We drove the Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDi: a power sixpack for the great outdoors…

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The Amarok offers versatile transport, with go anywhere capabilities. Being well built, breathing quality and workmanship, it lacked for some the engine size to go with it. VW has now masterfully filled the gap, with a magnificent V6 Diesel, mated to an equally superb 8 speed dual clutch auto box. It makes the Amarok even more desirable. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

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We already praised in a previous test resport (look at our earlier site autoprova.net) the fine balance and driving capabilities of the Amarok with the trusted four cylinder TDI diesel engine, a fine and frugal workhorse. But indeed, with the refinement found in build quality, workmanship and driving comfort, the Amarok deserved more. And here it is. The V6 TDi actually seems made for it. Once you push the starting knob, you know.

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The smooth hum of the V6 is music to your ears, and this goes, as true car enthusiasts will agree, for any six cylinder internal combustion engine. Just too bad they don’t make more of them, we would say.

The noble sound remains just as nice when the engine is called to duty, and that is just the beauty of it. This Amarok is your companion to pull your up to 3,5 ton sports yacht to Mediterranean or Scandinavian shores, or haul your Harley or two, all this in style, of course.

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It will whisper along – heavy load or not – on motorways for hours on end, making long distance driving a very relaxed affair indeed. The high gearing will make this also quite easy on the fuel. Of course, for a car with this weight and aerodynamics, fuel consumption depends very much on driving style and payload. Let’s point out here that this V6 has all the state of the art technology in place to make it a superbly efficient unit. Constant speed cruising costs – between 7 and 8 liters per 100 km, and the figure for urban use boils down to 8,6 liters. This V6 is good for 224 HP or 165 kW between 3 and 4500 rpm and a healthy 550 Nm of torque, from as low as 1400 to 2750 rpm. The performance is impressive to say the least: 0 to 100 goes in just under 8 seconds, and the top speed is a good 190 km/h. CO2 figure is around 203 g/km. There is even an overboost function which allows you to enjoy 180 kW… Let’s say here that you have the choice for a lower powered version of 204 HP with 500 Nm of torque.

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This engine is mated to an 8 speed version of the well proven DSG box, and needless to say the combination is very harmonious indeed. Supersmooth, it will keep revs ideally down around 1300 to 1500 rpm in dense urban traffic, and will shift very soon indeed to higher gears to keep the revs down and use the generous torque of this engine. Driven with anticipation, it is therefore very well possible to stay around 8-9 liters even in dense urban traffic. Of course, once you put your foot down, the DSG box will immediately choose a lower gear, and offer you that brisk burst of power you just want in that traffic situation.

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This improves of course greatly the agility and nimbleness of this Amarok. It is therefore quite a pleasure to drive this V6 spiritedly or with rather more abandon, making this impressive pickup a fast mount indeed, if and when the need arises.

Stable handling, and a master off the beaten track

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VW engineers have given utmost care and attention to endow this Amarok with great high speed qualities, and indeed it feels totally at home on fast Autobahn stretches, showing excellent straight line stability.

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On curvy roads it holds very well its own, staying neutral most of the time, just showing a mild understeer when going faster. Of course, a responsible driver takes into account the sheer weight and volume of the car. What pleased us also very much was the comfort of this Amarok. Of course, the weight and generous track and wheelbase offer the right conditions for a supple ride, but the finely tuned suspension, striking a right balance between comfort and stiffness needed for handling and predictable off road qualities, contributes to a very good result. Any vibrations for example stemming from cobblestones or rough concrete are very well filtered out, making life in the Amarok a far more refined experience than you would expect.

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The Amarok comes also very well to its own off the beaten track, again the good weight distribution, ground clearance and well balanced suspension showing what it can achieve. We took our Amarok through its paces on dry offroad terrain, and we were totally amazed about what it can tackle, also thanks to its permanent all wheel drive. Just for the all-terrain bufs, here are some further essential data: the approach angle is 29.5°, departure angle 18.0°, ramp angle 15.6°, climb angle  45°. The built in software with the descent module for instance will help even the total novice through most difficult situations.

Practical

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Of course, the Amarok is totally practical. It easily sits four, and three children also fit comfortably on the rear bench seat. Practicality abounds also in the interior, with very wide bins in the doors, and a large centre console stowaway box where you can put away your electronic devices or all other stuff which accompanies your life.

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The facelifted Amarok does not only have a revised front end, the interior has also had a stylish makeover, and the instruments, knobs and handles have certainly an upmarket look, touch and feel about them.

Then there is the large (2,52 m2)  pickup load area in the back, for your snow or waterjet scooter, bikes, whatever you can dream of. During our test, we took the opportunity to move an antique Japanese piece of furniture to our home…

Parking aids and of course a rearview camera makes the impressive Amarok totally easy to park, and with the large wheels and last but not least impressive ground clearance, you don’t have to fear nasty kerbs, trottoir edges and the like, they won’t damage your car or wheel rims.

Conclusion

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The Amarok truly stands out in the pickup world. Not only are we fond of this totally honest, practical, timeless and sturdy type of vehicle, the Amarok adds to it its build quality, mechanical refinement and perfection, which makes it very desirable indeed. The smooth V6 makes for a further touch of nobility, zest, refinement and last but not least performance, which the Amarok as an outstanding vehicle so truly deserves. We would suggest, take a drive with this V6, and you will be more than convinced…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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