Tak­ing on the big boys

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By BRUCE McMA­HON Price: War­ranty: RE­SALE: THIRST: SAFETY EQUIP­MENT: CRASH RAT­ING: EN­GINE: TRANS­MIS­SION: BODY: DI­MEN­SIONS: TARE WEIGHT: TOW­ING:

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

5 star

twin tur­bocharged, two-litre diesel, 120kW/400Nm

Six-

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.

2000kg 2800kg

The Volk­swa­gen Amarok is tack­ling Toy­ota’s mar­ket

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