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Aussie-designed 2023 Volkswagen Amarok detailed: Engines, timing and everything different about the Ford Ranger's European cousin

Volkswagen has finally ripped the covers off its crucial Amarok ute, which will land in Australian showrooms early next year to take the fight right to the best-selling Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.

VW embedded a design team in Melbourne three years ago to help stand the second-generation Amarok apart from its Ford Ranger cousin – which is due to launch in Australia next week.

The result is a modern look that carries over many design cues of the first-gen Amarok including squared-off wheelarch mouldings, headlight-connecting front grille, chunky front and rear bumpers, and a high-riding, athletic stance.

Inside, the VW also scores a design overhaul, headlined by an all-digital instrument cluster and portrait-style multimedia system measuring 10.0 or 12.0 inches.

Volkswagen called the Amarok “the right car at the right time” during the reveal presentation, and said that “it’s not only made for Australia … this car is ready to impress customers all over the world”.

Further differentiating the Amarok from the Ranger is where it will be built for Australia, with the former coming from South Africa while the latter is sourced from Thailand.

Powering the new Amarok is a choice of five engines, kicking off with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with either a 110kW or 125kW output.

Buyers will also be able to choose a 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel engine with 150kW or 154kW – depending on the market.

At the top of the Amarok tree will be a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, punching out 177kW or 184kW – again, depending the market.

The second-gen Amarok will also be offered with a petrol engine option, specially a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 222kW, but whether this is made available in Australia is still to be determined.

All engines with 154kW or more are fitted with a 10-speed automatic transmission, while the 2.0-litre bi-turbo with 150kW will have the 10-speed gearbox available as an option.

The rest of the Amarok line-up will be fitted with a six-speed automatic, while five- and six-speed manual gearboxes are also available across the range depending on market.

Both rear- and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive will be on offer, and the brand is promising a 3.5-tonne towing capacity depending on engine, most likely meaning the diesel powertrains.

For reference, the 2023 Ford Ranger diesel engine line-up starts with a 125kW/405Nm 2.0-litre, moves up to a 154kW/500Nm 2.0-litre bi-turbo and tops out with the 184kW/600Nm 3.0-litre V6 – which line up neatly with what is offered with the Amarok.

Ford’s Ranger also has a petrol option, but it will be a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that makes 292kW/583Nm under the bonnet of the flagship Raptor.

Volkswagen’s new Amarok will be offered in five grades, starting with the Baseline that features a 10.0-inch multimedia system, LED headlights, an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster and multi-function steering wheel.

The Life and Style variants will add more equipment, but details are still to be revealed.

As previously reported, the 2023 Amarok will launch with two flagship grades – the PanAmericana that is designed as a tough off-road truck, and the Aventura that is aimed more premium and on-road focussed.

The full equipment list is still to be finalised, but options will include a premium Harman/Kardon sound system, wheels up to 21 inches, manual and electric tonneau covers, lockable toolboxes and more.

Safety systems is also a highlight in the new Amarok, with tech such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, LED matrix headlights and more combining to “make the Volkswagen more effortless to drive than almost any other pick-up on the world market”, according to the brand.

More details, including Australian pricing and specifications, are expected to drop as the Amarok’s local launch date draws closer.