At a meeting with journalists in Melbourne this week, VW executives admitted that plans for a wagon built on the ute’s ladder chassis underpinnings had been initiated back when the ute first launched in 2011. The plans had since been shelved, but they are now back on the table.
This turnaround comes with the introduction of the V6 TDI engine to the Amarok ute later this year.
At the meeting Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) commercial vehicles director, Carlos Santos, said: “There is some very serious development happening at the moment for an SUV based on Amarok, which will be quite a large passenger vehicle. The discussion has been reignited because this V6 engine is able to be sold in the US, whereas the 2.0-litre would never get into the States.”
The V6 TDI engine is already sold in the US in both the Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg.
This move will make the Amarok the only V6-powered offering in the one-tonne 4x4 ute segment in Australia. With 550Nm on tap it will also be the class leader for grunt, even if it still has a 3000kg tow rating; 500kg down on most of its competition.
Should an Amarok-based wagon eventuate it will land on the back of an SUV tsunami from VW, with new models replacing its Tiguan and Touareg wagons; plus there’ll be a new model in between the two and another one smaller than the Tiguan.
As the Amarok ute is currently one of the oldest utes available in its class, a new model is expected in the next two to three years. So any wagon would most likely be based on the second generation vehicle.
An Amarok wagon would compete with the likes of the Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner, Holden Trailblazer, Isuzu MU-X, and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport; all wagons built on one-tonne ute platforms.
Nissan seems to be the only manufacturer missing, with no confirmed plans for a Navara-based three-row wagon. It’s something the company will be missing now that the GU Patrol is on its way out of production.