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German Pick Up Trucks (Light-Duty Trucks from Europe)

German Pick Up Trucks

Europe has a different philosophy on trucks than we do here in the U.S.

While our trucks are becoming bigger more luxurious family haulers accounting for 18% of all vehicle sales.

Trucks in Europe are smaller and primarily used to perform utilitarian duties. Indeed, the U.S. buys more pickups than anyone else in the world.

Yet sadly, these European trucks never made it to American shores. And it makes sense.

For one the template for European-grade pick ups doesn’t translate well to American truck buyer sensibilities what with their smaller displacements and fewer amenities.

Just to give you a taste, let’s look at two German pick up trucks.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class

Mercedes-Benz X-Class

After years of intensive market research and development, Mercedes-Benz introduced the X-Class.

A midsize truck that borrows the concept of replacing the traditional leaf springs with coil springs from the overseas Nissan Navara (formerly the Nissan Frontier) to deliver a tough workhorse that’s comfortable enough for long distance cruising.

Although it also shares its ladder frame with the Navara, the X-Class is its own truck.


Mercedes says you can have any engine you want as long as it’s a diesel.

The entry-level X220d is an inline-four-cylinder diesel engine with a single turbocharger producing 161 horsepower and 297-pound feet of torque.

The X250d 4Matic is rated at 187 HP and 332-pound feet of torque from a Nissan-built sequentially turbocharged 2.3-liter diesel inline-four.

Then there’s the most powerful X350d 4Matic, Benz’s own 3.0-liter twin turbodiesel V6 rated at 254 HP and 406 lb-ft of torque.


Both smaller engines come with a Nissan-built six-speed manual transmission.

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But the bigger X350d gives you an option for an automatic transmission and optional all-wheel drive.

The biggest engine also offers permanent AWD and comes with a seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

Trim Levels

Pure is the standard trim which lives up to its name with a lot of hard plastic. But unlike the Ford F-150, you don’t have to pay extra to get many of the electronic goodies like the latest driver-assistance safety systems.

Progressive is the midlevel trim which brings in more soft touch materials and exterior niceties like body-colored bumpers – kinda like the LX trim of the EF Honda Civics in the 80s.

Power trim is the top-level choice and where the X-Class starts looking and feeling like an upmarket vehicle. It features stitched faux leather along with aluminum and wood trim options.

Volkswagen Amarok

Volkswagen Amarok

This truck shares some bits and pieces with the Ford Ranger. You can get one as either a single or four-door crew cab.

It’s well-proportioned and pleasantly subdued midsize truck. The wheelbase is identical to the Ranger.

And the shortened overhangs compared to the older Amarok also makes it better at off roading.


Depending on the market, the Amarok is powered by a 2.0 four-cylinder diesel engine that makes 147 horsepower.

There’s a more powerful option making 167 HP. You can get an Amarok as either a rear- or all-wheel drive.

A twin turbocharged diesel version makes 200 HP. But it only comes with a performance all-wheel drive system.

But you get the ability to disconnect drive to the front for improved fuel economy.

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Other countries get a slightly more power 203 HP engine with selectable four-wheel drive.

The biggest 3.0-liter V6 diesel makes 246 HP and 440 lb-ft of torque and AWD standard.

Still other markets get Ford’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder making 298 HP and 333 lb-feet of torque.

These Amaroks come with permanent AWD.


Transmission options for the smaller engine are a five and six speed manual and six speed automatic.

The bigger V6 engine comes with either a six speed or ten-speed automatic gearbox from Ford or GM.

The bigger 203 HP engine gets a ten-speed gearbox which comes with the biggest V6 and EcoBoost motors.

Trim Levels

There’s a variety of trim levels reflecting the Amaroks aspirations as both a lifestyle- and utility-vehicle.

Basic models still get digital instrumentation, a 10-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen, LED headlights and adaptive cruise control.

Top ranging PanAmericana and Aventura models add a bigger 12-inch display, Harmon/Kardon audio, soft-touch cabin materials and 21-inch alloy wheels.

The Dark Label special edition has a higher ride height than a regular Amarok. It gets fitted with a roof-mounted LED light bar and snorkel.