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A new generation of VWs

Volkswagen Autohaus Fiji
Saturday, November 04, 2017

It's hard to believe, but the Volkswagen Amarok has been available in Australia since 2010 (an automatic transmission joined the range in 2012) and now there's an upgraded 2017 Volkswagen Amarok V6.

The only real criticism the Volkswagen Amarok copped when it first landed in Australia back in 2010 was engine-related. Tradies, punters, Volkswagen fans desperate for an alternative to the current crop, existing dual-cab ute owners and off-road explorers all wondered whether a 2.0L, twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine would be too highly strung and too small in capacity to deal with the kind of abuse dual-cab ute owners in Australia love dishing out. The addition of an excellent eight-speed automatic, though, proved that a clever transmission can extract the best out of even a small capacity engine.

Anecdotally at least, the 2.0L engine seems to be taking care of business quite well, and it's pertinent to remember the same engine also powers the T6 Transporter, for example — a pretty beefy people-mover within the Volkswagen fleet.

While the Amarok didn't move the dual cab utility segment as far forward as some might have hoped, it did bring build quality, interior ergonomics, fit and finish and a car-like driving sense to a segment that previously had none of those factors. Dual-cab ute owners had been forced for years to cop sub-par interiors, loud, unrefined engines, cheap plastics and truck-like driving dynamics. The Amarok changed all that and suddenly the term "car-like" entered dual-cab utility reviews.

Now though, Volkswagen trumps the competition in powertrain terms, at least with a 3.0L V6 turbo-diesel engine that outsizes Mazda and Ford, which both use five-cylinder engines. Contrary to what was initially thought, the engine switch isn't related to the perceived threat that comes in the form of the still in test-mule stage Mercedes-Benz dual cab. Rather, it's the fact the existing 2.0L four-cylinder engine that powers the Amarok doesn't meet Euro VI emissions standards.

In the V6 Amarok's cabin, there's higher quality nappa leather trimming ergoComfort seats, Apple CarPlay, a redesigned instrument panel and that same car-like feel to the ergonomics and insulation. The 6.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system is clear, there's a rear-view camera as standard, and the test models had optional 14-way electric front seats. The addition of an Apple CarPlay suitable system lifts the feeling of tech within the cabin and brings the Amarok in line with European SUVs.

The engine, which generates that solid slab of torque from 1500rpm, is backed by an eight-speed automatic, and features 24 valves, overhead camshafts and BlueMotion technology. The European fuel usage claim is 7.6L/100km. The impressive torque figure is a 130Nm step up from the best the four-cylinder can generate. The V6 engine will come standard with VW's 4Motion permanent AWD system, meaning no low range, but there is an off-road mode and rear diff lock standard.

The four-wheel disc brakes wash off plenty of speed quickly too - an important feature for a portly dual-cab ute that can belt along at 200km/h. The V6 Amarok weighs in at more than 2000kg. It's almost comical that rear disc brakes are a feature worthy of mention in 2016, but they are, and the segment will be the better for it when they are implemented across the board.

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