Above: This Week’s Car Review – 2020 Volkswagen Amorok Core V6 Manual

2020 VW Amarok Core V6 4Motion Turbo Diesel

VW Amorok is the pickup truck for the man’s man. There, I’ve said it.

I’ve long felt Amorok to be the best looking working-man’s daily driver. I’d go so far as to say it is dead sexy. Squared-off lines give the big pick-up truck a Tonka-toy look.

Many a P-plated tradie can be seen wending through leafy suburbs during the week, and at the beach with surf boards onboard during the weekend. At least, that is my fantasy, and I’m sticking to it.

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There are a massive 16 variations in all. Prices range from a reasonable $38,490 for a Amorok rear-wheel-drive 4cylinder Cab Chassis, to an enormous $72,290 for the Amorok Ultimate V6 4Motion AWD. Depending on the model you choose, options are a 4 cylinder or V6 turbo diesel, a 6 speed manual or 8-speed automatic, or Cab Chassis or Dual Cab. Diesel engines come 3 different tunes: 165kw/500Nm (6-speed manual), 165kw/550Nm (8-speed automatic), or 190kw/580Nm (8-speed automatic).

With the ridiculously long list of choices, comes a bunch of equally capable trucks.

Both body styles sit on a full ladder frame.

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ABOVE: 2020 Volkswagen Amorok V6 CORE Manual Transmission


The chunky Amorok body eschews the manic swerving lines popular with other brands. The front is all manly and masculine with a butchness that deserves LED headlights instead of the old fashioned halogen headlights. There is no dusk-sensing so you have to remember to turn them on yourself. They finished off with a smart set of LED running lights.

The decade-old face still looks modern, but could use a tweak here and there. VW says there is a new model due any time, but seems more than a year off.

Every pickup truck needs a tray and this one is capable of taking a full pallet between the wheel arches. That’s a shedload of shopping right there.

Water ingress is a universal issue, so make sure your tarp sheds all that nasty dampness properly. There are no tiedowns externally though, so be inventive.

The Cabin:

VW interior design has always been delicious.

Their designers craft beautiful things inside and out. Switch gear, instruments, seating, and technology are mixed in the spirit of alchemists of old. So, you expect the delicious body to be wrapped around the epitome of German knowhow, and in the upper models like Highline, that feels not too far from the mark.

But we were driving the “Core”, which is a base model.

Pov models are notoriously bereft of nifty extras. Although Core feels like it would be at home on a building site, it doesn’t make you feel like standing under a pressure washer after a spell in the saddle.

Seating takes Teutonic to a new level. Fabric feels like it would outlast Armageddon, and floors are covered in rubber, and the whole thing feels like you could hose it out.

Amorok has cup holders and various bins, so everything has a place to be. Space in the front is more than ample, but back seaters will feel a little snug. That is common for a pickup truck. Rear passengers only come on board for shorter trips. A 6 footer only has a few cms of knee room.

Seat adjustment is manual. There are levers to slide and raise, and a dial on the back rest for pitch. The latter is a bit hard to reach around there on the backrest. There are 3 pedals, and a manual gear stick.

The cabin might feel working class, but is so comfortable.


Our car, the base Amorok V6 “Core”, comes with a 165kw/500Nm V6 turbo diesel. It powers all 4 wheels through a 6 Speed manual. Consumption on our trip was 11L/100 of mixed city/highway driving. You can opt for the 8-speed automatic, which has an extra 50Nm of torque. Official figures are 9.7L/100k (man) and 9.1L/100k (auto).

Tech Goodies:

Sexy Amorok shows its age in the modern technology arena.

The Good:

The off-roading creds speak for themselves. Fancy “4Motion” is what VW calls its AWD system, and is in fact 2 different, but similar technologies. The manual models get a version of the Haldex system, whereas the 8-speed automatic cars have a Torsen AWD system.

Both drive all 4 wheels with a low range for sticky stuff.

You can press a button in the cabin to make the magic happen, including programmes that control power and braking so wheels don’t spin. Amorok nails it in the rough, but AWD is no good if it is useless day to day. More about that later.

The Not-so-good:

Cabin tech is present, but less impressive. The infotainment screen is a smallish 6.33”. It lacks DAB, but makes up for that somewhat, with the addition of Apple CarPlay. Speakers have decent sound. I test everything set to neutral, and there was a distinct lack of mid-range, but bass and treble made up for it.

