Volkswagen Australia looks set to appeal to current petrol owners with the next-generation Amarok due in early 2023.

The 2023 Volkswagen Amarok dual-cab ute will include an optional 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine on the flagship Aventura, sitting beside the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 expected to account for a significant majority of sales.

It produces 222kW and 452Nm, compared to 184kW and 600Nm for the V6 diesel. Both engines are matched with a 10-speed torque converter automatic transmission, with full-time four-wheel drive and low-range.

These engines are shared with its twin-under-the-skin, the Ford Ranger, but the Ford-sourced turbo-four – as found in the Mustang and Focus ST – is not available with Australia’s diesel-only Ranger.

According to local Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles director Ryan Davies, the interest in the petrol engine has been greater than anticipated, with the potential for its availability to expand beyond the range-topping variant.

“When we initially looked at it, we thought it was an interesting engine, but we may have slightly under-called the mix of that car. It seems to be a lot more interest in that engine than we anticipated,” he said.

“You have to remember that predominantly we’ve been an 85-90 per cent V6 diesel model for quite some time, so we obviously thought that we’re going to continue to be dominant in that V6 diesel category.

“But there has been a lot of interest in the petrol engine from customers but also, funnily enough, from journalists, so it’s interesting.”

However, the executive quickly emphasised the popularity of diesel engines in the dual-cab ute segment, where strong performance and a 3.5-tonne towing capacity are lauded by customers.

“In that market, a lot of people tow. And a lot of people that tow want diesel, and they want V6 diesel. And the reason they want that is because they need the power to be able to tow, but also the range, and I’m not sure that petrol gives you that type of range if you’re towing,” said Davies.

So, who exactly would be interested in a turbo-petrol dual-cab?

Volkswagen Australia spokesperson Dan DeGasperi said it would appeal to current Volkswagen passenger vehicle drivers, and those who need the practicality of a ute without towing, off-road or long-distance requirements.

“In terms of the turbo-petrol four-cylinder, however, this Amarok does give us an opportunity to speak even more to current Volkswagen [passenger vehicle] owners, potentially, than [the previous] generation of Amarok,” he said.

“Volkswagen is renowned for… petrol engines in the Australian market, so there’s potential of some crossover there for people who aren’t buying this car to tow or to go off-road, or so on. But they might be a sole trader, and they might have a family, and they want the added refinement and quietness of a petrol.”

2023 Volkswagen Amarok: What’s coming to Australia

As reported, the 2023 Volkswagen Amarok will arrive in Australian showrooms in the first half of 2023, with full details – including pricing – expected in the coming weeks.

Five grades – Amarok, Life, Style, PanAmericana and Aventura – will be offered, with four engines: a single- or twin-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel, a single-turbo 3.0-litre V6 diesel and a single-turbo 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol.

“We know it’s definitely in the four digits in terms of pre-orders, but nothing’s committed until you’ve got a final price and specification, and then ultimately, allocation of cars,” added Davies.

It will be exclusively offered in a four-wheel drive dual-cab ute body, with single-cab and cab-chassis variants ruled out.

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