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Volkswagen Amarok 2023: exterior and interior of Ranger-based ute revealed in late-stage sketches


Two late-stage design drawings of the second-generation Amarok, set to land in 2023, have been revealed today

The 2023 Volkswagen Amarok might share Ford’s T6.2 platform that underpins the new Ranger ute, but its exterior and interior design is radically differentiated from the Blue Oval’s pick-up.

In a small set of two sketches of the vehicle illustrated in a wilderness protection setting in South Africa, the front end, side profile, dashboard and seats of the second-generation Amarok have been revealed ahead of a full unveiling in mid-2022 and an Australian release date in the first quarter of 2021.

Volkswagen Amarok 2023 front end sketch
This is the front end of the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok, revealed in sketch form today

In our best look yet at what Ford’s Ranger program manager Ian Foston called a “fully-differentiated sibling product”, the Amarok has benefitted from a comprehensive reskin outside while retaining a number of Volkswagen cues inside.

That has resulted in more visual differentiation that any current ute “partnership” and provides evidence to Volkswagen’s 2020 claim that the next-gen Amarok wouldn’t repeat the “mistake Mercedes made with Nissan” – referring to the now-discontinued, Navara-based Mercedes-Benz X-Class ute.

“What the designers have been able to accomplish here is absolutely, to-the-core Volkswagen DNA,” Volkswagen Australia commercial vehicles director Ryan Davies told media today.

Volkswagen Amarok 2023 interior sketch
Volkswagen have secured strong influence in the interior design of the next Amarok

“You can see the design of the steering wheel, which is very Volkswagen, as well as the switchgear, the form and function of the seats – the internals of the car again display attributes we would expect and have come to know and love in a Volkswagen.

“What you see here is very much a Volkswagen. It has a strong, confident stance in the way it presents, and in every way, as we have expressed before, the Amarok has genuine Volkswagen DNA. This is the car our designers both in Melbourne and Europe have been working on tirelessly over the last few years,” said Davies.

While Ford executives largely kept mum about Amarok specifics at the full reveal of the 2022 Ford Ranger in Sydney a fortnight ago, it was acknowledged that Volkswagen engineers had been embedded in Ford’s Melbourne development operation for three years.

That was a sentiment echoed by Volkswagen Australia commercial vehicles manager Nick Reid reiterated at a media briefing in Sydney today.

“We have had a team of designers working [in Melbourne with Ford] on design and engineering for the last three years,” Reid said.

Unique front and rear ends

The first sketch of an Amarok diving into a mud bog shows the extent of the design differentiation of the vehicle compared to the now-revealed 2022 Ford Ranger.

Different bonnet molding with a prominent power dompe, along with a broad chrome-accented grille and headlights with a rectangular LED daytime running light graphic give the second-generation Amarok an even bolder stance.

The glimpse of the side profile of the new Amarok, visible in both sketches and enlarged by Chasing Cars, shows that the hard points are likely entirely shared between the two vehicles, as expected for platform-sharing models.

Volkswagen Amarok 2023 side profile
The side profile is seen in the background of both sketches

This fact is evident from the forward-set front wheels and steeply-cascading front grille that is a broad match for the proportions of the Ranger, albeit with clearly differentiated form and detailing.

The late-stage concept pictured in the sketches wears large alloy wheels, though it is expected that the regular range will top out at 20-inches when it launches in 2023.

Roof bars are fitted to the green Amarok, to which a dual roof-mounted LED light bar is attached ahead of a load tied down to a rectangular load rack.

Volkswagen Amarok 2023 green front end
A number of accessories are pictured on the sketched Amarok

The rear end of the next Amarok is not pictured, but a set of tall taillights reminiscent of those used on the outgoing first-gen ute are visible in profile – along with very prominent blistered arches over all four wheels.

The door detailing is similar to that used on the T6.2 Ranger and we will need more detail to ascertain whether the doors may be a shared component.

Volkswagen-specific seats, steering wheel, switchgear

If the final production version of the second-generation Amarok stays true to the sketches, far greater differentiation of the interior can be expected than that seen on other platform-sharing utes in the market.

While the large vertical 12-inch touchscreen and digital instrument cluster are clearly shared with the Amarok, the dashboard molding, shape, detailing, and trim are all different – and that is before you get to the major changes.

The sketches indicate that the Amarok will get entirely different seats to the Ranger, with the front pews pictured in this sketch appearing very similar to the 14-way ErgoComfort seats that are fitted to high-end first-generation Amarok utes like the Aventura and W580S.

Volkswagen Amarok 2023 grey tan interior
Volkswagen-specific seats, switchgear and a unique steering wheel are some key differences

Volkswagen have also insisted on the use of a brand-specific steering wheel for the next Amarok, with the sketch showing the company’s new wheel design shared with the Touareg large SUV.

A glimpse of the indicator stalk is provided on the left side of this left-hand drive Amarok’s steering wheel which also appears to be Volkswagen’s own – a feat made somewhat more simpler if the steering wheel is in fact taken from VW’s own parts supply.

Stitching and detailing around the doors and dash top appear to be differentiated from the Ranger, though the centre console – including the e-shifter for the automatic transmisison – appear to be largely shared between the pair.

Ford-sourced V6 power for next Amarok

While Volkswagen Australia executives would not be drawn today on a confirmed powertrain for the 2023 Amarok, Chasing Cars understands from conversations with senior Ford Ranger engineers that the Ranger and Amarok will use the same available V6 engine.

That powertrain is a Ford-sourced Lion-family 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel engine making around 190kW of power and 600Nm of torque.

Ford Ranger 2022 Wildtrak orange front end
The next Amarok shares a platform with the T6.2 Ford Ranger

That is the same power level as the top-end Amarok 580TDI but 20Nm more torque. Ford have already revealed that this engine is paired to a ten-speed torque converter automatic transmission and a new full-time automatic 4WD system.

Whether the Amarok will receive Ford’s 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder engine as an entry-level specification remains to be seen, especially given the fact that 90 percent of current Amarok volume in Australia is for the V6.

Mid-2022 reveal, Q1 2023 release date in Australia

The next-generation Volkswagen Amarok will be revealed in full about half way through the 2022 calendar year.

Nick Reid, Volkswagen Australia commercial vehicles manager, told assembled media that the brand had pencilled in an Australian release date in the first quarter (January, February or March) of 2023.