Driven: Volkswagen Amarok 3,0-litre TDI V6 4Motion AT
Bakkies are always an interesting topic in South Africa. They’re rooted deep within our culture with many people having a clear favourite, whether it’s a Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger or this – the Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI. We got to live with one for a week, and after it we can definitely see the appeal of living with a bakkie but at a price of R745 100 it also presents the question of whether a bakkie or an SUV is the better option.
The specific model that we tested was the Volkswagen Amarok 3,0-litre TDI V6 4Motion AT. The design of the Amarok V6 doesn’t stray too far from the rest of the Amarok range, but there are a few features that command your attention. The chrome grille up front comfortably nestles the V6 badge, notifying everyone that this is the big-boss engine under the bonnet. There’s a third brake-light at the back window and a V6 badge at the back, along with some newly designed wheels. The daytime running LED enabled bi-xenon headlights add a clean, luxurious look to Amarok.
The interior of the Volkswagen Amarok was built with utility in mind. The cabin is surrounded with hard-wearing plastics and tough leather, yet still offer a good degree of overall comfort. The interior technology was a bit disappointing, especially at this price point. There’s a touchscreen infotainment system at the centre of the dashboard that does a good job at supporting USB media and Apple CarPlay, but the rest of the interior felt dated. But then again, the Amarok is purposely built to be tough and the interior suits this mission.
Once you’re strapped in and ready to go, the 3,0-litre turbodiesel V6 engine becomes the central point of excitement. Push the right pedal down all the way and the Amarok will unleash 165kW of power and 550Nm of torque sent through an 8-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels with permanent 4MOTION. Push the gas even further and it will unlock the overboost function which increases the performance to 180kW of power and 580Nm of torque for 10-seconds. Volkswagen claims that the V6 engine will sip 9,0-litres of diesel per 100-kilometers and we came very close to this figure on multiple occasions, although we did find that consumption was heavier during shorter trips within the city. Long distances were much more efficient, and could have been even more efficient through the use of a cruise control function.
Driving the Volkswagen Amarok around the city was fairly comfortable. The suspension makes easy work of uneven road surfaces and the occasional speed hump and is reasonably comfortable most of the time. The seats are very soft and comfortable which I thought was a nice touch. The steering tends to err on the heavy side of things especially at lower speeds, which may be a problem for drivers that can’t do a 150-kilogram bicep curl. The gearbox climbs and lowers gears at a quick pace which makes the ride that much more smoother. Overall I would say that the Amarok is a good bakkie. It feels solid with a good build quality and has an equally impressive gearbox. The only thing holding it back is its price tag that sits just under the R750 000 mark, which is more or less in-between the cheaper Toyota Hilux 4,0-litre V6 Legend 50 and the more expensive Ford Ranger Raptor.