Plug-in hybrid on the cards for the 2022 VW Amarok generation [Update]

Update: ‘2022 VW Amarok to be clearly differentiated from the Ranger’ and ‘Release Date’ sections updated.

Volkswagen Group has filed a trademark application (Serial No. 90710469) for ‘Amarok’ at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Companies try to secure rights for names of global models, with the intention of protecting a name from being snatched by a rival car company. Moreover, a trademark not in use now can always be useful in the future. Should the U.S. abolish the so-called ‘Chicken Tax’ and there is demand in the market for the German pickup, Volkswagen Group may find the model fit for the operations stateside.

Take a look at what we know about Volkswagen’s incoming pickup truck:

2022 VW Amarok to use the new Ford Ranger’s underpinning

The next-gen Amarok will be a huge departure from the current model, and massive changes are likely to be present under the bonnet. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWN) has confirmed only a TDI diesel engine and a V6 TDI engine. However, we expect a plug-in hybrid powertrain to join the lineup in about two years. That would be the first time customers get to buy an Amarok PHEV.

2.3L PHEV reported

The future Amarok hybrid will use a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. While details are scarce about this engine’s maker – whether it is a Ford or a VW mill – we take an educated guess that the hybrid pickup will have an American heart.

Ford’s Europe spokesperson had commented in February 2021 that its commercial range of vehicles, including the all-new Ford Ranger, will be ‘zero-emission’ capable by 2024. Going by other reports, the Ranger Hybrid will debut an all-new hybrid powertrain that hasn’t been seen in a Ford vehicle to date. The setup in question will use a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo engine with a 10-speed transmission combined with an electric motor to develop 362 hp and 680 Nm of torque (270 kW and 502 lb.-ft). The same setup should be tuned differently in the Amarok Hybrid.

2022 VW Amarok to be clearly differentiated from the Ranger

2023 VW Amarok rear three quarter teaser
The VW Amarok would have sufficient interior and exterior differentiation from its donor. Image Source: Volkswagen Group

The design of the next-gen Amarok will be unique, and nothing the customer sees and touches will be of the all-new Ranger, as per a report from Australia’s Drive. Kevin Richards, Head of Commercial Vehicles, Volkswagen New Zealand, has also indicated that the next-gen Amarok would have sufficient differentiation from its donor, as per a report on MotoringNZ.

Richards said that Volkswagen engineers have remained involved in the development program from the first day. The next-gen Amarok “definitely has VW DNA” though it is based on a Ford product. Not just the look, but Richards thinks that it will drive differently, too. He didn’t pinpoint the changes, but the engine mapping, suspension and steering settings, and other core aspects could be different in the German ute.

2022 VW Amarok side profile teaser
A successor to the VW Amarok was possible thanks to the partnership with Ford, the Germans have acknowledged. However, both models would have ample design differentiation. Image Source: Volkswagen Group

The teasers released by VWN suggest that the next-gen Volkswagen Amarok will be the brand’s toughest model across the range, both PVs and CVs. With the “Built Ford Tough” genes and the German brand’s sophistication, it’ll stand out from its Asian rival group. Wider headlamps in a more aggressive design and three power bulges in the hood make the front brawnier. A small kick in the beltline on the rear door adds character to the profile, while fender flares and chunkier door mirrors heighten its ruggedness.

Spy pictures from motor.es reveal that the fog lamps would be higher up in the middle section of the bumper. The tail lamps would also be unique and expect the grilles, bumpers, and wheels to carry distinctive designs, too.

Interior

VWN hasn’t released the dimensions of the next-gen Amarok, but it has confirmed a few differences. The redesigned model will be 10 cm (3.9 in.) longer and over 4 cm (1.6 in.) wider than its predecessor, which has a length and width of 532.1 cm (209.5 in.) and 195.4 cm (76.9 in.), respectively.

The interior of the 2022 Amarok will find more refinement. VWN will keep the basic layout of the latest Ranger but still offer plenty of distinction to the cabin. The steering wheel and climate control panel will look completely different. VWN will also use a uniquely designed floor console that is clean and contemporary. Another major difference is in the dashboard design, which, unlike in the donor model, gets a wide-open stowage compartment on the passenger side. VWN says that the redesigned pickup will impress customers when it comes to connectivity.

The next-gen Amarok will have significantly more driver assistance systems and impressive connectivity features. It will pack innovations customers have never seen before in this segment, VWN claims. The company is confident about the success of the radically different next-gen Amarok. Talking about the upcoming model at the company’s annual press conference in March 2021, CEO Prof. Carsten Intra said:

As I mentioned a moment ago, we’re also going to soon see the new Amarok, a medium-sized pickup, with a market launch planned in 2022. For this Amarok successor, we are using a platform developed together with Ford, and we are also offering inimitable accents in terms of design and trim. And we’re showing you here a design sketch already, which I think makes one thing very clear – this is going to be a great pickup truck, a genuine Volkswagen with a clear design signature of Volkswagen, and the first reactions we received are just outstanding. It’s really going down well, and I personally like it a lot as well. So, at the end of the day, this is exactly what our customers would want because the Amarok already has a very loyal fan community.

Prof. Carsten Intra, CEO, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

Joint production

Volkswagen Group has acknowledged that a successor to the Amarok would not have been possible without Ford Motor’s tie-up. The partnership will extend the new Amarok to Ford manufacturing it at its Silverton plant in South Africa from this year. Ford and VW deepen collaboration as the former intends on using the MEB to generate products for the European markets. The collaboration should allow Volkswagen to price its pickup truck more competitively.

Through the combination of our commercial vehicle platforms with Ford, we are becoming very competitive in the light commercial vehicles and medium pickup truck segment worldwide.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen Group New Auto strategy)

Production of the outgoing Amarok at the Hanover plant has ceased, Volkswagen Group said in its annual report for 2020. “In Europe, we have already phased out production of Amarok, and we delivered the markets from South America,” Holger Kintscher, BoM – Finance and IT, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said during the company’s annual press conference in March 2021.

Release Date

The next-gen VW Amarok will debut this summer and become available to order in Europe at the end of the year. Australian showrooms will get the all-new one-tonne partly German ute in the second half of 2023, as per the previously cited Drive report. Note that the diesel model comes available first, and the hybrid variants are expected in about two years.

VW Amarok EV

Volkswagen has made it their mission to make every type of car electric, from hatchbacks to sedans, SUVs, and vans. The final piece of the puzzle is an all-electric pickup truck. We don’t know if Volkswagen is contemplating a VW Amarok EV or a different pickup, but Johan de Nysschen, COO, Volkswagen (USA), has told MotorTrend that the successor to the VW Amarok “will eventually be electrified.”

VW Amarok Hybrid FAQs

What is the VW Amarok hybrid release date?

The VW Amarok Hybrid should debut by end of 2023, following the regular diesel variant this year.

Which pickup trucks will rival the VW Amarok?

Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton, and Mazda BT-50 in the European market; not to forget its sister product, Ford Ranger.

What will be the price of the VW Amarok Hybrid?

Whenever it emerges, expect the VW Amarok Hybrid to cost from about EUR 35,000.

Featured Image Source: Volkswagen Group