I recently spent time with the updated Volkswagen Amarok which now features a more powerful V6 turbo diesel engine. Is it still the pick of the bakkie bunch or does ultimate power truly corrupt?
From a styling perspective, the #Amarok still looks relatively good despite its age. The front bumper features chrome design elements, a V6 badge and the headlights make use of noticeable LED daytime running lights. The Amarok features prominent character lines which give it a somewhat squared shape, which I like. It looks bigger and wider than what it actually is.
On the inside, you will find a well-equipped cabin with a visually appealing facia shod with an infotainment screen that supports #Android Auto and #Apple #CarPlay. It is a tad on the small side compared to what is currently found in the #Ranger and #Hilux models. My test unit did however have heated seats that were used to their full potential. The arm-rest is pretty large and the dual-zone climate control is easy to use and get to. The dashboard is however full of hard plastics, while a sense of durability is given, some might find it a bit of a let-down considering the price, I don’t mind it.
Power comes from an updated 190kW/580Nm V6 turbo diesel motor. It also benefits from an over-boost function which increases the output to 200kW for 10 seconds when needed. This, along with the 8-speed automatic gearbox, #4MOTION all-wheel drive and a launch control program the Amarok gets from 0-100km/h in around 7.6 seconds and will stop chugging at just over 200km/h, which it reaches rather effortlessly – or so I’m told.
I found the #Amarok to be incredibly comfortable. The extra power however does dominate the experience though, especially when an overtake is required. A literal flex of the right foot, without any kick-down from the gearbox, sees you glide past slower traffic with ease. If you do require more thrust though, flick the gearbox into Sport and the Amarok becomes a weapon that is capable of embarrassing a number of luxury #German SUVs.
The 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system as handles off-road situations rather well. While the Amarok doesn’t have a low range it does offer clever electronics in the form of an ‘off-road’ mode, which, when activated instructs the gearbox to utilise first and second gear more efficiently – it feels very similar to that of a low-range gear. There is also a rear diff-lock plus 237mm of ground clearance which should help with most situations.
My final thoughts on the Amarok are as follows; it is still an attractive offering in terms of design and equipment however its age is starting to show. I would have liked to see some driver assists in the form of active cruise control which can be found on the Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Toyota Hilux Legend RS. The ride quality however is impressive as is the fuel economy which settled at about 9.5l/100km over my time with the car. The 4MOTION all-wheel drive does make the Amarok a bit difficult to manoeuvre in parking areas but the PDC and reverse camera provide assistance.
This however does seem like the last hurrah for this generation of Volkswagen’s first double cab. The Ford and #Volkswagen alliance will soon be upon us and I can’t wait to see what the results of that collaboration will produce.