VW Amarok vs Ford Ranger: Are They the Same Vehicle?

Ford Ranger VW VW Amarok

VW Amarok vs Ford Ranger: Are They the Same Vehicle?

In the competitive world of pick-up trucks, the showdown between the VW Amarok and Ford Ranger has sparked interest and debate among automotive enthusiasts and potential buyers alike. Both models boast an impressive array of features including notable towing capacity, advanced infotainment systems, and robust engine options, making the choice between them a topic of considerable importance. With the Volkswagen Amarok 2023 edition making waves with its updated design and features, it’s crucial to delve into a detailed comparison to see how these two stalwarts stack up against each other, especially when it comes to crucial aspects such as payload capacity and the addition of a tow bar or trailer brake controller.

This article aims to provide a thorough comparison of the VW Amarok vs Ford Ranger, covering everything from design and exterior features to interior comfort, performance, and engine options. It will also explore the technology and safety aspects of each vehicle, offering insights into their infotainment systems and towing capacities. Furthermore, a price comparison will highlight the value for money that each model presents, helping potential buyers make an informed decision. Through examining each of these key areas, this article will shed light on whether these two vehicles are indeed similar or if their differences are significant enough to sway your decision.

Vehicle Overview

Ford Ranger Overview

The Ford Ranger, known for its lineage with the globally best-selling F-150, brings a robust blend of functionality and comfort to the pick-up truck market. It stands out with its nimble handling, particularly noted for its precise steering and minimal body lean which is a significant advantage over competitors like the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max. The Ranger is available in various models including the utilitarian Single Cab and the more spacious Double Cab, with the high-end Wildtrak and Platinum versions offering a softer suspension tailored for on-road comfort.

Key features across the Ranger models include alloy wheels, body-coloured bumpers, and advanced utility options like the Easy Lift tailgate and Power Tailgate Lock. The XLT model, for instance, enhances the standard offering with additions such as a Quickclear heated windscreen and manual air conditioning, making it both a practical work tool and a comfortable vehicle for everyday driving.

VW Amarok Overview

The Volkswagen Amarok has undergone a significant transformation in its latest iteration, setting a high standard in the premium segment of commercial vehicles. With a length of 5,350mm and a wheelbase extended by 173mm over its predecessor, the new Amarok offers more cabin space and enhanced off-road capabilities, thanks to a higher slope angle and reduced body overhangs.

This model is available exclusively in a four-door Double Cab configuration, with engine options including a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and a more powerful 3.0-litre V6, both paired with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission. The Amarok stands out with its sophisticated interior that includes ambient lighting, a Harman Kardon sound system, and more than 25 new assistance systems enhancing both safety and driving comfort.

The exterior of the Amarok features distinctive styling with a high-set grille and unique C-shaped tail-lights, setting it apart from the Ranger despite their shared underpinnings. This model is particularly noted for its robustness and versatility, equipped to handle demanding off-road conditions with features like an increased fording depth and a variety of driving modes tailored for off-road use.

Both the Ford Ranger and VW Amarok are engineered to meet the demands of modern pick-up users, offering a blend of rugged capability and refined comfort that makes them leaders in their class.

Design and Exterior Features

Ford Ranger Exterior Design

The Ford Ranger’s design evolution emphasises a broader stance compared to its predecessor, enhancing both aesthetic appeal and functional utility. The increased width not only contributes to a more assertive appearance but also increases the load box area, now spacious enough to accommodate a standard Euro pallet. The new load bed liner moulding provides added protection, highlighting the vehicle’s readiness for rugged use.

Distinctive features such as the Easy Lift tailgate, which simplifies access to the load area by making the tailgate feel significantly lighter, and the versatile cargo management system, enhance practicality. This system includes internal rails with spring-loaded cleats, allowing for secure and flexible cargo arrangement. Moreover, the integration of an onboard inverter supplies power directly from the load box, supporting the use of electric tools or appliances on the go.

The Ranger’s exterior is further distinguished by its innovative rear bumper design, which includes integrated foot steps for easier access to the load box. These design elements are complemented by a unique roof rack and sliding load hoop system, which facilitates the transportation of longer items like ladders or canoes, underscoring the vehicle’s versatility and functionality.

VW Amarok Exterior Design

The Volkswagen Amarok has been thoroughly redesigned to project a more robust and confident stance. Its exterior is marked by powerful, clear contours and a slightly wider wheelbase, which not only enhances its off-road capability with a higher slope angle but also gives it a more rugged look. The vehicle’s length and increased wheelbase reduce body overhangs, improving its off-road dynamics and aesthetic balance.

Volkswagen offers a variety of front designs for the Amarok, allowing for a high degree of personalisation. Each model, from the Amarok Style to the Amarok Life, boasts unique styling elements that ensure it stands out, whether navigating urban landscapes or rugged terrain. The Amarok Style, for instance, is as comfortable splashing through mud as it is cruising city streets, while the Amarok Life is designed to effortlessly tackle off-road challenges without compromising on comfort.

