There are eight different Amarok models available, with prices ranging from $38,990 up to more than $70,000.
|Amarok 4x2 Dual Cab TDI420 8-Speed Auto||$38,990|
|Amarok Core 4x4 Dual Cab TDI400 6-Speed Manual||$39,990|
|Amarok Core 4x4 Dual Cab TDI420 8-Speed Auto||$42,990|
|Amarok Core Plus 4x4 Dual Cab TDI400 6-Speed Manual||$44,990|
|Amarok Core Plus 4x4 Dual Cab TDI420 8-Speed Auto||$47,990|
|Amarok V6 Sportline 4x4 Dual Cab TDI550 8-Speed Auto||$53,990|
|Amarok V6 Highline 4x4 Dual Cab TDI550 8-Speed Auto||$59,990|
|Amarok V6 Ultimate 4x4 Dual Cab TDI550 8-Speed Auto||$74,109 (price varies based on postcode. Pricing shown is for 2000 postcode)|
Dual-cab utes are an increasingly common sight on Australian roads, and Volkswagen’s Amarok is one of the most sought-after vehicles in this category. Available in one 4x2 and seven 4x4 model variants, the Amarok boasts a massive load bed, car-like handling and a host of premium interior features.
As its Finder score of 85% indicates, the 2017 Amarok has been highly well received by the motoring industry and new car buyers alike. Most reviewers placed it in the top echelon of utes available on the Australian market today, praising its comfortable and sophisticated handling that sets it well apart from many of its competitors. The powerful V6 diesel engine in the top-range Sportline, Highline and Ultimate models also impressed reviewers with its smooth yet frugal performance.
Utes have a reputation as tough workhorses, and the Amarok’s practical load bed and solid off-road ability (in 4x4 models) saw it earn top marks. However, it also boasts a pleasing level of interior comfort and premium features, drawing favourable comparisons with several other passenger cars in Volkswagen’s collection.
However, there are some downsides of which to be wary, such as the hefty price tag attached to top-line models and the lack of some safety features and technologies. The satnav screen also attracted the ire of some reviewers for being on the small side, while VW’s limited dealer network is also a cause for concern.
However, while these drawbacks detract from what is otherwise a very impressive package, are they enough to suggest you should look elsewhere? Keep reading to find out.
VW’s Amarok comes with a choice of two engines:
- A 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel
- A 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel
The 3.0-litre TDI V6 engine in Sportline, Highline and Ultimate models delivers 165kW of power and 550Nm of torque. That’s some class-leading grunt right there, and there’s also an overboost feature that provides an extra 15kW of power when you really need it – perfect when you need that little bit extra to overtake.
The reviewers praised the V6 for providing smooth and economical performance, particularly on the highway, and it delivers a combined fuel consumption figure of 9L/100km. Unfortunately, this engine is only available on the three most-expensive models in the Amarok range.
The 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel, matched with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox, is a little less refined compared to its bigger brother. However, it still delivers reasonable performance in most conditions and uses less fuel than the V6.
When you think about vehicles that provide precise handling, a smooth ride and impressive driver and passenger comfort levels, dual cab utes probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, this vehicle class has traditionally provided a driving experience that could best be described as agricultural.
However, this isn’t the case with the Volkswagen Amarok. Across the board, the reviewers were glowing in their praise for the Amarok’s on-road performance. With an agile and immediate response to your steering inputs, the Amarok handles much more like a passenger car than a big-bopper ute, and the driving experience is further improved by the comfortable and well-supported seats.
Another impressive feature is the lack of road noise in the Amarok’s cabin. Once again, this is a category where utes often don’t excel, but noise, vibration and harshness levels never become overbearing in the Amarok. However, rear-seat passengers might notice a little more tyre noise when travelling at high speeds.
All reviewers agreed that you’d be hard-pressed to find a 4WD ute that can provide better on-road handling than the Amarok, while it also performs well (by ute standards) when you want to venture off the beaten track.
