VW Amarok Wins the International Pickup Truck of the Year Award

VW Amarok Wins the International Pickup Truck of the Year Award
By Robby DeGraff

The Volkswagen Amarok was named International Pickup Truck of the Year from MotorTransport, a U.K. newspaper dedicated to everything trucks, during the IAA Commercial Truck trade show last week in Hanover, Germany.

Heavy-duty and consumer truck manufacturers from around the world displayed their newest models and technology at the large annual expo. Testers judged the performance of seven globally sold pickup trucks from automakers such as Isuzu, Mazda, Nissan, Ford, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen. Through extensive on- and off-road tests at Mondello Park in Kildare, Ireland, the testers narrowed the field down to a few podium place winners.

Because of the so-called U.S. “chicken tax,” which slaps a 25 percent tariff on trucks built and imported from most countries outside the U.S., the Nissan Frontier, Suzuki Equator and GM’s midsize truck twins are the closest you can come to buying any of these capable small pickups domestically. Even then, you’d still be missing the diesel engines that power these trucks overseas because of diesel’s high cost and emissions regulations in the U.S.

Mazda/Ford brought out the latest European-spec Ranger/BT50 — which is due to be replaced next year by an all-new truck— touting its durability and responsive engine. Toyota’s Hilux pickup truck lagged behind other newer models. Nissan’s Navara midsize pickup truck — which is strikingly identical to the U.S.-spec Nissan Frontier and its cousin, the Suzuki Equator — won highly in terms of styling points and interior design and comfort, but it lost some points in ground clearance during the deep off-road tests. Isuzu’s D-Max, which shares a platform with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, may not be the best looking, but it was surely one of the best performing and what jury members called "very impressive" in terms hardcore off-roading. Mitsubishi’s L200 was the most powerful pickup in the competition at 175 horsepower, and its overall off-road driving comfort was nearly unmatched.

The Amarok earned the top honor from MotorTransport, the first time the publication has ever given the award.

Introduced in 2009, the Argentina-built Amarok proved its off-road capability by landing a role as the key support vehicle in the challenging 2010 Dakar Rally. Powered by a turbo-diesel 2.0-liter engine, the Amarok can be equipped with two-, four- or all-wheel drive. Buyers can choose from a single or double cab, along with three trim levels.

Testers at MotorSport were eager to drive the new Amarok on the test grounds and praised it for its well appointed and spacious cabin. Despite the Amarok’s victory, jury members said its overall off-road performance needs to be improved to be a stand-out among the competition.


they should bring that truck over to North America. Nuff said

I'm not surprised by this trucks win. It has a lot of great attributes. I would call it more of a midsized truck. It has 3/4 ton capability and a diesel engine to boot! How could it lose?

Why is it so tough? Put the already EPA blessed Jetta diesel engine in it with a little more torque and sell the darn thing here. What am I missing?

Ahh yes, the motherducken EPA screws us over again!!!

Thank you U.S. goverment!

If they brought this VW truck to US and Canada, Mahindra truck sales would be in the crapper. We know the fit and finish would be superior and a proven diesel engine.

Exerpt -so-called U.S. “chicken tax,” which slaps a 25 percent tariff on trucks
Exerpt - because of diesel’s high cost and emissions regulations in the U.S.

Get rid of these two obstacles and the small truck market would be reborn.

Why do governments have the need to protect us from ourselves or the big bad world?

Good job Toyota!

VW learned from the re-badged Hi-Lux's you sold them...

Oxi, Keep praising Toyota on every story. The next story may be on how many mpgs the Ford EcoBoost gets, but praise Toyota on it anyway.

How could it beat out Mahideous' world dominating pikup? :)

Looks great. If only they built them in the US!!!

You do realize that the VW amarok is a $34,000+ truck with a 9000lb tow capacity in a midsize chassis well equipped. Right?

Mahindra is a $22,000 midsized truck barebones for the discount work market.

They are similar in size but the markets they are aimed at are totally different.

Probably the most pick-up truck orientated country in the world doesn't sell the VW Amarok?? Hmmm.....

Madindra pricing is expected to start around $22,000. add $4000 = 26,000. Still way too much money for a base model truck.

As for Amarok, keep in mind European prices and American prices are not directly comparable.

For example, in Germany a BMW M3 Coupe starts at 68.350,– Eur, which is $91,807.60 U.S. when converted.