The design ethos of the Amarok is not just about visual appeal but also about maintaining the distinctive DNA of Volkswagen’s vehicles. This commitment is evident in the consistent display logic across the VW range, ensuring that customers transitioning from other VW models will find the Amarok’s systems familiar and intuitive. This approach reflects Volkswagen’s philosophy of blending comfort, functionality, and style in a seamless automotive experience.

Interior and Comfort

Ford Ranger Interior Features

The Ford Ranger’s interior is designed to provide a seamless blend of functionality and comfort. The introduction of the E-Shifter with the 10-speed automatic transmission offers a more intuitive driving experience by replacing the traditional gear lever, which, alongside the electronic parking brake and a rotary dial for the Terrain Management System, results in a cleaner, less cluttered central console.

Comfort is paramount in the Ranger, with Dual-zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control allowing both the driver and front passenger to set and maintain individual preferred temperatures. For added convenience, the system can be controlled via the SYNC screen or remotely through the FordPass App. The Ranger also features zone lighting, which is ideal for illuminating the area around the vehicle during night-time activities such as setting up camp or continuing work after dark.

The ergonomically designed front seats in the Ranger provide optimal support, with options ranging from 6-way to 10-way power adjustments, including lumbar support, to ensure comfort during long drives. Higher specification models boast partial-leather trim with contrast stitching, a leather heated steering wheel, and heated driver and passenger seats, enhancing the overall luxury feel of the vehicle.

VW Amarok Interior Features

The Volkswagen Amarok sets a high standard for interior comfort and sophistication in the pick-up truck market. In its latest iteration, the Amarok impresses with its premium character, visible through high-level equipment that ensures first-class comfort. This includes smart infotainment and state-of-the-art driver assistance systems, making the Amarok not just a utility vehicle but a pleasure to drive.

The Amarok’s interior is well-appointed, featuring a Harman Kardon stereo system, SatNav, and an adaptive cruise control for a relaxed driving experience. The vehicle also includes practical features such as a differential lock, towbar preparation, and LED cargo area lighting. The Amarok provides a unique blend of functionality and luxury with its leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, leather seats, and additional interior lights, lashing points, and sockets for increased utility.

The Amarok’s supportive seats and SUV-like driving position contribute to its comfort, especially on long trips. Its smooth and quick eight-speed automatic transmission not only enhances the driving experience but also facilitates easier towing of heavy loads. The interior design, while maintaining traditional round dials, distinguishes itself from the Ranger’s more technology-oriented look, offering a balance of classic and modern elements that cater to various preferences.

Performance and Engine Options

Ford Ranger Engines

The Ford Ranger offers a selection of robust engines, starting with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, available in either 168bhp or 202bhp configurations, known as EcoBlue 170 and EcoBlue 205 respectively. The top of the range features a 237bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel, badged EcoBlue V6 240, which provides a smoother ride with its increased power. The entry-level engine is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the more powerful options come with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This gearbox is noted for its ability to enhance low-speed acceleration while also maximising fuel efficiency at higher speeds. The upcoming PHEV version, expected in 2025, will combine a 2.3-litre petrol engine with an electric motor, offering an electric-only range of around 27 miles, impressive given the vehicle’s size.

VW Amarok Engines

The VW Amarok shares its engine lineup with the Ford Ranger, featuring a base 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel with a six-speed manual gearbox. A more potent 202bhp version of this engine includes a 10-speed automatic gearbox, and at the top of the range, the Amarok boasts a 237bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel, also with an automatic gearbox. While the 3.0-litre V6 doesn’t significantly enhance performance or towing capacity over the mid-range 202bhp engine, its capability to pull smoothly from low speeds makes it a desirable option for those prioritising power. The Amarok’s 3.0-litre V6 engine is particularly noteworthy for its refinement and torque, despite lacking the mild-hybrid technology found in some competitors. This engine is capable of accelerating the Amarok to 62mph in less than 9.0 seconds, demonstrating its robust performance.

In summary, both the Ford Ranger and VW Amarok offer a range of diesel engines that cater to various needs, from economical daily driving to powerful load-carrying and towing capabilities. The choice between these engines will largely depend on the buyer’s specific requirements regarding power, economy, and price.

Technology and Safety

Ford Ranger Technology

The Ford Ranger is equipped with the latest SYNC 4 infotainment system, which is displayed on a large touchscreen, reminiscent of the one found in the Ford Mustang Mach-E. This system ensures that all Rangers, regardless of the trim level, have access to modern connectivity and control features. Lower trims feature a 10.1-inch screen, while the Wildtrak and higher models boast a more expansive 12.0-inch display. The system is intuitive, with climate functions permanently displayed at the screen’s bottom, supplemented by a set of physical controls for ease of use.

