The upcoming 2022 Volkswagen Amarok promises to be a competent mid-size truck. A lot of that comes down to the fact that it's based on the new Ford Ranger. Now, Volkswagen is exploring its options to build a hardcore offroad model, and it has a few options on the table, as reported by CarsGuide.
The most straightforward way would be for Volkswagen to grab parts developed by Ford for its Ranger Raptor program. According to CarsGuide, Volkswagen has made it clear that it would be interested in getting access to Raptor hardware. However, if that's a no-go, Volkswagen has other cards up its sleeve.
The company has previously worked with Australian company Walkinshaw Performance which developed the tuned W-Series Amarok pickup trucks for Volkswagen in years previous. The trucks feature tuned suspension and steering as well as underbody protection and cosmetic modifications befitting their status.
Thus, a further collaboration with Walkinshaw could net Volkswagen an uprated off-road Amarok if Ford isn't willing to share the Raptor magic. Ryan Davies, commercial vehicles director for VW, told CarsGuide that the company was investigating the possibilities, adding that "There is opportunity for everything in the pick-up segment."
A new off-road halo model Amarok would be a good way to build on an already successful relationship between Volkswagen and Walkinshaw. 2021 saw the German automaker sell 1000 units of its Walkinshaw-modified vehicles, with the plan being to expand that to 1500 sales this year.
Power-wise, Volkswagen has already confirmed that the new Amarok will be available with a turbo diesel V6, which leaves scope for an appropriately powerful engine for a Raptor-like model. Lars Menge, head of product marketing at Volkswagen Commerical Vehicles, stated that "There will be a powerful V6 TDI available in the future, too, plus further power units specific in each case to the market."
Ford's efforts for Raptor models have continually ratcheted up in recent years, with the Bronco Raptor an example that has seen re-engineering efforts touch almost every part of the truck. Whether Walkinshaw could deliver a project on that level is a difficult question to answer. Instead, it may be more a case where a new Raptor-like Amarok follows on from the previous W-series effort, focusing on ruggedizing the platform and improving off-road handling without extreme measures like major frame reinforcements or truly gigantic tires.
In any case, it's news that should buoy the spirits of any rugged truck fans in markets that actually get to buy the new Amarok when it drops in late 2022, even if it's probably not coming to the US. There could just be a mid-sized Ranger Raptor competitor around the corner, even if it's based on the Ranger anyway. More competition in this area should spur all players on to delivering better trucks, and that, my friends, is good for all of us.
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