With the introduction of the V6 engine in the Amarok, Volkswagen’s ute went from segment weakling to strapping hulk.
Ranger might outsell Amarok 10 to 1, but it’s probably not much of a concern for VW. Of the 620 Amaroks it’s sold this year, more than two-thirds of those have been of the V6, and we’d imagine it would be a profitable truck. It’s big on numbers, and its 550Nm of tug puts it at the top of the ute pile, as does its cylinder count. It’s quick off the mark, the 3.0-litre six doesn’t muck about when delivering its pull, and with the Amarok’s constant AWD via the torsen centre diff, all the go is translated into forward thrust. This gets to 50km/h right quick, ensuring you’re the first truck away from the lights, and it can push on unlike any other in the segment. But it’s the low down slug that we like. It cruises nicely and the in-gear pull is strong, no matter which of the eight gears the auto ‘box happens to be in. This would make a good tow rig.
Like all utes sold, you’ll be obliged to spend up on accessories, as if paying $73,990 wasn’t enough. We’d say nein to the hard lid and sportsbar set-up on this; it limits your use severely and from previous experience, these are fiddly to remove. The clip-on side steps fitted were feeling a bit wobbly on this example, and they impede the ground clearance, which had us suspecting someone along the line has tickled them up while venturing off road. The Amarok has an off-road traction control mode but no low-range, so it’s not big on the rough work anyway. You’d buy it more for its 3500kg tow capacity, and big wide tray. Oh, and that hulking V6 of course.
The interior has the usual hard plastics on the dash and doors but also plush leather and Alcantara seat coverings. While few utes offer it, it is odd for a $74k vehicle not to have a smart key, and the VW lacks the active safety bits of the Ranger Wildtrak too (which is currently $59,990 until the end of the year). And that gets a tray liner and cover as standard. There’s touchscreen audio with sat nav, though the screen size is lacking inches compared with the one in the Ranger. Size matters you see.
Amarok’s steering is still hydraulically assisted, reflecting the truck’s vintage, as some have moved to lighter, electric assistance which helps low speed manoeuvres, especially when backing the trailer. Amarok has a pretty good feel for the action at the front wheels, though the fitment of larger tyres on this ute robs some of that interaction. They do however add more grip to help it stick longer and they don’t hurt the ride either, which remains uncannily settled over most roads, even when unladen. It’s this relative ride refinement, combined with the killer driveline that makes the V6 Amarok easy to like. It’s a mother of truck this, and you sure pay for the privilege, but it deserves its place at the top of the pile.
|Model||VW Amarok AWD V6 Highline|
|Engine||2967cc, V6, TDI, 165kW/550Nm|