The VW Amarok Is So Good Americans Can’t Have It

VW is one of the most successful automotive manufacturers in the world. Although they sell some cars in the US, we haven’t taken to them quite as strongly as the rest of the world has. We like trucks – a lot. American’s like plenty of other vehicles, but we love a truck. Maybe if Volkswagen wanted to win the American heart, they should build a great truck. Huh? VW does make a great truck? Well, why aren’t they selling it here? 

The Chicken Tax?

Yeah, that’s a thing. If you aren’t familiar with the Chicken Tax, it essentially boils down to importing vehicles from abroad gets hit with a 25 percent tax. This was passed in the 60s on light-duty trucks, in particular, to incentivize automakers to build vehicles here in American. That’s cool and all, but many companies aren’t willing to do it, and we end up fogging up the glass with our jealous breath as we watch our friends from around the world drive cool stuff that we can’t have

Want something for that burn?

But this isn’t just about the tax; it’s about the sick burn from VW. A few years ago, Car and Driver asked Volkswagen why it wouldn’t be sending the VW Amarok stateside? As Car and Driver put it, VW responded with an ice-cold, “It’s too good and, therefore, too expensive.” This sounds cold, but I think it was a very German, simply-put fact. VW feels that because the Volkswagen Amarok is so good, it would be too expensive to compete in America. 

How much would VW Amarok cost?

For context, the base VW Amarok in the UK starts at what would be USD 46,184. If you wanted to ball out and go big with the top-of-the-line Aventura model, you would have to shell out $69,276 stateside. $70k for a pickup isn’t unheard of; it’s a lot, but not out of this world. Spending $70k on a VW pickup feels unlikely in America. I mean, it doesn’t even have 1,000 hp! How are we even supposed to drive it with so little power?

A Volkswagen Amarok Aventura is seen during the Vienna Car Show press preview at Messe Wien, as part of Vienna Holiday Fair, on January 15, 2020 in Vienna, Austria.
VW Amarok | Manfred Schmid/Getty Images

What makes the VW Amarok so good?

The VW pickup is expensive, but the price reflects the Amarok’s quality. The VW Amarok has multiple power options (depending on the market). The gasoline drinking option is a four-cylinder engine, and the diesel version comes with a turbocharged V6 made by Audi. Power can be sent to just the rear wheels or all four, depending on the package. 

Car and Driver tested the biggest and baddest version of the VW Amarok, the Dark Label special edition crew cab, sporting AWD and the 3.0-liter, 201-hp turbo-diesel. 

The Amarok isn’t gonna win at the drag strip

Given that this VW Amarok is the diesel, it’s not going to thrash as hard as the American V8 Hemis and supercharged this and that, but it’s is a strong motor that can still do plenty of truck things. With a torque figure of 369 lb-ft, it can haul as a pickup should. The suspension has also been executed beautifully by handling heavy payloads and offering a smooth ride for day-to-day driving. 


VW Amarok vs. Off-Road SUVs Shows You Don’t Always Need the Biggest Engine

The Interior of the VW Amarok

Car and Driver says that though the interior of the VW Amarok isn’t quite at Audi levels, it is still very nice. The interior feels straightforward and logical. The materials used inside are nice quality down the satisfying feedback from the meaty buttons and switches. 

The Amarok is done

Yes. VW has killed the first generation of the VW Amarok, but fret not, truck lovers. I’ve got good news; Especially for we Americans. VW promises a second-generation Amarok by 2022. To get around the Chicken tax, VW is partnering with Ford to utilize the Ranger in the production of the Amarok to get the Euro-truck stateside.