Amorok received a 5 Star ANCAP rating in 2011, but that is geriatric in automotive terms. Ato get that now, you need airbags all round, AEB, blind spot monitoring, and active steering control for lane monitoring.

You get manual air conditioning so unlike full climate control, you can have gentle wafts of ice-cold air. It doesn’t change until you change it yourself, and I like that.

There is no blind spot monitor, 360 camera, active lane control, AEB which somehow seems at odds with the handsome metalwork outside. There are parking sensors and a reversing camera, so all is not lost. It would be difficult to park without those gadgets.

Driver dials are augmented with an LCD screen, including digital speedo. You can choose what is shown, but leaving it on “speedo” is best.

The Drive:

Amorok is now, and has always been, a favourite.

Around town, the V6 is gentle, yet powerful. After evaluating both manual and automatic transmissions, the 8-speed win by a country mile.

Our manual was a trifle testy when I came to finding 3rd. The clucth is easy to use, and there is hill-hold, but it is all just way too much to think about around town.

Highway stints are brilliant, and the cabin is very quiet.

Ride is a mixed bag. On smooth surfaces, Amorok is utterly sublime, but small road imperfections are transmitted directly to the driver’s bum. The thing is, you can’t have it both ways. Amorok will take up to 6,000kg of GVM and that comes with drawbacks.

Rear suspension is a hefty set of leaf springs. That is where most of the weight will sit, so they are fairly firm. This might seem old-hat, but it is just the way it has to be. At least VW saw fit to throw in a couple of disc brakes on the rear wheels, unlike the opposition. That is a pet peeve of mine. There is no excuse for having 19th century drums brakes on a 21st century vehicle.

Handling is surprisingly good.

After a brief period of familiarisation, you’ll be throwing the old girl around like a rag doll. Cornering is excellent unless you hit the aforementioned rut. Then, you get a rather thrilling bounce.

Wet roads, even with stability control, can be a trial. The wheels scramble for grip, and the dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree. Even though there are some rather alarming sounds, and a few bumps, Amorok never slides to the side. Remember, it is designed to take weight in the tray. With a load on, there would be much less drama at the lights.


Amorok is handsome. Although it is a big old chunk of metal, it is easy to drive. The cabin is easily wiped out, and there is plenty of space.

You could easily live with it day-to-day, although you’d probably be better off spending a few extra shekels on the upper models.

The only concern is the aging ute lacks many of the modern gadgets you find on Navara, Hilux and Triton. That would not stop me from buying one.

Prices as follows:

Amarok Dual Cab 2WD
Amarok TDI420 2WD Dual Cab Chassis 8 Spd AT $38,490
Amarok TDI420 2WD Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd AT $39,990
Amarok Dual Cab 4 Cylinder
Amarok TDI400 CORE 4MOTION Dual Cab Chassis 6 Spd Man $43,090
Amarok TDI400 CORE 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 6 Spd Man $44,590
Amarok TDI420 CORE 4MOTION Dual Cab Chassis 8 Spd Auto $46,090
Amarok TDI420 CORE 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $47,590
Amarok TDI420 CORE PLUS 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $51,590
Amarok Dual Cab V6
Amarok TDI500 CORE V6 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 6 Spd Man $49,590
Amarok TDI550 CORE V6 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $52,590
Amarok TDI550 SPORTLINE 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $56,590
Amarok TDI550 SPORTLINE 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $56,590
Amarok TDI550 CANYON 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $57,990
Amarok TDI550 HIGHLINE 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $61,090
Amarok TDI580 HIGHLINE BLACK 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $64,990
Amarok TDI580S 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $70,990
Amarok TDI580 ULTIMATE 4MOTION Dual Cab Ute 8 Spd Auto $72,790

Price: $49,590 (current offer: 4cyl – $42,990, V6 manual $48,990, V6 Auto $49,990 all with Enduro Pack)

Engine: V6 turbo diesel

Transmission: 6-speed manual (also 8-speed automatic)

Power: 165kw/500Nm (165kw/550Nm in automatics)

Economy: 9.7L/100k (9.1L/100k in automatics)


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