measuring 5,350mm from nose to tail, it's exactly 96mm longer than its predecessor and features a wheelbase extended by 173mm — a modification that will offer front and rear passengers more interior space. At the same time Volkswagen has shortened the front and rear overhangs — a design tweak that not only gives the vehicle a more sporty look but also improves its off-road capability. As before, Volkswagen will be offering the Amarok in both single- and more lifestyle orientated double-cab body styles.

Impressive off-roading ability appears to be an Amarok strong suit with the new model benefiting from a rugged body-on-frame architecture with independent coil-sprung suspension up front and a live axle with leaf springs arrangement at the rear. As with its Ford-badged cousin, the latter has been recalibrated to deliver a more comfortable ride. The bakkie's wading depth now measures an impressive 800mm (+300mm) while increased axle-articulation also does much to improve the Amarok's trail-slaying cause.

From launch customers will have the option of speccing the firm's latest 4Motion all-wheel drive that again, depending on the market, is available in two flavours: permanent or selectable that allows you to toggle through four modes (2H, 4 Automatic, 4H and 4L).

This trail-busting hardware is further bolstered by an electronic differential lock as well as Volkswagen's proprietary Driver Profile Selection software that here offers no less than six preset modes preprogrammed to help you better conquer a wide variety of challenging off-road terrains. Customers will also be able to fit numerous overlanding accessories such as a bull bar, various underbody protection elements, all-terrain running gear, eye rings for hauling and an engine snorkel for tackling particularly deep channels of water. 

The new Amarok is longer and more spacious than its predecessor.
The new Amarok is longer and more spacious than its predecessor.
Image: Supplied

On the powertrain front Volkswagen will be offering the latest Amarok with a choice of three 2.0l four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engines ranging in output from 110kW to 154kW. There's also an extra-meaty 3.0l V6 turbodiesel that, depending on the market, is tuned to deliver either 177kW or 184kW. There's only one petrol engine on offer and that's the 222kW 2.3l four-cylinder turbocharged mill that was once on offer in Ford's Mustang. A 10-speed automatic transmission comes standard on engine variants making 154kW+ and optional on less potent models where a five- or six-speed manual gearbox is standard.

Depending on the motor fitted, the new Amarok can carry a payload of up to 1,160kg and tow a maximum of 3,500kg. Roof-static load capacity has been cranked up to 350kg. The cargo box can be secured using an electrically operated roll cover. This can be operated from the cargo box itself, inside the vehicle or by remote control via the vehicle's key.

Volkswagen is making five model derivatives available from launch starting with the entry-level and eponymously named Amarok. Next up is the Life model followed by the arguably more plush Style, Panamericana and flagship Aventura. Depending on the variant you can expect a more premium cabin complimented by a digitised dashboard featuring a fully digital instrument cluster and either a 10- or 12-inch centrally-mounted, portrait-format touchscreen infotainment system that syncs with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Some notable options include a harman/kardon sound system as well as elegant leather-look surfaces applied to the instrument and door panels with distinctive decorative stitching. The new Amarok boasts an updated seating arrangement that bestows drivers and front-seat passengers with widened and more comfortable chairs that can be specced with optional electric 10-way adjustment. Meanwhile the rear has space for three adults.

Enhanced safety for all occupants is provided by more than 30 driver-assist systems, over 20 of which are completely new to the Amarok such as adaptive cruise control and ultra-bright IQ.Light LED matrix headlamps. There's also a 360º camera that aids with tight inner-city parking or negotiating tricky terrain while out exploring in the wilderness.

The new Volkswagen Amarok is being produced in SA and will be available locally from the first quarter of 2023. Pricing and final specifications will be announced closer to the time.


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