Dare to be Different
VOLKSWAGEN’S LONG-SERVING AMAROK GETS A NEW – AND POTENT – LEASE ON LIFE THANKS TO V6 POWER.
THE AMAROK is the oldest ute here, save for the fact it has recently been upgraded via its 3.0-litre V6 diesel. The basic platform dates back to 2010, so it’s a year older than the Ranger (the second oldest platform here). That V6 may be new to the Amarok, but it dates back to 2004. Originally a VW family (Audi) design used in various Porsche, Audi and VW models, it has been strengthened and detuned for use in the Amarok.
POWERTRAIN AND PERFORMANCE
DETUNED as it may be compared to some applications where it produces up to 200kw, the Amarok’s V6 still has at least 165kw on tap and an extra 15kw (180kw in total) when in ‘overboost’ mode. Compare that to the 147kw of the Ranger and Colorado and the 130kw of the Hilux, and throw in the extra two ratios of its eight-speed automatic, and you have a whole different world of performance than what’s on offer with the other three.
However, the Amarok’s V6 isn’t all about its high power output, it’s also about being the torque champion with 550Nm available from just 1500rpm, bettering even the Ranger’s 470Nm at 1500km. On the road the Amarok out-grunts even the notably torquey Ranger off the bottom end, but also loves to rev and in doing so offers a level of flexibility and performance that’s unrivalled here. It’s really Amarok first, daylight second.
The Amarok’s V6 offers refinement that’s more akin to that of a passenger-car engine when measured against the comparatively agricultural Ranger and gruff Colorado. Even the relatively polished Hilux engine feels ‘commercial’ in comparison, though none of this should be a surprise given variants of this V6 are used in high-end prestige brands.
In case you’re wondering about the overboost function’s 180kw, it’s achieved by the 550Nm torque maximum being available beyond the normal 2500rpm drop-down point, but only kicks with 70 per cent or more throttle and then only in third and fourth gears. Effectively it gives stronger highway overtaking performance without any sense of the engine ever transitioning from normal overboost operation. It’s seamless.
Seamless is also a word that comes to mind with the eightspeed automatic, which in this company is in a class of its own in terms of shift quality and is also sporty and pro-active in terms of shift timing.
ON-ROAD RIDE AND HANDLING
IF THE punchy, refined V6 and slick eight-speed automatic don’t stand the Amarok alone in this company, the grip, security and functionality of its full-time 4x4 system certainly does. In mixed-surface driving conditions (wet/dry bitumen or sealed/ unsealed) it offers a huge advantage compared to the relatively crude part-time systems of the other three.
This comes on top of the fact that the Amarok’s on-road