Most powerful ute in its class

THE Volkswagen Amarok had a makeover in late 2016 but, rather than undergoing extensive cosmetic surgery, VW’s one-tonne pick-up contender opted for a course of steroids instead.
The old model’s relatively puny 2.0 TDI engine was junked and dealers now offer the Amarok for sale with a meaty 3.0 V6 TDI, which means it boasts the most powerful engine in its class.
At least it does until the new Mercedes X-Class pick-up hits showrooms with the promise of a 261bhp V6 diesel. Other contenders in the one-tonne pick-up sector include Nissan’s Navara with a 2.3-litre 187bhp four-cylinder engine, Mitsubishi’s L200 with a 178bhp 2.4-litre, and Ford’s Ranger with a 197bhp five cylinder 3.2-litre unit.
The latest Amarok comes with a choice of 201bhp and 221bhp versions of the new engine, which is a very close relative of the engine fitted to VW’s Touareg SUV.
The Amarok also offers the choice of an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox, both with permanent four motion all-wheel drive with a self-locking Torsen centre differential to ensure terrific off-road ability.
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The current range for the updated Amarok kicks off with the Trendline model, which has a decent spec including a 6.3-inch touchscreen DAB audio system with Bluetooth and voice control, climate control, cruise control, leather multifunction steering wheel, and electric windows and mirrors.
It looks the part too, with 17-inch alloy wheels, body colour door mirrors and bumpers, wheel arch extensions and rear privacy glass. The Highline moves things up a gear with 18-inch alloys, xenon headlamps and LED running lamps, a chrome grille, chrome rear step and smoked taillight lenses outside, plus leather seat trims and heated front seats on the inside.
The Aventura edition adds 19-inch alloys, front fog lamps and special badging outside, plus a Discover Media navigation system inside. The only body configuration is a five-seat double cab and — pending the arrival of the Mercedes X Class — the VW Amarok goes further than rivals in providing a car like interior with a quality of fit and feel that belies its commercial roots. The Amarok is one of the biggest pick-ups in its class with the widest load bed, and with an engine that delivers class-leading refinement and performance the model has undoubted appeal.
There is a penalty for that V6 at the fuel pumps of course, not to mention a showroom premium for the VW badge — but then VW claims class-leading residuals for the Amarok too.
MPG and running costs
It’s the top-spec 221bhp engine option that is attracting all the attention and it produces emissions of 199g/km together with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 37.2mpg with that standard eight speed automatic gearbox.
That’s actually pretty good given the performance that’s available but the 201bhp version turns in exactly the same economy figures. If you want a more economical Amarok, you will need the manual gearbox and the entry-level 161bhp version of the V6 TDI engine.

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