It’s been fascinating watching the trajectory of Ford and Volkswagen’s next-gen shared-platform Ranger and Amarok. Neither has been unveiled in full, but there’s been plenty of imagery and editorial in the build-up.
A claimed image leak way back in February 2019 reported by Wheels in Australia purported to be the all-new Ranger. Since then we’ve seen spy images of both vehicles draped in camouflage, with more shots of a veiled Ranger Wildtrak happening to appear online overnight.
Volkswagen, meanwhile, has issued a couple of renders of its next Amarok. The first of these was released a year ago (shown above), looking more like a Fortnite character than a double-cab ute. The second of these (shown in lead) was released last night, and looks far, far more realistic and production ready.
The render retains a lot of the design features of its cartoonish forefather, but smooths it all out with more traditional proportions and bodylines. The deep gouges in the bodywork that help form the flared arches remain, as does the attractive character line that starts at the perimeter of the back window, before straightening to follow the belt-line and ending near the corner of the headlight (this being an evolution of a line that sits on the current Amarok).
More work has been done to characterize the headlights on the new render, each of them shown in the extreme left and right portals of the muscular grille bezel. The new render drops some of the chrome of the last one’s grille, adopting a tougher looking blacked-out section instead to good effect.
What’s maybe most telling about the new image is the amount of ‘production ready’ attention to detail that’s been paid. We now see indicators on the wing mirrors, for instance, which could be read as a sign that this could be quite close to reality.
Volkswagen hasn’t released much in the way of details, apart from the fact that it will launch in 2022. After initial claims the model would not go hybrid, Volkswagen’s recent ambitious EV push and Ford’s confirmation of an electrified Ranger being in the works most likely means a hybrid Amarok is on the way.
One pressing issue Volkswagen is trying to tackle is making sure the new Amarok looks and feels distinctly like a Veedub product, rather than as a Ranger clone. Speaking to media last December, Volkswagen Australia boss Michael Bartsch said the brand “will not be the same mistake Mercedes and Nissan made.”
“We sent a dedicated design team from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to Australia, to understand your environment better. For the last one and a half years, [we] have been really co-developing together with our co-operation partner, Ford, this beautiful car,” Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles design head Albert Johann Kirzinger said during the same media event.
“We know what our Amarok means to our customers and fans in Australia. And that’s the reason why we are really working hard to have a 100 per cent Volkswagen, a true Volkswagen, and not only a rebadged Ford. I want you to rest assured that this Amarok will be a real beast.
“So what can we expect from the Amarok? Just like the current Amarok, it will define the benchmark of its class again. No question about that. And in terms of design, it’s going to be impressive, and a clear member of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles line-up.”