Dare to be Dif­fer­ent

VOLK­SWA­GEN’S LONG-SERV­ING AMAROK GETS A NEW – AND PO­TENT – LEASE ON LIFE THANKS TO V6 POWER.

4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

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

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