Taking on the big boys
VOLKSWAGEN’S Amarok ute has been winning acclaim everywhere, in particular for the 4Motion versions, those with selectable or full-time fourwheel-drive.
These are most comfortable and competent machines on the roughest of bush tracks.
But back down the track there’s the entry-level, twowheel-drive Amarok, the cheapest, but never the nastiest, of the bunch.
For now all the VWs arrive only as dual cabs with diesel engine and six-speed manual; the only differences are in drivetrains and equipment levels. There is a single cab in the pipeline, other transmissions and a petrol engine also, but there’s no time frame yet. VALUE
At $33,990 the base Amarok is a little dearer than Toyota’s diesel SR5 dual cab HiLux at $32,590.
But the Amarok stacks up well when Toyota’s ABS is a $400 option and airconditioning $2051, both are standard with the VW.
Nissan’s diesel dual cab Navara is $30,600, Mitsubishi’s Triton is $32,590, both with ABS and aircon.
So the Amarok is on the money. Residual values remain an unknown but VWs hold up well. There’s a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. DESIGN
The Amarok is a bit bigger and bolder than some. It is a sensible and slab-sided machine with handsome nose and grille.
This pragmatic approach to style, as with other VW commercials, allows for a cabin with room for four big blokes plus one. It allows for a cargo tray volume of 2.52sqm, a tray width of 1.6m with a handy 1.222m between the wheel arches.
It can handle a 1200mm x 800mm pallet sideways and carry just over a tonne.
The cabin may not sparkle as much as some rivals but it is well-sorted, com- fortable and easy to navigate. Chief among comforts are the seats, front and back (which can be folded up); individual touches include a gear selection display. TECHNOLOGY
VW use a sophisticated, twin turbo diesel to keep the Amarok on the move.
The radio antenna is built into the door mirrors, which are heated.
Stability program, trac- tion control, hill hold assist and ABS are standard. SAFETY
The first ute with a fivestar NCAP rating.
There’s the aforementioned ABS and ESP and Anti Slip Regulation, there’s a driver and front passenger airbag plus head and thorax bags.
The chassis bows out under the cabin, creating extra room and better crash pro- $33,990
3 year/ unlimited km n/a 7.7L/100km; 203g/km airbags, ABS, ESP, TC
twin turbocharged, two-litre diesel, 120kW/400Nm
Six speed manual Four-door ute
5181mm ( L); 1944mm ( W); 1834mm (H) tection for occupants. It also offers more confident ride and handling than most. DRIVING
The two-wheel-drive Amarok feels and drives with more authority than most ute rivals.
There’s that wider stance plus a clever rear leaf arrangement where the springs are mounted alongside the frame. It has electronic driver aids and ergonomic interior.
For the most part the handling is exemplary for such a big machine. It corners and stops with confidence, allowing for swift and smooth delivery times.
The diesel engine is generally up to the job, running at 10L/100km around town. VERDICT
THE Amarok sets new benchmarks in the ute market. When the range is filled out with a single cab, plus engine and transmission options, the Amarok will be a formidable rival to established Japanese marques.
The Volkswagen Amarok is tackling Toyota’s market