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Ford F150 takes on the VW Amarok

  1. In 2013, the Ford F-Series sold 763,402 units, more trucks than there are minutes in a year. This year - its 65th anniversary - it would qualify for a free bus pass. More remarkably, it has managed these astounding figures largely in the US, never bothering to conquer the rest of the world for a couple of simple reasons: firstly, the F-Series truck line is an American icon born directly from the unique needs of the United States, and secondly, it hasn’t really needed to. But Europe, over the past few years, has begun to sleepily awake to the phenomenon of the pickup truck. No longer are they the preserve of builders’ merchants and farmers. These days, they are crew cabs with car-like interiors and a thoroughly familiar ambience. A Golf driver would be more than at home in VW’s Amarok. And it’s here that the battle lines are drawn.

    VW is aiming to conquer the world with the Amarok, a pickup that suits a myriad of country profiles without change, a proper world car. It aims to reproduce the F-Series’s domestic ubiquity across the globe. But where the F-Series is a vehicle ideally suited to the environment in which it is marketed, the Amarok is a puzzle piece trying to fit several different jigsaws, a literal jack of all trades. So which is best? The old stager, revamped and refreshed endlessly to suit, or the new boy, fresh-faced and equipped with all the latest gadgets? Time to find out which has the gumption for the next half-century…

    Illustration: Ricardo Santos 

    This feature first appeared in Top Gear magazine

  2. Badge engineering

    Twenty-three different ‘new looks’ for the F150 badge were considered, before Ford settled on the new style. The car itself has 13 grille options and five unique headlamp combinations…

  3. Since 1948...

    …more than 33 million F-Series trucks have been produced. And that number keeps climbing. Obviously.

  4. 41 seconds

    On average, an F-Series was sold every 41 seconds in 2013. Which means that if you took all of up end-to-end, the traffic jam would stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic…

  5. The year 1948

    Ford has made F-Series trucks since 1948. The same year, NASCAR was founded, President Truman signed the order ending racial segregation in the USA, the first Land Rover was unveiled at the Amsterdam Motor Show and Albert I became the world’s first monkey astronaut. It’s been the best-selling truck in the US since Star Wars was No. 1 at the box office, and the best-selling vehicle in the US since ET was top of the same chart.

  6. Weight loss

    The 2015 F-150 has lost over 300kg from the basic structure; ‘fat’ jokes are getting out of date…

  7. The game has changed

    In 1975 - the first official year of the F-150 - the base in-line 4.9-litre 6cyl had 101bhp and 223lb ft of torque. Now, the smallest 3.7-litre V6 makes 302bhp and 278lb ft.

  8. Ranges extended

    You can get the F-Series in a bewildering amount of specifications - not including the various bodystyles and special applications, the F-150 XL work truck starts at a paltry $24,445 (£14,844) and runs to the F-450 Super Duty Platinum, which costs upwards of $70,000 (£42,508)…

  9. Engines

    The 2.0-litre BiTDI 178bhp engine produces 310lb ft of torque and a maximum towing capacity of up to 3,200kg, on a 12 per cent incline…

  10. Eight

    The only pickup to offer an eight-speed automatic gearbox

  11. 35...

    …Amaroks acted as support vehicles in the 2012 Dakar

  12. 45 degrees

    Even when loaded with a one-tonne payload, the VW can manage 50 per cent (45 degree) inclines

  13. 2600

    That’s how many of them sold in the UK last year. 47 per cent growth in sales on the previous year

  14. Bluemotion

    It has VW’s eco tech, which returns a combined mpg of up to 37.2mpg and CO2 of 199g/km. Important figures for Europe, at least.

  15. Location, location

    Manufactured in two locations - Hanover, Germany and Pacheco, which is in… Argentina

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