We took the Amarok for a wild ride in the Free State

Volkswagen is set to scatter some pigeons with its new V6- powered Amarok

There’s a new boss in town! Regular readers of DestinyMan.com will recall how, over the past few months, we’ve sampled and reviewed all  the latest pick-ups in the market, pooling our experiences, gathering a database and assembling a pecking order of sorts.

 

Then along comes Volkswagen and blows the whole thing out of the water with a refreshed Amarok range brimming with enhancements and spear-headed by a model sporting a great V6 engine up-front. It’s been a fairly long period of time since we last sampled the Amarok in 132kW Biturbo guise and the new model quickly reminded us of its sophistication with a silky drive feel inside a prim, proper and vast cabin. It’s said to be the widest bakkie in the market, with its 1,55m long and 1,62m wide cargo bed fit enough to carry a ton on its load bay.

Other notable changes to the 12-model range is the discontinuation of the commercial sector focused single-cab variants – VWSA cited increasing costs to manufacture this shape – and so, like Mazda’s BT-50 and Mitsubishi’s Triton, the Amarok is now exclusively available in double-cab format. Further change is seen in the bumping up of trim levels, namely Comfortline and Highline joined by Highline Plus, which rings in leather seat covers, bi-xenon lights with LED daytime lights, rain sensors, a rear-view camera and satellite navigation as standard, plus the option of larger, stylish 19″ wheels. The top line Ultimate spec gets a name change and becomes the Extreme. It adds park distance beeps, a lot more chrome surfaces, Nappa leather and a special Ravenna Blue paint finish.

However, the real meat of this story is the range-topping V6 model. It’s a badge of honour that recalls days gone by when the V6 bakkie meant pace, glamour and deep-throated exhaust notes. VW has borrowed a 165kW and 550Nm 3.0 TDI engine from the Audi A6, tweaked and modified it to handle the stresses associated with off-road driving and commercial applications. They then shoe-horned it into the bonnet of an Amarok to create what is arguably the GTI of bakkies. With its ferociously powerful engine it’s going to scatter the WildTraks of this world and then some.

On the move it’s as refined as a typical German product: sure-footed, pliant and luxurious while sound tracked by hisses from the turbo and a fruity, deep-throated bellow that emanates from its engine as it spins the 4Motion AWD system. Because the engine is equipped with a boost function, if you bury the throttle in S mode it adds 15kW more to the output, delivering a total of 180kW for spectacular speeds. This new engine makes overtaking a laugh, and the Amarok V6 reeled in the open distances of the N8 from Bloemfontein with remarkable ease and fury.

It’s also the most digitised bakkie in the land and features a host of tech designed help it move, clamber, slide down or simply get you and your family up any mountain you desire with ease, a genuine cushiness and, importantly, safety. It’s back to our bakkie leader board then. We have some reshuffling to do.

Amarok 2.0 TDI 103kW 4×2 Manual Comfortline                           R487 700

Amarok 2.0 TDI 103kW 4MOTION Manual Comfortline              R544 900

Amarok 2.0 BiTDI 132kW 4×2 Manual Highline                              R521 900

Amarok 2.0 BiTDI 132kW 4MOTION Manual Highline                 R573 000

Amarok 2.0 BiTDI 132kW 4×2 Auto Highline                                   R539 400

Amarok 2.0 BiTDI 132kW 4×2 Auto Highline Plus                          R591 900

Amarok 2.0 BiTDI 132kW 4MOTION Auto Highline                      R590 600

Amarok 2.0 BiTDI 132kW 4MOTION Auto Highline Plus              R643 100

Amarok 2.0 BiTDI 132kW 4MOTION Auto Extreme                       R673 600

Amarok 3.0 TDI V6 165kW 4MOTION Auto Highline                     R665 700

Amarok 3.0 TDI V6 165kW 4MOTION Auto Highline Plus            R716 600

Amarok 3.0 TDI V6 165kW 4MOTION Auto Extreme                     R748 600

Service and Warranty

The Amarok model range comes standard with a 3-year/100 000km manufacturer warranty, 5-year/90 000km Automotion Service Plan and 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. The service interval is 15 000 km.