|Available in||Amarok 4x2 Dual Cab||Amarok Core 4x4 Dual Cab, Amarok Core Plus 4x4 Dual Cab||Amarok Core 4x4 Dual Cab, Amarok Core Plus 4x4 Dual Cab||Amarok V6 TDI550 Sportline, Amarok V6 TDI550 Highline, Amarok V6 TDI550 Ultimate|
|Type||Four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel, DOHC, 16 valve||Four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel, DOHC, 16 valve||Four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel, DOHC, 16 valve||Six-cylinder turbo diesel, 24 valve|
|Max power||132kW @ 4,000rpm||132kW @ 4,000rpm||132kW @ 4,000rpm||165kW @ 2,500-4,500rpm|
|Max torque||420Nm @1,750rpm||400Nm @ 1,500-2,250rpm||420Nm @1,750rpm||550Nm @ 1,500-2,500rpm|
|Transmission||8-speed automatic||6-speed manual||8-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|Fuel tank capacity||80L||80L||80L||80L|
|Braked towing capacity||3,000kg||3,000kg||3,000kg||3,500kg|
Before stepping into the Amarok, it’s worth taking a moment to admire its looks. From the outside, the Amarok is a ruggedly handsome fellow with a chunky-looking design, and first impressions indicate that this is a ute that will be able to take you wherever you want to go. Top-end models also get projector headlamps and LED-daytime running lights, adding an extra layer of refinement, while the larger wheels on top-spec models (up to 20-inch alloys on the V6 TDI550 Ultimate) further bolster the sense of style.
Once you’ve climbed up into the Amarok, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re sitting in the warm embrace of a luxury sedan. The first thing you’ll notice is the plushness of the interior, with fewer hard plastics than you might find in many of its competitors. The comfort feature that reviewers gave honourable mention to was the Amarok's seats – whether you’re sitting up front or riding in the back, all seats are well bolstered.
Drivers enjoy a high seating position with a good range of vision around the vehicle, and the dash is not only easy on the eye but also intelligently laid out. The Amarok now gets the same 6.33-inch infotainment screen as the VW Golf. Though practical and simple to use, the unit is somewhat small and some reviewers noted that a larger screen would be a welcome option.
Having said that, the Amarok supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and there were no complaints about the built-in satnav system.
Next, the reviewers praised the Amarok for its impressive levels of kit included in all variants, which is exactly what you’d want from a ute that’s one of the more expensive offerings in the class. In particular, the V6 models include a number of high-level features you wouldn’t usually associate with a ute. The V6 TDI550 even comes with heated electric leather front seats, providing a level of comfort you’d expect from a high-end sedan.
In the back, there’s enough shoulder room and leg room to fit three adults, while the firm seat can also be folded away if you want to create an additional cargo area. In fact, the interior space in the Amarok is substantial, providing ample room for four people and their stuff to travel in comfort.
Space is also in abundance in the tray. There’s enough room between the wheel arches to pack a standard pallet, while the low loading height makes access easy. Payload figures put the Amarok in the mid-range when compared to other vehicles in its class, and you can carry more than 1,100kg in the 2WD model.
If you’re towing a caravan, boat or trailer, four-cylinder models are only weighted up to 3,000kg – that’s 500kg less than competitors like the Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado. However, the V6 models are all approved to tow up to 3,500kg.
One other all-important yardstick for modern vehicles is safety. There’s an impressive list of safety technologies in the Amarok, with hill descent assist, a rear view camera, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and ABS brakes all present and accounted for.
The four airbags protect the driver and front-seat passenger from head-on and side impacts, but there is no airbag protection for rear passengers. This is one of the Amarok’s biggest drawbacks, and one every potential buyer should consider before parting with their hard-earned cash.
|Driver and front passenger airbags||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Driver and front passenger side (head and thorax) airbags||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Child seat top tether anchorage points (3)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ISOFIX child seat anchorage points, outer rear seats||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mechanical differential lock||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Front and rear parking distance sensors||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear view camera||Optional||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rain sensing wipers||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Lockable rear tailgate with “comfort” closing||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Electronic engine immobiliser||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Wheels||16-inch steel and optional 16-inch alloy||16-inch alloy||17-inch alloy and optional 19-inch alloy||18-inch alloy||18-inch alloy||20-inch alloy|
|Composition Media audio system||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Discover Media audio and satellite navigation system||No||No||Optional||No||Yes||Yes|
|Apple CarPlay and Android Auto||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
All in all, the reviews gathered together to create the Finder score at the top of this page painted an overwhelmingly positive picture of the Volkswagen Amarok. With its blend of go-anywhere versatility and premium interior, not to mention wonderful engine performance and refined handling, the Amarok is one of the best dual-cab utes going around at the moment. If you think utes are rugged work vehicles that are short on comfort, visit your nearest VW dealer and take a look at the Amarok in person – you’re sure to be surprised.
However, no car is perfect and the Amarok does have its shortcomings. The biggest is the lack of airbags for rear passengers, while the fact that VW can’t boast the same dealer network as some of Australia’s more popular brands could be cause for concern if your Amarok breaks down on a weekend away.
Despite these caveats, there’s still a whole lot to like about this practical, comfortable ute. Whether on the highway or in the city, at the worksite or on a relaxing family getaway, this big dual cab is right at home. Make sure you test drive it alongside the competition, including the Nissan Navara and Toyota HiLux, before deciding whether it’s right for you.