Amarok adds elusive power factor
It is no secret that dual-cab utes have quickly become an Australian favourite, their capability and practicality a real drawcard for drivers looking for a vehicle suitable for both work and play.
The Volkswagen Amarok has been one of the players since its arrival on these shores in 2011, offering almost car-like comfort seldom seen in a rugged utility.
Now, six years later, the Amarok has added that seemingly elusive power factor to an already impressive vehicle.
You want a pick-up that looks like a pick-up, one whose chiselled chunky features hints at serious capability.
The Amarok is one of those, an updated grille and front fascia and wide, slightly aggressive stance also doing their bit to paint a pleasing picture.
The supportive, Napa leather seats are the first thing you notice in the revised interior of the revamped Amarok.
With two-stage heating and 12point power adjustment, they are a rarity in a vehicle of this ilk, but all the more welcome.
As with its predecessor, the cabin has a good finish, superior materials and thought given to how it all comes together.
Of course, there are the requisite hard plastics for durability but even they seem to fit in seamlessly with the grand plan.
This feels like a comfortable space in which to be, with the controls you need at your fingertips and most of those features that make both long and short trips a breeze.
A 6.3-inch integrated colour touchscreen seems a bit small given the Amarok’s bulk but supports AppleCarplay and Android and Auto applications, Bluetooth connectivity and Digital Radio for those who can access it. Our Ulti- mate spec test Amarok also sported a colour LCD multifunction display that provided the driver with navigation, audio and trip information.
Storage is adequate, not generous, with deep door bins and dash top tray unable to detract from a small centre console and a flip-out double cup holder on the floor of the rear compartment which is begging to be kicked.
Talking of the rear compartment, the lodgings back there don’t seem to match those in the front for luxury. While headroom and shoulder room are OK, there is less room for the legs, especially for taller passengers. No air vents or centre armrests back there and, disturbingly, no airbags either.
Standard fare includes 19-inch alloys, sat nav, reverse camera and sensors,
The Amarok is still the only ute in this class with a tub capable of fitting a pallet between the wheel arches.
For real-world practical options, because let’s face it, how often do you haul a pallet, this means that it is easier to carry the surfboards, camping gear or wide and oddly shaped cargo when you need to.
A lusty 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged diesel is the showstopper unit for the new Amarok, producing 165kW of power and 550Nm of torque, the latter available from just 1500rpm.
An automatic overboost function at throttle applications of 70 per cent or more kicks those figures to 180kW and 580Nm for up to 10 seconds to give you that easy oomph when you need to overtake quickly.
An efficient eight-speed automatic transmission completes the combination, shifting smoothly up and down the ratios for optimum driving performance.
So you want the versatility of a dual-cab but want it to drive like a car rather than a truck?
The ride is as comfortable and compliant as it has always been but the extra power means it is smoother on take-off too and, of course, much more capable when you need it to be.
It breezes along without effort, making quick work of inclines, barely notices irregularities on the road and, thanks to the four large disc brakes, stops quickly too.
The steering feels a little light especially through roundabouts or tight city corners but it’s easy enough to adjust. It is quiet in the cabin too, given it is a diesel.
The Volkswagen Amarok TDV6 Ultimate adds power to capability and versatility.