Motoring and Property Editor
1:00 AM 21st October 2023
The New Amarok From Volkswagen
The original Volkswagen Amarok has been out of production for some time and many wondered if it would ever return. The pickup truck market has changed in the last few years, with many models disappearing. Fiat Fullback, finished; Mitsubishi L200, long gone; Nissan Navara, no more and the Amarok, absent!
Fear not, for Volkswagen has relaunched the Amarok , the result of a joint venture with Ford. The same engines, transmissions and electronics are used, but Ford offer more variants including a performance Raptor version.
Prices start at a heady £34,000 + VAT for an entry level Life model. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine sits under the bonnet and there is a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or ten-speed automatic transmission.
My test truck was a Style version, which can be had with the aforementioned engine or as fitted, a 240PS 3.0-litre V6 engine with the self-shifting gearbox. With VAT, a smidgen under £50,000, so a distinctly premium offering. However, for those with the very deepest of pockets you can spend more on either a PanAmericana or Aventura (£56,400 and £57,600 VAT inclusive).
All models are well equipped, with my Amarok boasting alloy wheels, LED headlights, a 12-inch instrument display touchscreen and park assist. A Premium Pack had been added (£2,460) which included Seats in leather Savona, Alloy wheels ‘Bendigo’ 8 x 20, spare wheel (alloy wheel) with original equipment tyre, 255 / 55 R20 110V tyres, Harman Kardon sound system with 8 loudspeakers, Park Assist Plus including Park Distance Control in front and rear including Rear Traffic Alert, Cruise control system, predictive speed limiter, Adaptive Cruise Control ACC and Dynamic Road Sign Display. Worth the addition.
The Ranger and Amarok have been designed to look quite different, with Volkswagen’s offering a tad more subtle in the execution. The grille is less prominent and perhaps reflects the Amarok of old. The aim is clearly the leisure market, whereas most Rangers are bought as working tools. However, the Amarok has a payload of 1,035kg and can tow a braked trailer up to 3,500kg if required, so should meet most needs.
Selectable all-wheel drive is fitted, with the truck running in 2WD unless the automatic or permanent 4WD settings are selected. A little off-road foray did little to challenge the Amarok’s considerable abilities – no surprises there. My only qualm on some of the narrow byways that criss-cross the Dales is the pickup’s girth. An odd gateway necessitated the folding in of mirrors and even then, it was a tight fit.
That extra width does pay dividends when it comes to passenger space which is a big improvement over the old model. Two or even three adults will travel in reasonable comfort in the rear now and the standard fit running board makes getting in and out easy for all.
The front seats are very comfortable and being electrically adjustable, a perfect driving position is easy to find, and the view out is excellent. The automatic gear lever has a slightly unusual action which takes some getting used to and with no steering wheel paddles, changing gear manually means using a fiddly button on the selector itself, not easy if off-roading in extremis.
Ride comfort is an Amarok forte, so forget that annoying bounce that used to plague unladen pickups of old. Most ruts, potholes and the like are easily dismissed, and it takes something quite dramatic to upset the truck’s composure. High speed cruising is a remarkably refined affair with wind and road noise almost banished. The adaptive cruise control works well too.
The 3.0-litre diesel engine boasts ample power and torque. Mated to the smooth ten-speed gearbox, progress is brisk to say the least, whether empty or fully laden. It’s more refined than the smaller 2.0-litre motor and does not need to be worked as hard to make decent progress. However, in mixed running, the 24mpg showing on the trip computer was nothing to write home about.
The Volkswagen/Ford partnership has delivered two excellent pickup trucks. Which to pick may well depend on a nearby dealer or more likely the perceived image.
There’s not much to choose between them, but although it may be my imagination, I think the Amarok does feel rather more premium. Money no object, I would probably choose Wolfsburg’s offering and most definitely the larger engine.
Volkswagen Amarok Style
Price £49,740 VAT inclusive
£53,991 as tested
Style Premium Pack £2,460
240PS 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine
10-speed automatic gearbox
0-62mph in 10.5 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Emissions 247-229g/km CO2
Towing capacity 3,500kg (braked)
3 year/100,000 mile warranty