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Ford Ranger-based VW Amarok previewed with brawnier design

Volkswagen is about to renew its entry into Europe’s growing pickup segment. Based on the latest Ford Ranger, the second-generation Amarok will be bigger than the outgoing model, it will offer users more ground clearance, and it will be equipped with new tech features.

Sketches published by the Wolfsburg-based firm suggest that the Amarok will not be merely a badge-engineered version of the Ranger. Styling cues are often exaggerated in sketches, but it looks like the truck wears a brand-specific design characterized by angular headlights connected by a light bar (a feature that’s spreading across the Volkswagen range), punched-out wheel arches and sharper-looking lights out back. The plastic emblems fitted to the current model’s tailgate have been replaced by “AMAROK” lettering stamped into the sheet metal.

Most of the underpinnings will be shared with the Ranger, however, and this will bring significant changes. Volkswagen noted that the next Amarok will stretch about 210 inches long, a 4-inch increase that will give the rear-seat passengers more legroom. It will be wider as well. And, while ground clearance wasn’t something that the original model lacked, Volkswagen told us to expect even more of it this time around.

Like their American counterparts, European pickup buyers are increasingly seeking a daily driver rather than a workhorse with tractor-like refinement. This trend will influence the next Amarok’s cabin, which will be built with nicer materials and offered with a longer list of electronic driving aids. Some buyers need just a truck, however, and bare-bones trims will also be part of the range.

Power will come from an evolution of the current Amarok’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, an excellent engine that develops 255 horsepower and a stout 428 pound-feet of torque in its most powerful state of tune. Properly equipped, the first-generation Amarok can tow about 7,700 pounds, these figures might increase for the second-generation model. It’s reasonable to assume that four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission will again be available in most markets.

Built in South Africa, the second-generation Volkswagen Amarok will make its global debut in the coming months. As of writing, nothing suggests that the model will be sold in the United States in spite of numerous rumors and patent applications filed over the past few years.

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