Edmunds' Inside Line drives the new VW Amarok compact pickup and comes away impressed!
The folks over at Edmunds.com's Inside Line auto enthusiast blog recently attended a VW-sponsored event introducing the company's new Amarok compact pickup to the media. I'd normally file this bit of info under the "Big whoop!" category, since the Amarok is not currently slated for sale in the U.S. Inside Line, however, reports that VW execs at the event were not completely dismissive of the Amarok's prospects for U.S. sale. But I'll get into more on that in a bit.
VW has developed the Amarok pickup as the company's response to Toyota's legendary and generally ubiquitous - except in the U.S. - Hi-Lux pickup. We in the U.S. make do with the Hi-Lux's more bloated brother the Tacoma. While the Amarok shares design cues inside and out with its less utilitarian VW stable mates, it balances its relatively high quality interior materials with use of seats from the entry level VW Fox compact sold in South America. This is just one measure VW has taken, in addition to manufacturing Amarok in Argentina for South American and world markets, to keep the Amarok price competitive with the Toyota Hi-Lux.
Inside Line said the only body style available at the launch of Amarok would be a crew cab equipped with a single power plant, a 2.0-liter twin-turbo 4-cylinder diesel rated for 161 horsepower at 4000 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at a very accessible 1500 rpm. The Amorok will be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, though VW is considering offering an efficient dual-clutch automated manual tranny. DSG, anyone? These power figures compare favorably with the Hi-Lux's 3.0-liter in-line 4-cylinder, which is good for 172 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque at 1400 rpm. VW is reportedly considering two additional engine offerings for the Amarok: a single-turbo, 2.0-liter, in-line 4-cylinder diesel (120 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque) and a 2.0-liter gas engine (158 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque).
The interesting thing I found in Inside Line’s post is that VW’s brass did not completely poo-poo the possibility of bringing the Amarok to the U.S. market. While the official word for now is definitely a big “NO,” there does appear to be a way that VW might be able to bring the Amarok stateside and sell it at a relatively competitive price. As it stands, the U.S. “chicken tax” levied on imported pickups would effectively price the Amarok out of its market.
Inside Line pointed out that with VW opening a new factor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, there remains the possibility that VW could import the Amarok as a “kit” shipped from Argentina and do the assembly right here in the good old U.S. For those who think a VW pickup would be totally out of place here in the U.S. market, allow me to remind everyone that VW explored the pickup concept years ago here with a pickup offering based on the VW Golf/Rabbit.
source: Popular MechanicsEnlarge Photo
I’d say it’s still a longshot that we’ll ever see an Amarok at a U.S. VW dealer, but one can hope! Check out the rest of Inside Line’s excellent review at the link below.
[Source: Inside Line]