Browse over 9,000 car reviews

How different will the 2023 Volkswagen Amarok be to its Ford Ranger twin? Pricing, timing, engines, features and more revealed for new-gen Toyota HiLux rivalling ute

The Amarok will adopt unique styling that will differentiate it from its Ford Ranger twin. (Image credit: Thanos Pappas)

Having a highly successful first generation model is all well and good, but backing it up with an equally impressive second generation version can prove tricky.

That’s the challenge facing Volkswagen with its all-important new Amarok ute that will finally be revealed soon.

It might not have bothered the Toyota HiLux when it comes to sales volume, but it has been a consistent seller in Australia since it went on sale more than a decade ago, back in February 2011.

It is seen as a more premium offering compared with some of its rivals that don’t carry a European badge - even though most variants are built in Argentina.

And the V6 version has been a huge hit, helping win the Amarok even more fans and garnering plaudits from the local and international motoring press.

With a new-gen version imminent, it’s time to look at what we know about the next Amarok.

When will the 2023 Volkswagen Amarok launch?

VW has been teasing details of the new Amarok since around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic - so early 2020. That’s more than two years of teasing.

We now know that VW will finally rip the covers from the new pick-up on July 7, so it’s only a few days away.

It’s unclear how much more detail VW will release initially, or if the company will continue to slowly drip-feed more information in the way that joint venture partner Ford has done with the Ranger.

It is expected to officially go on sale in Australia in late 2022, but VW Australia Commercial director Ryan Davies told CarsGuide back in May that only examples for media and dealers are likely to arrive before the end of the year, with customer deliveries expected to start in January or February.

What underpinnings will the 2023 Volkswagen Amarok have?

While the original Amarok was an all-VW affair, the new version will be familiar by the time it goes on sale.

It has been co-developed with Ford - led by the team at Ford Australia - as part of the T6.2 Ranger and Everest program. So essentially it will be a twin under the skin of the new Ranger that lands this month.

Volkswagen has had significant input of course, but the bones are the same as the Ranger’s.

It will share the Ranger’s ladder-frame chassis and most mechanicals, as well as a powertrain.

Internationally the Amarok will be available with five different engines - including one petrol - with displacement ranging from 2.0 to 3.0 litres, but Australia is expected to only get one diesel - for now.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel from the outgoing Amarok will not return for the new model, which will be a V6-only proposition. VW’s impressive V6 from the current model has also been dropped and the new model will instead adopt a Ford-developed 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine that in the Ranger outputs 184kW/600Nm.

It will be paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and come as standard with four-wheel drive.

The new Amarok will come with a 1.2-tonne payload and maximum braked towing capacity rated at 3.5 tonnes.

VW’s insistence that the new ute comes with a V6 diesel prompted Ford to offer the same in the new Ranger. Another VW stipulation was the ability to take a full-size pallet in the tub, which both new-gen utes can do.

The new Amarok will have a different design to its Ford Ranger (above) cousin. The new Amarok will have a different design to its Ford Ranger (above) cousin.

What will the 2023 Volkswagen Amarok look like?

This is an area where the Amarok and its Ford-badged donor car will differ.

Volkswagen has promised that despite the shared oily bits, the Amarok will have a distinctly Volkswagen design. So don’t expect it to just look like a Ranger with a VW badge.

VW’s own teaser and camouflaged images as well as various spy shots and renders support this.

It will feature narrower headlights than the C-shaped units on the Ranger, that also integrate with the large front grille that will carry an Amarok badge. The model name will also be spelled out across the tailgate which will be flanked by slimline LED tail-lights.

The Amarok will have chunky wheel arches and it will be larger than the model it replaces, stretching at least 100mm longer than the old version.

Like the current model, it will be available exclusively as a dual cab, and VW has hinted that it could offer a cab-chassis version alongside the pick-up.

Will the 2023 Volkswagen Amarok have a new interior?

Like the Ranger, the Amarok cabin gets a full-scale makeover and while many parts and functions will be shared, the VW will retain its own interior flavour.

Depending on the variant it will come with leather-look surfaces and wide seats, a digital instrument cluster, table-style multimedia system and an exclusive sound system.

It will also come with 30 driver assist features, 20 of which are new to the nameplate, according to VW.

The outgoing VW Amarok. The outgoing VW Amarok.

How much will the 2023 Volkswagen Amarok cost?

Pricing is unclear at the moment, but given the rising cost of materials, the trend of increasing pricing with new-generation models and the new safety and on-board tech, it’s safe to assume the new Amarok will cost more than the old one.

It is currently priced from $45,890 before on-road costs for the base four-cylinder Core manual and tops out at $81,490 for the Walkinshaw-fettled V6 W580S.

VW Australia has confirmed model grades, with five on offer initially. They include the new base variant which will simply be called the Amarok, as well as the Life and Style, while higher grades will adopt the PanAmericana and Adventura badges. The latter sounds very similar to the high-riding VY Holden Commodore wagon dubbed the Adventra from the early 2000s.

It will be built in South Africa for the Australian market.