The same car, in the United States, starts at $58,400.

Europeans pay a lot more for the same vehicle than we do.

The Amarok would not carry a starting M.S.R.P. anywhere near $35,000 if it were brought over here.


Toyota helped to create this VW pickup. I saw re-badged Hi-Lux pickups with VW emblems in Greece a few years back...

Just like Isuzu helped to create the S-10...

Just like Mazda helped to create the Ranger...

Just like Mitsubishi helped to create the Dakota...

Toyota and Nissan made their own pickups!


As much as I love my Tacoma, there are some things that a fullsize are always going to do better. Full size trucks can tow more, have bigger more comfortable interiors, ride better, have bigger beds for hauling and they are better offroad....

Jay's Tacoma Offroad Carnage
Over the rocky hill , and thru the creek, to a broken axle shaft I go

I've own full size trucks but didn't need them, so I bought a Tacoma. It does a lot of things, but is not great when I have to tow another car on a trailer, load a huge couch, an apartment, or multiple atvs etc. My old 3/4 ton Ram was great for that and was much more stable towing a car.

and Oxi, the full size was better offroad. this Tacoma is not good offroad. I'm sure I could spend $36k for a new Tacoma TX Pro with a locker but at that price I might as well buy a Raptor.

if VW Amarok will take gasoline V6 from VW Passat for US Market????

They need to bring that thing here, it could replace the ranger as america's favorite small truck.

The Chicken Tax is a sad relic of the days when politicians thought they had to protect the domestic market from the Japanese manufacturers. Sadly the only one to benefit was the Treasury Dept.

It appears the there is another wave of protectionism rolling over the country due to the current economy. If we begin another "trade war" once again the only one to benefit will be the Govt.

We have lived in a Global Economy for awhile, the sooner we realize it, the sooner we all benefit.

@mackintire :

That'll be the day that when a little Amarok safely tows 9000lbs. Your $34k price has equal hyperbole.

Mahindra's pikup is a cheap, 3rd world piece of dog doo-doo.

@CreigMac - my sentiments exactly.
Protectionism is very dangerous.
Politicians are invertebrates.
They are unable to do what is right - they do what is easy or only what looks right.

I beg to differ with Alex, this is NOT a re-badged Toyota, but rather a Nissan Frontier. Why can't VW build their OWN truck? Look what they did with the Routan...a revised Dodge Caravan...whoopty doo.


Are you for real that full-size are better off-road?

Did you bother to notice their size and weight for starters and how they lack proper ground clearance for their size and weight? I call it the sinking effect...

Full-size trucks are great for what they are meant to do and that is pull trailers and haul heavier payloads, they are not meant to off-road and I mean beyond some farm work or construction duties!

I just came back last weekend from an off-road event where close to 200 trail rigs showed up. Guess what, those pretty full-size trucks were pulling trailers with the trail rigs on them. NOBODY had a newer full-size pickup set up for off-road.

And the guys that brought those huge full-size trucks were set up with 40"+ tires for the mud. They never ventured on the trails, again too big and wide to run in the woods.

And I saw a full-size SUV with 38" tires being towed with a broken rear driveshaft and I can tell you ALL makes and models have broken off-road.

Have you ever even been off-road in your life?

The Tacoma is smaller, more nimbler and less weight with ideal ground clearance than a full-size! And I was the only IFS pickup on the trails, nobody has the confidence to run their precious full-size on the trails.

They don't run them because they are too wide and risk body damage, they weight too much thus would sink and get stuck easier and I may have a long wheelbase but those full-size are even bigger thus good luck trying to even get around a few trees on the trails.

Just keep em on the road where they belong!


The first VW pickups I saw in Europe a few years back were re-badges Toyota Hi-Lux pickups...


The 1st year I had my 2005 X-Runner I hauled the mother-in-law's full-size counch and love seat to the dump, same trip.

And just after I bought my 2010 Tacoma, less than 100 miles on her, I moved my entire 1,500 sq. foot house, everything with my taco!

Sure I made many trips but I had to break in the clutch and this was the perfect excuse to get it done. The entire house bud. Tacoma's can get jobs done, they are a pickup after all...

My recent off-roading trip to Dresser, WI, I was carrying 300 lbs. of weight in the bed while off-roading since I am in the planning stages of building an expedition/overland pickup that needs to carry weight off-road like camping, survival gear and fuel, etc...

