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