Head to Head: Volkswagen Amarok 580TDI v Ford Ranger Wildtrak
There has always been battles for bragging rights among key segments of the automotive landscape.
But power wars have generally been the domain of sports cars with never-ending tussles for one-upmanship and a mine’s-bigger-than-yours mentality to power outputs.
As Australian’s tastes have shifted drastically in the last decade, swinging away from V8-powered muscle cars to high-riding, jack-of-all-trade dual-cab utes, the power war has moved with them.
And Volkswagen is siezing the opportunity with an updated to Australias most powerful ute, the Amarok V6, with a new flagship variant that brings - you guessed it - even more power.
To find out if it actually needed any more grunt, is better - or worse - because of it and is worth paying the premium for, we put the Amarok 580TDI Utlimate up against one of the countrys most popular dual-cab utes, and the winner of Drives 2018 Best Recreational Ute in our inaugural Commercial Vehicle of the Year awards, the recently-updated Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
How do they compare on price?
The Ranger Wildtrak was, not so long ago, the most expensive dual-cab ute you could buy, stretching the boundaries of the segment by costing the same as a genuine luxury car.
Now, however, it looks like a bargain, at $63,990 for the 2.0-litre twin-turbo model we’re testing with a standard 10-speed automatic. A 3.2-litre five-cylinder version with a six-speed manual can be had for less, at $60,990, with a six-speed automatic available as an option for an additional $2200.
Similarly, there are more affordable versions of the V6-powered Amarok but the new 580TDI Ultimate we’re testing here is, like the Wildtrak, the range-topping model and costs $71,990 (plus on-roads).
That is a lot of cash to splash on what is essentially a well-groomed workhorse, but both the Ranger Wildtrak and Amarok Ultimate come fairly well equipped, including leather interior trim with electrically-adjustable and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and colour touchscreens with sat nav, Bluetooth, a reverse camera and smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android devices.
The Wildtrak wins a few more points with a standard roller shutter on its tray and a handy 230V power outlet in the rear of the centre console, but it only rides on 18-inch alloys compared to the Volksy’s 20’s.