Motoring: All about the 2023 Amarok

Most, if not all, double cab enthusiasts are already aware that the Ford Motor Group produces the new Volkswagen Amarok in Silverton and that it is built on the acclaimed Ranger platform.

VOLKSWAGEN’S new Amarok, which now shares some DNA with it’s up and up, the Ford Ranger, is a strong rival in the very competitive double cab market.

It is, especially great when dressed in Pan-Americana garb. To determine how much the Amarok has acquired from its blue oval sibling, I spent a few days putting it through its paces in South Africa.


Most, if not all, double cab enthusiasts are already aware that the Ford Motor Group produces the new Volkswagen Amarok in Silverton and that it is built on the acclaimed Ranger platform.

But how much Ford is actually there in the Amarok? Since the announcement, this is the urgent question that has been on everyone's mind.

The 2023 Ford Ranger descended onto our markets like a cyclone, rocketing to the top of the sales charts, winning widespread acclaim, and even winning the Car of the Year award — a first in the competition's history in South Africa.

As a result, everyone was left in the dark about whether the new Amarok would simply be a Ford Ranger with a new paint job, as was the case with the Mercedes X Class-Nissan Navara fiasco from a few years ago, or whether it would be sufficiently different from the original double cab to justify a significant price difference.

To find out more, I drove the Pan-Americana model for a few days in and around Johannesburg.


The Amarok will initially look similar to the Ranger to the untrained eye because to their similar proportions, stance, and bodywork. However, with closer inspection, you will be able to distinguish the stark contrasts between the two vehicles.

Front-facing features including the grille, headlights, and trim are all distinctively Volkswagen. You can tell this is all VW thanks to the sleek LED headlights, grille that seems like it was taken from a Touareg, large VW insignia, and bright silver lower valance.

From the back, it is a little more challenging because there is not much to indicate that this is a VW product besides the embossed tailgate.

Others may disagree, but I believe VW has made just enough stylistic changes to the Amarok to differentiate it from other badge-engineered vehicles.

The Pan Americana kit's addition, which includes fashionable roll bars and 18" wheels, is also a lovely touch.

Space and interior

After spending a considerable amount of time with Ford's current lineup, it is fairly energising to open a door anticipating a particular type of interior fitment and be pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by a full leather interior similar to that seen in a VW SUV.

The center console and infotainment screen are unavoidably Ford components, but other than those two, the entire interior is Volkswagen, and I was pleasantly surprised by the seamless integration of the two.

Instead of feeling like one interior was simply layered over the other, it feels like a well-thought-out combination that stands alone.

Although not particularly comfortable, the double cab is functional in the way a double cab should be, with enough room for 5 full adults.

Comfort and convenience

The enormous 12' screen dominates the centre console, which is easily recognised as a Ford component, along with the switch gear, e-shifter, and dials.

However, the multifunction steering is a VW component. Climate control, heated seats, and provision for USB, 12v, and AC220v charging choices are all standard amenities.

The centre console, cubby, and door cards all have a tonne of storage space. Overall, the Amarok's interior is a terrific place to pass some time whether you are stuck in traffic for hours or driving across the veld.


Two engine choices for the Pan-Americana derivative are offered: a 3.0 V6 or a 2.0 BiTurbo, both mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The clever 10-speed and the now-familiar 2.0 were installed in my test Amarok. The 154kW and 500Nm configuration gave off a sense of familiarity, which was unmistakably Ford-like.

The ancient adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is applicable in this situation. The Ford drivetrain was already almost flawless, so why tinker with it?

Add the performance of the other underpinnings to this, and you have a car that can easily withstand VW's exacting criteria.

Fuel economy

Volkswagen advertises consumption statistics of 7.5 l/100 km, however my combined cycle testing in the real world on and offroad produced a result of 9.8 l/100 km. This is consistent with the testing I achieved when I drove the new Ford Ranger.


In the ANCAP, the 2023 Volkswagen Amarok received a favorable 5 stars. Numerous safety systems are included in this vehicle, including Lane Keeping Assist, ISOFix, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Hill Decent Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Traction and Stability Control, and 7 airbags.


The Amarok enters a competitive market where vehicles like the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max, Nissan Navara, and of course the Ford Ranger are the market leaders. Each of these cars has a premium version for affluent drivers who want a little more from their utility vehicle, and they are all equally capable.

My decision

The people who purchase them are typically quite brand loyal, which makes the double cab market a peculiar place. Toyota guys will drive a Hilux, and so on. Ford guys will be Ford.

With a car that has the engineering of a Ford but the appearance of a Volkswagen, Volkswagen has elbowed their way a spot at the table and may be able to steal a few customers from the other brands.

I admire what they did here, but it remains to be seen whether the Germans can develop a sense of humor and create a Raptor rival.

Its expected in Zimbabwe next year. -[email protected].


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