Volkswagen Amarok review: more power and luxury for high-end pick-up

Volkswagen Amarok review: more power and luxury for high-end pick-up
Volkswagen Amarok review: more power and luxury for high-end pick-up

Want muscle and luxury in your pickup? This big diesel Amarok could be the one

Volkswagen Amarok 3.8 V6

Price: from £32,503
Engine: 3.0-litre, V6, diesel
Power: 255bhp
Torque: 428lb ft
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Kerb weight: 2178kg
Top speed: tbc
0-62mph: tbc
Fuel economy: tbc
CO2: tbc

If bragging rights are important to you, you might be interested to know that this 3.0 V6 diesel Amarok is the most powerful mainstream pickup you can buy off the shelf in the UK.

Its 255bhp output narrowly trumps its next nearest rival, Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming (and also 3.0 diesel V6-engined) 253bhp X-Class. Just to make absolutely sure of its advantage, the VW has an overboost function that will pump in an extra 13bhp for up to 20 seconds at a time.

That engine output, along with the hefty 428lb ft of torque lolloping in from just 1400rpm, is linked up to permanent all-wheel drive via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

VW Amarok review
In the pick-up market the Amarok’s interior is one of the best

We drove a final-phase pre-production vehicle Amarok 3.0 in Aventura trim, a special edition launch model modelled on the Highline that will ordinarily be topping the range. On top of the Highline spec, the Aventura brings in lots of black trim accents (headlining included) plus nappa leather seats. 20-inch wheels are standard and there’s the option of picking a new limited-edition metallic Peacock Green paint job.

The dusty tracks of the Middle East (rather than any liquid testing of the truck’s 500mm wading depth) required the fitment of an air intake snorkel. Its various gurgles, hisses and whooshes were an amusing overlay to the V6’s not unpleasant engine growl. You’ll hear that engine in the cabin when the throttle pedal is down, but once you’ve reached your chosen cruising speed it subsides to a refined hum.

VW Amarok review
V6 gets power hike to 255bhp

As SUV impersonators go, this Amarok makes a pretty good fist of it. The meaty torque and fast-acting gearbox (if anything, it’s almost too keen to swap gears) deliver very relaxed progress.

Even the handling is good, the presence of weighty steering making a welcome change for VW commercial vehicles. It’s no lightning-quick steering rack, mind you, so you’ll get a good arm workout on bendy routes. Old pickup lags might refuse to believe that the 3.0’s uprated rear suspension is still built around a leaf-sprung rear axle, but it is. Their befuddlement at the supple capability of the Amarok on gravel or dirt tracks will be something to behold.

VW Amarok review

That wodge of torque will be of interest to heavy towers too. It’s still only licensed for up to 3.1 tonnes – some rivals can tow up to 3.5 tonnes, with smaller engines – but the Amarok’s 3.0 will take all the sweat out of it.

This new model replaces the old 221bhp Amarok, but is less than £1000 dearer than it, so the pricing is competitive. Mercedes may be looking at that fact with a slight sense of worry as they formulate a (no doubt premium) price for their V6 X-Class – which, unlike the VW, is not the UK’s most powerful pickup.

VW Amarok review

Read more: 

Review: Mercedes-Benz X-Class

Review: Fiat Fullback Cross

Review: Toyota Hilux

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