Meet The Rugged Volkswagen 4x4 That Could Have Been

An official VW render shows an off-road biased, SUV version of the Amarok pickup that never was
Volkswagen's render of an Amarok-based SUV
Volkswagen's render of an Amarok-based SUV

Ford and Volkswagen have been cosy with one another for a few years now, with the two mega-companies working together on a number of projects, mainly for the European market. The upcoming Ford Explorer electric crossover is built on the same VW-developed MEB platform that underpins the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq, and the Ford Tourneo Connect doesn’t do much to hide its origins as the VW Caddy.

The two have also collaborated on the latest versions of their mid-size pickups, the Ford Ranger and VW Amarok, which share a platform. This is where things get interesting: in certain markets, Ford sells something called the Everest, which is essentially a closed-back, SUV-ified version of the Ranger pickup.

What we have here, meanwhile, is a render of what looks a lot like a closed-back, SUV-ified version of the Amarok pickup, complete with an assortment of off-road goodies.

The render was shared in a LinkedIn post by Albert Kirzinger, head of design for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The post doesn’t give much away, with Kirzinger calling it “a sneak peek with a rendering featuring a fully closed pickup bed”. We wouldn’t get your hopes up for a production version though, as he also says it came from the “research phase back in the day”, so is presumably a rejected design.

Could it ever have been built? Who knows. We’d argue there’s a market for it: the Everest is one of a small handful of body-on-frame SUVs still on sale. This tougher construction method makes it a popular choice in remote areas with poor roads or vast expanses of wilderness, and Everests are a common site across Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

It’s not implausible that VW might have wanted a slice of that market, or even to bring something similar to Europe.

For whatever reason, though, it wasn’t to be. VW will eventually build a rugged 4x4 when it launches the first car from its new Scout brand in a couple of years, but that’ll be fully electric and likely North America-exclusive. For the rest of the world, anyone after a capable off-roader will need to look elsewhere.


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