WHAT YOU GET
THE HIGHLINE V6, the mid-spec model in a threemodel V6 line-up, has dual-zone climate, automatic headlights and wipers, sat-nav, reversing camera, six-speaker audio system, CD player, digital radio, and Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Bi-xenons headlights, DRLS, cornering lights, a cargo-area light and 12V outlet in the tub, front and rear parking sensors, a rear locker, tyre-pressure monitoring and trailer-sway control are all standard, too. Like all Amarok dual cabs, the Highline V6 has front and front-side airbags (but no airbags in the rear of the cab) and tilt-and-reach steering wheel adjustment. Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional Alcantara (split leather) heated seats, which adds $1890. It also had 17s with all-terrains rather than the standard 18s and their highway tyres, a dealer-fit price-on-application option.
dynamics – even on dry bitumen – are a cut above the others. It feels more confident and competent on a windy road, and also offers a relatively compliant ride and what is arguably the best front-to-rear suspension match when unladen. It’s also the best in terms of road noise suppression; although, the Hilux comes close. If nitpicking, then you could complain about the noise from the steering pump when on (or near) full lock at parking speeds. THE AMAROK V6 doesn’t have low range, but it doesn’t really need it. In fact, even without low range it can outperform the Colorado and is a match for the Ranger and Hilux on gnarly climbs. Towing a heavy off-road camper trailer on steep hills or in soft sand could potentially be a problem, but that’s something we need to test.
That aside, the Amarok gets by without low range thanks to a relatively low first gear and a torque convertor with a high stall ratio. The Amarok’s off-road armoury includes a self-locking centre diff, a rear locker that doesn’t cancel the traction on the front axle when engaged, good wheel travel, and excellent underbody protection.
Best of all, the Amarok can go from zinging down a freeway with ease and comfort to crawling along an off-road trail without having to touch a lever or a button, as it’s always in 4WD and there’s no low range to select. If you want, there is a button to cancel the stability control (for sand driving), another for the rear locker (if it gets really gnarly) and a third to activate hill-descent, but most of the time none of this is needed.
On the negative side of the off-road ledger, the Amarok has the lowest fording depth (500mm) as it’s the only one not to draw its engine-intake air from the inner mudguard. As such, it’s the first candidate for an aftermarket snorkel.
CABIN, ACCOMMODATION AND SAFETY
THERE are a few important things to note about the Amarok’s cabin: it’s the widest here – especially handy for three adults across the back seat – and it’s notably bigger than the Hilux and Colorado. It also offers tilt-and-reach steering wheel adjustment and a notably comfortable driving position. At this spec level, leather is strangely an option rather than standard as it is with the three other utes, but otherwise the Amarok’s cabin has a quality feel that the Colorado and Ranger can’t match – even if the Hilux can.
Significantly, it’s the only ute here without rear cabin airbags and, while it still carries a five-star ANCAP rating, it would probably only achieve four stars if tested now given these ratings are a moving target.
PRACTICALITIES AND TOWING
THE HIGHLINE V6 is the only ute here without some sort of tonneau cover and, like the Colorado, doesn’t come with a factory towbar. It also has the lowest braked-trailer tow rating (3000kg); although, its 6000kg gross combined mass figure matches the best here. That means it can carry and tow at the same time as much as the Ranger or Colorado – the point being, if you put a 3500kg tow-weight behind either a Ranger or a Colorado there’s effectively no payload left. While we haven’t tow-tested the V6, you’d have to assume its 550Nm would come in handy with big loads.
The Highline V6 comes standard with 18s and HTS, but our test vehicle had dealer-fit OEM 17s with Pirelli Scorpion ATS. The Scorpion isn’t a particularly aggressive AT tyre, but it’s still better than an HT tyre. The extra sidewall height is another bonus, too.
ON THE ROAD IT REALLY IS AMAROK FIRST, DAYLIGHT SECOND