VW has a habit of shooting itself in the foot when it comes to the vehicles it chooses to market in the U.S. From the Phaeton sedan and Dodge Caravan turned into the Routan minivan, to only selling the ID Buzz van in the long-wheelbase version, VW puzzles many. Add to that its latest new product, the 2023 Amarok pickup. In the land where trucks are king, VW won’t be sending the Amarok to the states.
Are the 2023 VW Amarok and 2023 Ford Ranger the same?
The Amarok is a joint development with Ford that will be the next iteration of the popular Ranger pickup. So maybe that’s the answer, or it doesn’t want to (or contractually can’t) sell it in North America. Or, with the chicken tax ever-present, the added tariffs or finding production in America probably rule us out.
With production slated for South Africa, VW lists many countries that will soon be seeing the 2023 Amarok, but the U.S. isn’t on the list. It would seem like it is tailored for the Americas, with two body styles and bed lengths available. Single and double-cab variants along with a 90.7-inch and 60.8-inch long bed give truck buyers choices. Those beds can handle 2550 lbs of cargo and can tow up to 7,700 lbs.
Is the 2023 VW Amarok good off-road?
For those seeking off-road capabilities, the Amarok features a 29-degree approach and 21-degree departure angles. There is also a 21-degree ramp-over angle. And it can wade through 31.5-inches of water.
Where the Amarok would have to detach from its European origins to compete here is with its powertrain. Diesel power dominates the lineup. The base engine is a 147 hp 2.0-liter diesel engine hooked to a five-speed manual transmission.
A 167-hp diesel with either the six-speed manual or automatic is the next step up. Finally, a twin-turbo diesel with 200 hp spins an all-wheel-drive system combined with either a six- or 10-speed automatic. A slightly bumped version of this engine has 203 hp for selectable four-wheel-drive and the 10-speed automatic.
Will a non-diesel engine be available?
Lastly, a 3.0-liter V6 diesel with 246 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque is the top engine. It is expected that Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-banger will also be available in some markets. In Europe, if it is a truck, it has got diesel power.
Another consideration for not bringing the Amarok here could be pricing. The 2022 Ford Ranger has a base MSRP of $26,000. Granted, you probably won’t find many at this bargain-basement price. But in Europe, the Amarok sells for over $40,000. So to be competitive here, VW would have to sell the Amarok at substantially less than its European or Australian equivalent. Maybe the difference offsets any profit VW has.
So at least for now, VW is fine not challenging the domestic and Japanese counterparts. Recently, it seems like there has been somewhat of a change at the Wolfsburg mothership towards selling in the U.S.A. It is looking at VW North America becoming more autonomous from Wolfsburg. That philosophy might change how it looks at selling, or not selling, the Amarok here.