Now, we’re not suggesting that the locally designed and engineered Ranger would have missed out on all the new features that have made headlines since Ford pulled the covers off the T6.2 project back in November, but their inclusion from the outset in the new Ranger and Everest may be so because they were also deemed essential in the new Amarok. Could they have been part of the terms and conditions of the pick-up truck partnership between the two automotive giants?
This is according to one Ford insider, who revealed that the Volkswagen involvement “helped get the V6 over the line”.
Read more about the Volkswagen Amarok
While it is likely that the Ford F150-sourced Power Stroke 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel was being considered for the new Ranger well before the new-gen Amarok arrived on the scene when preliminary work on P703 began in 2015, the extra tens of thousands of annual sales that the Volkswagen is expected to bring would certainly have boosted the business case for it.
This is especially so if the Amarok is positioned above the Ranger as a premium product. Given that the outgoing version has offered a V6 option to the standard four-cylinder engine since 2017, it is unlikely that Volkswagen would have settled for anything less – especially as at times the V6 accounted for over 80 per cent of all sales in Australia alone.
Furthermore, though its predecessor was not sold in the massive North American market, if the new Amarok was to make the journey to the United States, the inclusion of the larger engine would probably be non-negotiable.
But there are other aspects of the new Ranger that sound suspiciously Amarok influenced.
This includes the availability of an electronically controlled on-demand four-wheel drive system in some higher grades, providing full-time 4WD that varies drive to the front or rear wheels as required.
While not the same as the Amarok’s 4Motion system standard in all but the V6 Core version, it is of similar sophistication and capability compared to the old Ranger’s sole part-time 4×4 set-up that offers 4×2 (rear-drive), 4×4 Low range and 4×4 High range choices. And considering how highly-regarded the old Amarok’s on-road driving dynamics still are, the new model would have to at least match if not exceed its predecessor’s capabilities.
Still on technology, the new Ranger is now only matching the old Amarok in some safety tech, including post-collision braking and advanced anti-theft security.
Then there is the new Ranger’s increased payload capacity, that can now accommodate a full-sized ‘Euro’ pallet – again, matching the old Amarok. Like most mid-sized trucks, the previous Ford could not. And, again, we cannot see Volkswagen agreeing to concede one of the old Amarok’s biggest selling features in the new version.
Finally, there is the new Ranger’s dramatically improved interior design, quality and technologies, including the high-tech portrait touchscreen and all of the newfound driver-assist systems it supports. These are also in keeping with the Amarok’s premium positioning.
It’s also worth noting that Ford’s South African plant that will be the global source of Amarok II production has undergone an extensive and extremely expensive refurbishment to dramatically improve quality. Is it to meet Volkswagen’s high standards? Don’t bet against it.
Whether Volkswagen has helped push the new Ranger along in its coming adoption of electrification is not known, but with hybrid versions looming, it is possible that the added volume that the Amarok brings may have also sealed that deal for both trucks moving forward.
We might never know how much influence the German brand had in shaping the Ranger, but it seems that the new Ford is an even better medium-sized pick-up for having to meet Volkswagen’s expected wishlist of what it wants the next-gen Amarok to be.