This week, David and I have been trying out the big ute from VW.
It has all the butchness of a pickup truck, the economy lawn mower, and the towing capacity of a tugboat.
Here are a few thoughts on why we think the Amarok is the duck’s nuts.
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1: Good Looks
Pickups can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to looks. Japanese utes have an aura that may not appeal to all. Amarok looks like a Tonka toy truck, and I love it.
2: V6 power
The V6 diesel has so much grunt, that you feel as if you’re on the verge of taking off. The towing capacity is great and the economy decent for a vehicle so huge.
3: Easy To Drive
Many big utes ate tragic anywhere but in the open spaces of a construction site. Make no bones about it, Amarok is huge, but maintains the personality of a family hatch. Well, ok not a family hatch, but certainly a large sedan.
The seats are every bit as comfortable as those in your modern mid-priced saloon. Instruments are within easy reach, and your driving position is commanding.
5: Driving Position
Despite the fact that most new cars are SUVs, Amarok still stands tall. You realise how much above the rest of the traffic you are. You feel like you’re driving from the top of a block of flats, and I like it, a lot.
Amarok has 3,500kg worth of ability. Sure, you have to account for a total vehicle mass (6,000kg), so you can’t put another 2,000 in the back of the ute (2,209kg). Payload is 871kg. But, that is still a mighty big box of Chachkies. If all that makes sense, then this is the ute for you.
7: Apple CarPlay
OK, lots of cars have it now, but I’m continually amazed at the brands who don’t. VW was an early adopter and I love them for it. Amarok has an older generation infotainment system but it sounds great and looks good too.
The engine is big, and bold, and very capable. Most of the opposition has 4-cylinder offerings only. VW shoehorned a V6 diesel in to Amarok. The 190kw/580Nm unit has all the grunt you’ll ever need. The 80L tank will get you from Sydney to Melbourne on a single tank (8.5L/100k highway).
9: Proper Automatic Transmission
Unlike most other VW group vehicles, Amarok has an 8-speed automatic instead of a DCT (dual clutch transmission). It is smooth with gear changes like silk. OK, the ride can be choppy without a load on, but the automatic smooths out the take-offs, so leave the hard work to the car. Sit back and enjoy the trip.
10: 4Motion AWD
The VW group prefers their own AWD system instead of a conventional 4WD like that used in Hilux and Navara. There are a few advantages to this. Unlike the opposition, 4Motion is permanently engaged. Hilux drives the rear wheels at all times while on hard surfaces. You can only engage it on sand, snow, dirt, and mud. Amarok is already driving all the wheels, so have at it.