Trucks & SUVs

You Can’t Buy This Volkswagen in America Yet

There are some pretty amazing vehicles in other parts of the world that the U.S. has never had the chance to buy. As automakers create lines specific to the various needs of geographic regions and foreign markets, there isn’t a need to make them for everyone. So, there are some you can’t buy in certain parts of the world. Unfortunately, that sometimes means Americans miss out on sweet models intended for elsewhere around the globe.

While Volkswagen targets the U.S. with a few of its popular cars, we don’t get to drive all that VW has to offer. In fact, there’s one ride we’re missing out on altogether that some call, “the forbidden fruit.”

The Volkswagen vehicle you can’t buy here

The Volkswagen Amarok unveiled by Volkswagen Nepal
The Volkswagen Amarok | Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Volkswagen Amarok has been around since 2010 and is really popular in South America. It’s a midsize truck with plenty of heft and none of the plushy frills, making it ideal for daily driving and work. Volkswagen has never exported this line here to the states, and it’s clear that Americans have been missing out on this German gem. This pickup competes with the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, and Nissan Navara.

The Motor Trend tell-all review

Since we can’t drive it ourselves, we at least have the experts at Motor Trend to rely on for first-hand experiences. They were properly introduced to the Volkswagen Amarok, and we got to take a peek inside what makes this pickup so popular.

The Amarok Dune comes with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel and four-cylinder engine that’s capable of 140 hp. It also offers a six-speed manual transmission. It’s a meld of American truck basics with extras like alloy wheels and a touchscreen with connectivity options. But, it also feels like an affordable work truck with interior components, a cloth interior, and plastic bumpers.

MotorTrend cited that the bed seemed a little small at five feet, but the hooks and BedXtender basket are helpful enhancements. Other trims offer the 3.0-liter V6 TDI and 4Motion AWD system with electronic differential locks.

140 or 175 hp (depending on the configuration you choose) isn’t incredibly powerful. According to the review by MotorTrend, the Volkswagen Amarok felt slow on the highway – even a little sluggish to pass slower traffic. They did say it felt torquey, and the manual transmission is helpful with hills. The clutch performed precisely, which is also useful in navigating the various terrains. It’s a lighter variety truck, too. MT suggests a little weight in the bed would help reduce the bouncy feeling throughout the drive.

Will Volkswagen ever bring the Amarok pickup stateside?

There isn’t an indication that we can expect the Amarok to land in the U.S. anytime soon. However, Ford and Volkswagen recently announced a collaboration to produce other lines like commercial vans. Neither automaker offered additional details about other projects that may be in the works, but fans are hopeful. It’s safe to say VW is weighing and analyzing the potential for a midsize truck production line specific to the American market.

In a recent statement, the COO Ralf Brandstätter said, “We are at the beginning of a new era.” By new era, he means 34 new VW models are coming worldwide, including SUVs and all-electric versions.

For now, there’s still a Volkswagen model you can’t buy here in the states. The Volkswagen Amarok is a hunky little truck and would be a welcomed addition to the midsize pickup segment here. Until VW and Ford announce their plans, we’ll just have to live vicariously through the Motor Trend expert reviews for now.