Safety technology in the Ranger is comprehensive. The vehicle includes several airbags, seatbelt reminders, ABS, and Ford’s ESP+ stability control system. Additionally, it offers collision mitigation, speed sign recognition, and a lane keeping aid. The Pro Trailer Backup Assist enhances towing safety, allowing drivers to steer the trailer via the rear camera view. For higher visibility and safety during parking, the Wildtrak models are equipped with a 360-degree camera system and front and rear parking sensors.

VW Amarok Technology

Volkswagen Amarok showcases significant advancements in vehicle technology, aligning it with premium SUVs in terms of onboard tech offerings. The Amarok features a large 12-inch digital instrument cluster that can be controlled via steering wheel buttons, displaying navigation, audio information, and off-road data. The infotainment system, notably in the PanAmericana model, includes a 12-inch touchscreen with a portrait layout that allows for dual-zone information display, enhancing usability. This system supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and for charging, there are USB-A and USB-C sockets, along with a wireless charging pad.

Safety technologies in the Amarok are robust, with standard features across all models including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. Higher-spec models add a 360-degree camera system, park assist with rear traffic alert, and Volkswagen’s Park Assist Plus system for semi-autonomous manoeuvring. The Amarok also includes innovative safety features such as a nose-mounted camera with its own washer jet to maintain visibility, ensuring comprehensive safety coverage even in challenging driving conditions.

Pricing and Value for Money

Ford Ranger Pricing

The Ford Ranger offers a variety of pricing options depending on the model and specifications chosen. The mid-spec Wildtrak version, equipped with either a four-cylinder or a V6 diesel engine, is priced competitively. The four-cylinder model starts at £40,221, while the more powerful V6 variant is available at £44,721. These prices position the Ranger as an attractive option in the pick-up truck market, often undercutting its direct competitors. Additionally, the Sport variant, popular for its value-for-money proposition, starts at $65,890 (excluding on-road costs) for the 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel, with the 3.0-litre V6 model priced slightly higher at $70,090.

VW Amarok Pricing

Volkswagen Amarok starts its pricing from £34,055 ex.VAT for the base model, escalating to £48,055 for the high-end V6 Aventura model. The mid-spec Style variant, equipped with a larger diesel engine, is priced at £45,005, which is slightly less than its equivalent Ford Ranger model. Despite its higher price point, the Amarok is noted for its more premium interior and is predicted to retain its value better than many of its competitors, which can make it a more appealing option in the long term. The Amarok Core model, available only with a TDI405 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, is listed at $55,490, representing a premium over similar models from Ford and other competitors.

Both vehicles offer distinct advantages in terms of pricing and value for money. The Ford Ranger appeals with its slightly lower price points and broad model range, catering to both budget-conscious buyers and those seeking more power and features. On the other hand, the Volkswagen Amarok, with its higher initial cost, counters with a superior interior and better value retention, making it a compelling choice for those considering long-term ownership and usage benefits.


Through detailed exploration, this article has identified and compared the salient features, designs, performance capabilities, and technological advancements of the VW Amarok and Ford Ranger, unveiling the unique aspects that set these formidable pick-up trucks apart. While both vehicles dazzle with impressive towing capacities, upscale interiors, and a suite of safety and infotainment technologies, it is the distinct nuances in performance, design, and pricing strategies that delineate their market placement. Thus, potential buyers are equipped with a comprehensive understanding, ensuring informed decisions based on specific needs, preferences, and budget considerations.

The comparative analysis underscores a broader implication: the choice between the VW Amarok and the Ford Ranger transcends mere aesthetics, venturing into the realms of utility, comfort, and overall value. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, the significance of such thorough comparisons becomes increasingly essential, guiding consumers through a saturated market towards vehicles that not only meet but exceed their expectations. Consequently, further research or a personal assessment might prove invaluable for those on the verge of making this significant investment, prompting a deeper dive into the nuances that define an ideal pick-up truck.


Is the VW Amarok produced by Ford?
The second-generation Amarok, launched on 7 July 2022, was designed and conceived in Germany and Australia. It is manufactured by Ford at their assembly plant in Silverton, South Africa. This model shares the platform of the new Ford Ranger as a result of the 2019 Ford-VW global alliance cooperation agreement.

Does the Ford Ranger simply have a different badge than the Amarok?
Volkswagen executives have clarified that the new Amarok is not just a rebadged version of the Ford Ranger. They emphasised that almost every component visible to the customer on the Amarok is specifically designed for Volkswagen, making it distinct.

What vehicles are comparable to the Ford Ranger?
Vehicles similar to the 2024 Ford Ranger include the latest models of Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. These competitors are notable for their robust off-road capabilities, factory lift kits, and advanced technology features.

Why did VW discontinue the Amarok?
Volkswagen discontinued the Amarok pick-up in 2020 to shift focus towards producing electric vehicles, specifically the electric ID series. However, due to popular demand, VW has confirmed the return of the Amarok, much to the delight of its fans.

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