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Volkswagen Amarok 2023: Australian release date confirmed with V6 diesel, Panamericana and Aventura trims


Blockbuster drop of information on new Amarok has Volkswagen’s second-generation ute arriving in Australia at the end of the year

The 2023 Volkswagen Amarok will arrive in Australia in small numbers at the end of 2022 ahead of customer deliveries starting in earnest in the first months of 2023.

Volkswagen’s second-generation Amarok ute is shaping up to be a remarkably different vehicle to the pick-up it replaces.

While the first-gen Amarok was Volkswagen’s own creation, the new car shares its platform, engines, 4WD system and basic proportions with the T6.2 Ford Ranger.

The 2023 Amarok in off-road guise

Australian development of new Amarok

LIke the Ranger, the Amarok has been designed and developed primarily in Australia, with a dedicated Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles engineering team based out of Melbourne for the past several years.

Australia is very much the priority for the 2023 Amarok, with our country set to become the biggest market anywhere in the world for the Volkswagen ute – replacing South America as the key focus for the vehicle.

Development of the new Amarok (and Ranger) occurred in Australia

While key components for the new Amarok are shared with the new Ranger, which will be released in Australia in June (about seven months ahead of Amarok), Volkswagen are understood to have insisted on key preferences for the vehicle – including the requirement to load a Euro pallet in the tray.

Significant differentiation to Ranger, built in Thailand

Chasing Cars believes the exterior and interior design will be far more differentiated than previous ute platform-sharing efforts (think Navara/X-Class, or BT-50/D-Max).

Single-cab and dual-cab versions of the new Amarok will be available globally, but Chasing Cars understands that Volkswagen Australia will opt to import only the dual-cab.

Amarok is expected to be quite different to Ranger in design

Like the new Ranger, the second-generation Amarok will be built in Thailand, representing a switch away from the outgoing model’s German – and then Argentinian – production.

Pricing is still some way from being revealed for the new Amarok, but the ute replaces a range that currently spans $45,890 for a four-cylinder manual model to $81,490 for a Walkinshaw-fettled Amarok W580S special edition.

V6 and four-cylinder engines, 1200kg payload

Volkswagen has confirmed that one petrol and up to four diesel engines will be available in the Amarok globally, though the Australian range will continue to be mainly focussed around a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 option.

But while the outgoing Amarok used a Volkswagen Group diesel V6, the new Amarok will share the Ford Ranger’s ‘Lion’ family 3.0-litre engine that produces 184kW of power and 600Nm of torque in the Ford.

This Amarok wears large wheels, understood to be 21 inches in size

While Volkswagen has not clarified whether the sole petrol engine is a four- or six-cylinder engine, it is likely to be the 2.3-litre ‘Ecoboost’ turbo petrol four-cylinder that does service in American markets for the Ranger.

That said, it’s still possible that Volkswagen could shock the market with an Amarok interpretation of the Ranger Raptor package at a later date, using that car’s new 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 that produces 292kW of power.

It’s very likely that, in addition to the diesel V6, Volkswagen will opt to bring the Amarok to Australia with one or both of the available 2.0-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engines. These are available in single-turbo (125kW/405Nm) or twin-turbo (154kW/500Nm) iterations.

A payload increase to 1200kg has been confirmed by Volkswagen, while 3500kg towing will also be shared by some four-cylinder variants as well as the V6 diesel powertrain.

Manual gearboxes are very likely to be unavailable in Australia, as with the Ranger, while a new ten-speed automatic will be fitted to the twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel and the V6 diesel. A new four-wheel drive system has a four-auto, ‘set and forget’ mode.

Amarok, Life, Style, Panamericana, Aventura trims confirmed

As with other recent Volkswagen products, the entry-level Amarok will simply bear that name. The range will then progress to a new second-tier Amarok Life grade and then on to the mid-spec Amarok Style.

These grades will replace Australia’s popular Amarok Core base model (from $45,890). Volkswagen have not yet confirmed specific Australian specifications for the new Amarok, but in the Ford Ranger lineup, many grades are available with a choice of four- or six-cylinder diesel power.

New grades will see the Amarok cover extensive ground

From the Style, the new Amarok range will move up to a choice of twin flagship grades that give buyers a choice of on-road or off-road focus.

The on-road flagship will be called the Amarok Aventura – the existing name for the top-shelf Amarok ($73,990 in first-gen form)– while a rugged off-road flagship grade is set to be badged the Amarok Panamericana.

While Volkswagen Australia has not ruled out further, future partnerships with local specialist firm Walkinshaw, the new Amarok Aventura and Panamericana trims effectively replace the current Aventura – but also the special-edition Amarok Walkinshaw W580S (on-road) and W580X (off-road).

A new 4WD system with a Four-Auto mode is shared with Ranger

Wheel sizes of up to 21 inches will be available for the new Amarok – expect to see these on the road-focussed Aventura model as standard, while the launch of the new Amarok will also mark the first time that all-terrain tyres can be fitted from the factory (relevantly for the Panamericana grade).

Other available features include matrix LED headlights, LED taillights, an aerodynamic ‘styling bar’ for the tray, pre-configured drive modes, and “more than 30 driver assist systems” of which more than 20 are new to the Amarok badge.

We’ve only seen the cabin of the Amarok by way of sketches, and no more has been visually revealed today – but Volkswagen have confirmed that “leather-look” materials will cover the dashboard and doors, and an “exclusive” sound system will be available with the ute.

Volkswagen Amarok 2023 grey tan interior
This sketch shows what the Amarok’s interior will look like

Both front seats can be had with 10-way power adjustment and seat heating – though these seats will not be the VW-specific ErgoComfort 12-way units from the outgoing car.

Where to from here for the 2023 Amarok?

Volkswagen will rip the covers off the exterior and interior of the new Amarok in July this year – about a month after the local market launch of its T6.2 Ford Ranger sibling.

The first examples of the second-generation Amarok will arrive locally in November or December for dealer and media testing – Chasing Cars will drive the vehicle at that time, and it’s likely that a number of vehicles will be available to preview in dealerships.

Customer deliveries of the new Amarok will kick off in full in the first months of 2023.