WHAT YOU GET

4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

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.

OFF-ROAD

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

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