I take off-roading seriously.

Jay's Tacoma Offroad Carnage
Over the rocky hill , and thru the creek, to a broken axle shaft I go

@oxi Mitsubushi didn't help Dodge do the Dakota, that was Dodge on it's own. No Mits engines either. You must be thinking of the D-50, which was Mits built. The Dak used built in the states 2.2s, 2.5s, 318s 3.9s (3/4 of a 318) 360s, and uses the homebuilt 4.7 and the poor 3.7 which we all can't wait for them to replace! It might be dependable, but it's a slug!-the 3.7-Oh, yeah, the Dak frame helped them build the Viper.


Do you want me to post all of the domestic brand pickups that break off-road?

Their would be quite a bit bud.

Good luck with taking your new full-size off-road where I went trail riding last weekend. Enjoy fixing the paint scratches and dents because you are too wide and how many times you hit underneath because of the size and weight to see if you could make it.

You probably would have been stuck in the water on the trails because your heavy full-size would have sunk to the point you would not be able to get out and then some guy in a little Jeep can gladly pull you out.

Good luck with your full-size and I am sure you will run 22" rims and have straight pipes and think you are all that likewise...

Ahhh they are all the same ...and they all have the same issues sooner than later. It's a truck like any other truck.

VW does admit to spending $$$ on re-engineering parts and pieces for the Routan, minimal in trems of new model engineering, but spending just the same in order to start playing the mini-van game.

I doubt that they would admit to re-badging anything related to the Amarok especially when the Touareg is a premium SUV with enough off-road ability to match the best Japan SUV's off road.

The info I have seen indicates the Amarok is a variation of the Touarge. Chek the specs regarding water fording, hil climbing and decent and keep in mind that "trails" is not what is considered the best use of a street vehicle with off road capability. Similar to the Amarok which is a 5 passenger load capable street truck with a certain degree of off road capability. Anyone with some brains will know this is nto a trials vehicle or a rock climber. Do you see a roll cage?

How can this be an International award when the truck is not available everywhere

@Jim how can this "International Pickup of the Year" not include the F150, Base Silverado and Dodge pickups? It would be nice to see the US vehicles included in next years shootout.

If this were available in US with diesel / 4wd I would be INTERESTED. Currently have a Tahoe. Great but looking for something mid sized and the styling on this is great.

People, the Amarok is an all new VW product. It's not a Toyota, Nissan, or anything other than a VW. Secondly, the Amarok is available in several countries already, South America, South Africa, shortly in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The American pick up is only really sold in the Americas. That's why they aren't included in the World Pick Up comp. By the way OXI we know it's not a Toyota, because it's been released for at least a couple of months, and hasn't been recalled yet.

Amazing, high milage and high torque, a Land Rover in contemporary apparel, the problem is that in the USA folks think V6s are better! i want this one!

Latest Australian review of the Amarok.

They should bring the vw truck back to America. I drove my Dad's VW pickup back in the '90's and it had been used quite a bit in MO before he moved to FL and driven a lot while he was FL, before moving back to MO. I loved driving it. It was great on the highway. Rode smooth. Did not ride like a small vehicle. I wish VW trucks were available in the US again. I thought they had quit making them


If you are referring to the little 4 cylinder VW front wheel drive pickup from back in the 1980s (like a Rabbit?) then there is a reason it's not available--it did not attract American buyers very effectively.

At that time Americans were obsessed with getting better gas mileage, so a small and versatile truck like the old VW should have been a huge hit. VW also had a large dealer network so their product should have put huge pressure on Ford, GM and Chrysler to market their own front-drive version of the Rabbit.

they did not. Instead, GM and Ford carved up that market with old school engineering and sold it in a smaller package. The Chevy S10 and Ford Ranger were very (profitable and) suitable options for American consumers wanting a cheap and durable 2 seat commuter.

VW floundered. VW product quality in the 1980s was not stellar and their prices were sure to confirm that only VW fans would buy another one. VW service departments were notorious for their high prices and lousy work.

Today, VW has the option of returning to North America with a competitive offering and has so far blamed the regulatory (and tariff) because their product cannot compete on value/price considerations.

Sadly, old VW pickups in nice condition are rare but if you can find one it should not be a difficult proposition to fix it us and make a fun commuter out of it.

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