GUTS & GLORY

Driven: Volk­swa­gen’s pow­er­ful new V6 Amarok

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

The six cylin­der tur­bod­iesel is the mak­ing of the dual cab ute with buy­ers lin­ing up for the top of the range Ul­ti­mate from $73,736 drive away. The High­line, as re­viewed, is $65,416 on the road.

But it’s the big­ger en­gine with 550Nm of torque which is mak­ing all the noise.

The V6 is 18kW more than the near­est com­peti­tor with an ex­tra 80Nm of torque.

Sales are up mod­estly by 3.4 per cent this year (577), topped by the Ford Ranger (2221) and the Amarok sits to­ward the lower end of the 150,000 unit a year seg­ment.

Last year’s sales were 7500, far be­low the 31,088 of the Ranger.

The Ger­man car-maker shook up the off-roader land­scape seven years ago with its eight-speed auto, but with no low range, Amarok. It fea­tured con­stant all-wheel drive with the com­fort, ride and han­dling close to a car but still ca­pa­ble off-road.

There have been a few ques­tions about the 2.0-litre four-cylin­der Amarok’s longterm re­li­a­bil­ity un­der heavy­load stresses, but that’s been thrown out the win­dow with the V6 power plant.

DE­TAIL­ING

VW is of­fer­ing the V6 Amarok in two spec lev­els: High­line and Ul­ti­mate.

High­line has bi-xenon head­lights with in­te­grated day­time run­ning lights, fog lights, 18in al­loy wheels, stain­less-steel side steps, tyre­pres­sure-mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem, cli­mate-con­trol, 6.3-inch colour touch­screen (the lat­est­gen­er­a­tion Dis­cover Me­dia unit) with sat-nav, VW’s Ap­pCon­nect suite (with Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto), DAB dig­i­tal ra­dio, re­vers­ing

cam­era, front and rear park­ing sen­sors, Blue­tooth phone and au­dio stream­ing and four 12volt power out­lets.

DRIV­ING

The 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 is the same en­gine as that in the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7. The power and torque fig­ures are solid for a ute and grow even more im­pres­sive when over­boost is avail­able from 70 per cent throttle in third or fourth gear to pro­duce a hefty 180kW and 580Nm.

The Amarok V6 is great on bi­tu­men. It’s com­fort­able, the en­gine is quiet, road noise is sub­dued but wind noise was quite no­tice­able.

The Amarok has ex­cel­lent steer­ing pre­ci­sion and grip, aided by the road-bi­ased Con­ti­nen­tal tyres, and was su­perb on our range roads.

The steer­ing is a touch too light at sub­ur­ban speeds and, oddly, a touch too heavy at car park speeds, prob­a­bly be­cause of the larger weight of the big­ger en­gine over the front wheels. Most im­pres­sive is the grunt. Matched to an eight­speed auto, the TDV6 has brisk ac­cel­er­a­tion and ac­ces­si­ble over­tak­ing power through­out the rev range once on the move.

With that in mind, Volk­swa­gen has seen fit to equip the Amarok with large four-wheel-disc brakes to give it suf­fi­cient stop­ping power.

It tack­led a Misty Moun­tains track with ruts, creek cross­ings, slip­pery gravel and mud eas­ily between Hen­ri­etta Creek on the Palmer­ston High­way through to the Old Palmer­ston High­way between Raven­shoe and Mil­laa Mil­laa.

Volk­swa­gen says the Amarok should av­er­age 7.8L/100km (com­bined). On my drive the dash showed 10.9L/100km over 336km and that was af­ter plenty of lively driv­ing on bi­tu­men, dirt and a bit of off-road ac­tion. It has an 80-litre fuel tank.

DE­CID­ING

The Amarok has al­ways been a classy yet highly func­tional ute and the new V6 adds a new di­men­sion. It has a great en­gine, nice and com­fort­able in­te­rior and good ride and han­dling. It’s a good look­ing and prac­ti­cal. Cheaper and man­ual ver­sions are on the way. But there are no rear-seat airbags and the com­puter touch­screen is too small.

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