We've known for a few years that the new Ford Ranger and the VW Amarok would share platforms. The two automakers inked a partnership deal a few years ago that saw the two working together on numerous next-gen products and sharing technologies, including the mid-size truck platform. The global Ford Ranger debuted late last year, but VW has yet to introduce the new Amarok, though spy shots show development is happening on the model.
The truck is completely covered in camouflage, so it's difficult to determine just how different it'll look from the Ranger. There are only so many ways to design a pickup, but there are some distinct changes on the Amarok that the camouflage can't hide.
Gallery: Volkswagen Amarok Spy Photos
The front end looks unique. VW appears to position the fog lights higher on Amarok's face, and the grille doesn't seem to extend into the headlight units. There's also a distinct hood line visible, different from the hood shape found on the Ranger.
The move to the Ranger platform means that the Amarok is larger and more capable than the model it replaces. Powering it will be an evolution of VW's 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, which should return 255 horsepower (190 kilowatts) and 428 pound-feet (580 Newton-meters) of torque. It's unclear what transmission will pair to the engine. The truck could get other powertrains, but we don't expect VW to offer it in the US, so a turbodiesel might be the only choice VW offers.
The second-generation VW Amarok should debut in the coming months. There could be an even hotter Amarok R variant that would compete with the Ranger Raptor, but all we know right now is that VW is considering the model. The VW Amarok might not be a wholly distinct model, but VW might have killed it off if it wasn't for its partnership with Ford.