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Future models - Volkswagen - Amarok

'Significant change' for updated VW Amarok powertrain

Rok and roll: The refreshed Amarok will be revealed in full soon and it is expected to gain a significant powertrain upgrade.

VW’s Amarok ute to get an upgrade this year, with a powertrain boost on the cards

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Volkswagen logo23 Apr 2016

SIGNFICANT drivetrain changes and some light visual tweaks are on the cards for the facelifted Volkswagen Amarok pick-up, due here before the end of the year.

The German automotive giant released three teaser sketches of the mildly updated Amarok ahead of further announcements early next month, with the images displayed a sharper but still masculine exterior and an updated interior to bring it closer to the brand’s passenger car range.

VW is aiming to appeal to a broader cross-section of buyers with its updated Amarok, which will also include “considerable increases” in wheel sizes.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles press manager product communications Andreas Gottwald said one of the goals of the facelift was to give the pick-up a more masculine – but not aggressive – appearance.

“With the more SUV-like interior, we also like to attract a broader customer group, classical SUV-buyers so to say, as well,” he said.

Changes under the skin have not been revealed but a significant drivetrain announcement can be expected soon, according to Mr Gottwald.

“Yes, but we will only talk about that on the 2nd of May and later on, let me assure you there will be a significant change, also in Australia,” he said by email.

Given the likelihood of larger-engined opposition from Mercedes-Benz and Renault’s future versions of the Nissan NP300 Navara, with reports of V6 turbo-diesel drivetrains, other powerplants sourced from elsewhere in the VW family could be a possibility.

Volkswagen Australia director of commercial vehicles Carlos Santos said he was happy with the design of the updated vehicle.

“It’s along the family lines, it’s following the new Tiguan,” he said. “My understanding is that the external changes are not huge, but it does harden the car up – I’m super happy with it.”

Mr Santos said the new pick-up would be in production mid-year with a likely Australian arrival in November if everything goes to plan.

“It hasn’t entered production yet and we’re expecting more announcements in May, but we don’t have a lot more information yet.”

The update inside and out was welcome news to Australia given the competitiveness of the segment, but Mr Santos said the current car was still performing well in the sales race, with 2179 4x4 models sold (up 7.1 per cent) and 179 4x2 utes sold so far this year, the latter a 105.7 per cent increase on the same period in 2015.

“The interior appears to be the major change, a new dash. It looks to be closer to the Passat’s dashboard, a more passenger-car oriented dash. That’s the areas of the car that needed the upgrade the most, it’s a welcome update,” Mr Santos said.

“Everybody can see that segment is growing. As more people look to that segment, it’s a flexible car that everyone wants – if you are not in that space you are not a complete car brand really, as it is such a big segment, particularly in Australia,” he said.

While Volkswagen Australia is happy with the current vehicle there is a belief that more could be sold, but Mr Santos stopped short of talking price points for the new vehicle.

“I think we should be selling more of them, to be honest, we’re working towards doing that. We have a good competitive position in the market now, we’re better value than we’ve ever been and as we enter the run-out period I think we’ll do well,” he said.

“Ideally it would be great to be at a similar price and value proposition as today but it’s a bit early to talk specifics on price.”

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GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.