Artwork puts new Amarok in the picture

VW is saying the updated Amarok will deliver ‘significant’ revisions, but they’ve yet to be more specific.

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IT’S utterly accurate to suggest that information being imparted by Volkswagen in respect to the impending all-important update for the Amarok is still quite sketchy.

The design sketches seen here today are intended as the first stage of a progressive release of detail regarding changes that have gone into the refreshed dual-cab utility, ahead of its potential local market release toward the end of this year.

The preview images suggest the one-tonne traydeck will adopt more revisions within than on the outside.

Amarok’s current design,as represented by the silver vehicle below, has never changed much since it first shoved that stubby snout into Kiwi territory back in 2009.  And it doesn’t look like changing radically going forward.

Redesigned lights, a different bumper design and perhaps a new bonnet seem to be the extent of change to the exterior. It’s a mid-life facelift, so the dimensions remain the same - 5.25 metres long, 2.23 metres wide, with a load bay capacity of 2.52 square-metres.

The cabin, though, seems set to pick up a cleaner design. The presence of a modified instrument panel that includes a touchscreen infotainment system suggests it might effectively assume the same look that comes to the latest VW passenger cars.

VW says the new interior is “designed to thrill”, citing the modified instrument panel and new dashboard as presenting an emphasis on horizontal lines and a “clear division of the surface areas and the precision achieved in the folds and edges”.

“Rejecting round contours and concentrating on horizontal and vertical lines makes the front and interior appear more striking and pronounced. They make the Amarok more attractive as a pick-up and also appeal to customer groups that until now have shopped in the classic SUV segment,” a statement from the brand read. Yeah, designer-talk, you just can’t beat it.

Further, the company has said that the new interior will “become much more attractive to former SUV buyers”.

In respect the the exterior tweaks, it cites that the new model will debut an updated front-end design that is said to “emphasise the powerful Amarok look”, while the “wheel rim sizes of the Amarok’s different equipment levels are considerably increased and strengthen the appearance of the power athlete”. Which means?

We’re reading all that as an indication there will be much bigger wheel and tyre packages, and sportier exterior finishes.

Anyway, while that’s great to note, potentially the biggest question that might be asked might be about something else entirely.

Amarok has stood out within the ute crowd here by having an engine that, while pretty decent for brawn, is nonetheless also the smallest in the field. So, with VW also promising that this refresh will deliver significant revisions, is this a hint that there’s going to be a large scale change under the bonnet?

VW’s commitment brand’s to big-hearted but small capacity engines has always been firm. Yet it has in the past hinted that there is potential that the model might break away from the current sole offer of a 2.0-litre biturbo diesel in two states of tune, the most relevant – since it’s in the all-wheel-drive product – being the 132kW/420Nm unit.

There’s always been talk that the truck would be even better with something like the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel from the Touareg sports utility. VW has previously suggested it has trialled Amaroks with this unit and, yes, the market condition for an engine that makes Amarok even more muscled in terms of towing and performance seems right.

There’s been a lot of conjecture about what sort of sales a six-pot Amarok presenting its optimum 180kW and 550Nm could steal from the market-dominating 3.2-litre five-cylinder Ford Ranger and its nearest rival, the 2.8-litre four-cylinder Toyota Hilux.

VW is not yet keen to say if it is finally set to offer a more powerful, larger engine. What it has made clear is that a 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo engine will remain as part of the range in some capacity. There’s thought, though, that the model might go to the newer, more potent and more parsimonious EA288 unit.

Meantime, while VW has been manufacturing this model in Hanover since 2012, it seems likely the NZ-market stock will continue to source from Argentina.