Pickups are more popular than ever, giving buyers a plethora of options. There's a new Ford Ranger available alongside the similar Volkswagen Amarok. In their Raptor and PanAmericana guises, the two face off against the Toyota Hilux GR Sport in a series of drag races.
The Volkswagen Amarok PanAmericana packs a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel engine under the hood. It produces 240 horsepower and 442 pound-feet (600 Newton-meters) of torque that pairs with a 10-speed automatic gearbox.
Gallery: 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor
The Toyota Hilux GR Sport is significantly disadvantaged with its 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine. It makes just 204 hp and 368 lb-ft (500 Nm) of twist with a six-speed automatic between the engine and all-wheel-drive system. It is the lightest of the trio at 4,683 pounds (2,125 kilograms). The Amarok tips the scales at 5,061 lbs (2,296 kg).
The Ranger Raptor is the chunky one in this battle at 5,410 lbs (2,454 kg), but it also has the most power to motivate its mass. Under the hood is the Blue Oval's twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine churning out 292 hp and 362 lb-ft (491 Nm) of torque through its 10-speed auto gearbox.
The Ranger's power advantage helped it win every drag race, including the two rolling ones. The Volkswagen struggled in the first race with a third-place finish, but it took second in the rest, with the Hilux bringing up the rear.
The Ranger Raptor completed the quarter-mile in 16.0 seconds. It took the Volkswagen 17.1 seconds, while the Toyota needed 17.7 seconds to finish the race. The only segment the Ranger lost was the brake test at the end, which the Volkswagen won.
The three pickups are the latest examples of the segment's popularity. The new VW Amarok and Ford Ranger share a platform as part of a larger agreement between the two automakers, but both companies did a lot of work to differentiate the two trucks.
The Ford Ranger Raptor offered across the pond also doesn't make as much power as the American version. In the US, the Raptor debuted earlier this year with the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, but making 405 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque.
When Volkswagen revealed the second-generation Amarok last July, it also introduced the off-road-oriented PanAMericana variant, which isn't a Ranger Raptor competitor and is the only variant available in the lineup to come standard with a rear differential lock.
Gallery: 2024 Ford Ranger (North America)
Just before Ford revealed the European Ranger Raptor in February 2022, Toyota updated the Hilux GR Sport, which the automaker has offered since 2018. The pickup got a power bump but still pales compared to the potent Ford, which handily trounced it and the Amarok in this fight.
We could see even more competition in this segment in the coming years. Trucks of all sizes remain popular, and mid-size ones are a happy medium for many people, even though the Toyota Tacoma dominates the market in the US. However, buyers shouldn't expect to see the Amarok in US dealers anytime soon as VW has no plan to offer it in North America.
That doesn't mean VW has ruled out bringing a truck to the US. One is under consideration and won't have combustion power under the hood. A plug-in hybrid or all-electric truck is likelier, with the company set to decide before the end of the year, which could spice up the segment.