How does the new VW Amarok V6 compare to the two-litre version of its sister vehicle, the Ford Ranger?

THE new VW Amarok pickup truck was developed as a joint project between VW and Ford. However, both the Amarok and Ford Ranger share the same production line in the same factory in South Africa. Both share the same engines and chassis etc, with only mild design differences to the body skins. The front design of the two vehicles is the most obvious difference. Strangely, the Amarok does not have the rear side step in the body which is very handy when the trucks are not fitted with a rear canopy. The interiors are very similar too.

There is currently a choice of two engines in the Amarok, both diesel Ford engines manufactured in the UK and shipped out: the 205 hp four-cylinder and the 236 hp V6. The previous Amarok was fitted with VW engines and the V6 was very popular.

Forestry Journal:  Fancy lights on this model. Fancy lights on this model. (Image: EW)

Both engines are mated to a Ford 10-speed automatic gearbox which changes gears very smoothly indeed. The two-litre engine is a little slow to accelerate but speedy enough once on the go, whereas the V6 does not feel slow and just gets on with the job of moving this heavy 2.5-tonne pickup. Naturally it sounds better than the four-cylinder engine, but not as much as expected. It is not what you would call fast as such, and not as powerful as the label suggests. It does not, for example, overtake with the same gusto as a Discovery would. However, it is very competent and a good all-rounder, though it does like a drink.

When I tested the two-litre Ranger it averaged about 32 mpg, but the V6 was around 22 mpg. I guess 25 mpg might be closer to what you would expect, if not doing high motorway speeds. No doubt both trucks will be heavier on the fuel when towing and doing hard off-road work, as is always the case.


Four-wheel drive is selected via a rotary controller providing four modes. As with most pickups it has a steel ladder-frame chassis and leaf rear springs and a live axle.

The Amarok I tested here is the top-of-the-range PanAmericana priced at £47,255 plus VAT, which comes fully loaded with a long list of standard items. It was also fitted with a rear box whose rear glass door/window is connected to the central locking.

Forestry Journal:  Traditional round dials separate it from the Ranger’s more tech look. Traditional round dials separate it from the Ranger’s more tech look. (Image: EW)

This V6 model accelerates from 0–60 mph in nine seconds, has an 80-litre fuel tank, 19-litre AdBlue tank, and comes with a three-year/100,000-mile warranty and 12-year body protection warranty too. It has a payload of 1,054 kg and can tow a 3,500 kg braked trailer. Standard wheels are 17” 255/70 R17, but this vehicle had 18” Amadora black alloy wheels. A tool kit, jack and full-size steel spare wheel are provided. The bright blue paint costs £600.

The vehicle is fitted with electronic stability control, lockable wheel nuts, Isofix child seat anchors, three head restraints in the second row of seats, anti-theft alarm with interior monitoring, back-up horn and towing protection. The glove box has illumination, and a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel complements the leather seats. However, a leather fillet on the door armrests looks out of place.

Forestry Journal: Workspace – lower door spring assisted.Workspace – lower door spring assisted. (Image: EW)

Standard equipment also includes a differential lock in the rear, towbar preparation, a fancy Harman Kardon stereo, SatNav, underride guard, LED cargo area lighting, area view 360 deg camera, adaptive cruise control, central locking system with keyless starting, lights and sockets in the rear, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

As with the Ranger, the Amarok is a long vehicle, being 5,390 mm in length, 1,910 mm wide including the side mirrors, and 1,884 mm tall. The interior has been well designed and is a comfortable place to be and work from. The suspension is designed for hard work and carrying loads, so when unloaded is a bit giddy, though it handles well and has good steering.

Forestry Journal: Interior lights, lashing points and sockets.Interior lights, lashing points and sockets. (Image: EW)

When testing the Amarok I jumped into a VW Touareg SUV and the difference was amazing. The Touareg is a much more refined and comfortable vehicle, but it’s not a workhorse pickup and costs from about £60,000.

The new Amarok is a good pickup but not unique anymore, sharing so much with the Ranger which to me is better looking. The V6 version is not as powerful as expected and uses a lot more fuel. No doubt it will be a better towing vehicle.

Happy motoring in 2024!