VW Amarok V6: Unmatched, unrivalled


VW Amarok V6: Unmatched, unrivalled

Friday, April 03, 2020

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WHEN we tested the Volkswagen Amarok last year, we nicknamed it Pickup GTI for the punchy performance from its two-litre twin-turbocharged diesel four-cylinder motor and car-like refinement in a rugged off-road capable package. The recently released Amarok V6 adds a hyper-potent three-litre turbo diesel V6 to an already impressive formula. Let's call this one, Muscle Pickup.

Externally, the Amarok's styling is unchanged other than the most important thing, that small shiny V6 badge on the driver's side of the front grille. Inside, your experience will vary based on which of the various trim levels is purchased, but one will not be disappointed by the space, storage options, work-relevant connectivity and a noise level that best some luxury sport utility offerings much further up the price ladder. Even the standard equipment and quality is more than enough for the average owner. For example, the infotainment screen might be smaller, but it retains the speed and ease of use of the larger 6.3-inch touchscreen, still promoting owners that their cellphones are in the vehicle upon shutdown and exit.

Like many muscle performance cars, the Amarok V6 is dominated by its engine. Under the hood, the three-litre V6 turbo diesel is a beast, providing 221bhp and a massive 465 lb-ft of torque. These figures put it at the top of the food chain against class rivals. Paired with the cargo bed that is also the largest in class, the Amarok V6 can take a payload of 2,000lbs and tow up to 7,700lbs, making it hauling monster. If that wasn't enough to secure it the What Car? Magazine Pickup of the Year 2020, the VW is adept off-road as it is on-road.

Equipped with VWs 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive system, the Amarok continues to set itself apart and excel. There are no complicated differentials since 4MOTION uses electronics to continuously divide traction across the four-wheels no matter the situation. When things get really tough, there is an off-road mode, otherwise the massive low range torque, great ground clearance, and suspension articulation will pull the pickup cleanly through rough terrain.

And things could have stopped there leaving it top of the pile. Thankfully VW didn't. The Amarok has always had excellent on-road manners due to the dynamic and refinement of its chassis. Cleary, it was built to handle the extra performance that the V6 delivers. The engine operates invisibly at low speeds from the cabin, pulling cleanly and effortlessly when necessary. Winding down the windows, once warmed up, the V6 puts out none of the regular diesel chatter, just the intoxicating whine and hiss of its turbocharger.

Drivers that put their foot down will be pleased as the response is fast and unrelenting as the Amarok's eight-speed DSG gearbox rockets through the gears making use of the ever increasing wave or torque. Slip the gearbox into SPORT, floor it and five gears later the Amarok is past whatever traffic was in front of it.

Again, VW could have stopped there, but the Amarok V6 drives way better than any pickup or commercial vehicle has any right to. Despite its ride height, on-road, it corners near flat as grip is only limited by the tyres, the 4MOTION system, and the amount of testicular fortitude of the person behind the steering wheel. It stops well too, because the Amarok is equipped with four-wheel disc brakes, continuing the trend of marking out the vehicle as a modern and unique offering in the market.

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