Is a Diesel V6 Volkswagen Amarok Pickup Right for America?
Getting denied the cars you want by the automakers who manufacture them is kind of like watching your older sibling eat ice cream in front of you purely because your parental units felt that you probably wouldn’t like it. Remember when we covered those six Hondas that Americans were denied outright? Since Volkswagen and many other automakers like to play this wicked game too, let’s focus on a brilliant little redesigned German turbo diesel pickup today.
According to the British automotive publication Car Magazine, for the first time in history, the pickup known as the Amarok will be available with a trio of 3.0-liter V6 TDI motors. In true diesel fashion, these powerplants won’t be top-end tyrants with just 161, 201, and 221 respective horsepower. But with the most capable engine option cranking out an earth-pounding 405 pound-feet of torque and a trifecta of complimentary drivetrains underneath up for grabs, we could care less about the horsepower numbers.
The Amarok can be had with either a rear-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive system that are complimented by a six-speed manual, or a version that features permanent all-wheel drive via a Torsen differential and an eight-speed automatic. The latter supposedly gets around a 31 mile per gallon average, while the most potent motor features a towing capacity that tops out at a solid 3.92 tons, making it the torquiest pickup in countries like Britain.
While some European and British buyers may bitch that the styling of the truck remains almost identical to its predecessor, there are a plethora of cool updates on this thing that are worth mentioning. For 2016, the Amarok gets 14-way adjustable seats, an upgraded “Climatronic” ventilation system, and some sharp shifting paddle-shifters along the steering column.
With its snazzy looking 20-inch wheels, upgraded infotainment system, and updated safety goods like post-collision braking, stability control, parking sensors, and an armada of cameras, this pickup offers a lot more than just some Euro flair. So why can’t we get it again?
America’s burning fixation with pickup trucks refuses to be extinguished because even though most of us will never move farm tools, tow livestock, or haul mountains of manure in the back of the bed, we still want them. Prius owners complain about wasted fossil fuels all the way up until it’s time to move, and then suddenly truck owners are their best friend, and the joy of tailgating is second to none when football season comes a calling.
So if American pickup sales are sky high, what’s holding Volkswagen back from giving us the Amarok? It’s got a badass name, a stylish exterior, plenty of desirable VW interior styling ques, multiple drivetrains, and all the power numbers in the right place. With Ford seriously considering the resurrection of the Ranger for North America, and Jeep tooling away on a Wrangler pickup, the segment seems ripe for newcomers.
As it usually does, it comes down to one thing: the Chicken tax. That vile, dated, petty legal obstruction that has kept us from getting the Amarok in the past, the Ford Ranger now, or the international Toyota Hilux (we have the Tacoma at least, so that doesn’t sting as much). Volkswagen could, ostensibly, build the Amarok in the U.S. and thus avoid the 25% tax imposed on the import of lightweight trucks, but the company — especially now in VW’s current operating climate — just isn’t prepared to open up a whole new production line at its facility in Tennessee.
If you really want to see an Amarok (or trucks like it) stateside, send a letter or place a call to your local representative in Washington.