The all-new Volkswagen Amarok is here and we drove it
It is finally here, the all-new Volkswagen Amarok and we were amongst the first to get behind the wheel at the international first drive which took place in the majestic Western cape. The newcomer benefits from a new design, new technology and an increased level of refinement. In this article we will expand on the various aspects of the new car and how the upgrades benefit the overall package.
From a visual perspective, the Volkswagen design makes it immediately clear: this is an Amarok. It has become bigger, more powerful, more athletic and more charismatic. It is now unambiguously more expressive and even more impressive. Up front, the Amarok has a high-set, grille design that stretches across the front of the truck and has plenty in common with VW's SUV range.
There are squared-off wheel arch blisters, while the rear end has C-shaped tail-lights and the Amarok name stamped into the tailgate. The Amarok looks rather handsome and has been well differentiated compared to the Ranger on which it is based.
The new Amarok is overall a larger vehicle than its predecessor. The latest model measures 5 350mm in length (96mm longer than the predecessor) and has a wheelbase of 3 270mm (173mm longer than before) which equates to more space than the outgoing generation. Depending on the model and specification, large loads of up to 1.2 tonnes can be accommodated. The new Amarok has an impressive maximum towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.
Volkswagen has also redesigned the interior which offers upgraded levels of refinement and connectivity. Step inside and the first thing to catch your eye is the vertically mounted 12 inch tablet-like touchscreen in the center of the dashboard. This screen is complemented by a fully digital instrument cluster. Commercial Vehicles has implemented a mix of digital functions and ergonomically configured buttons and switches in the Volkswagen Amarok that are intuitive to use.
The vehicle's premium positioning is also matched by the new seating. The Volkswagen Amarok's driver and front-seat passenger sit on ergonomically designed seats, which in the higher specifications can be electrically adjusted into multiple positions. The rear of the DoubleCab also offers plenty of space and comfort for three adult passengers to enjoy the journey.
When it comes to engine options, Volkswagen has decided to expand its offering. Four turbo diesel engines and one turbocharged petrol engine have been developed for the new Amarok. Qualities common to all five engines are efficiency and high levels of torque. One can expect a 2.0-litre single turbo in two states of tune (110kW/350Nm and 125kW/405Nm), a 2.0-litre biturbo (155kW/500Nm) and the 3.0-litre V6 turbo delivering 184kW and 600Nm.
Transmission will range from five-speed manual to 10-speed automatic, which will send the drive to either the front or to all four wheels. New drive and suspension systems include six different driving modes, an electric brake booster, electronic differential lock and electromechanical power steering.
Other improvements see the Amarok’s wading depth go up to 800mm from 500mm, its maximum towing capacity up from 3 300kg to 3 500kg, its roof load increase to 350kg and the tailgate begin integrated into the central locking system.
A stand out for us was the V6 model which has been drastically refined compared to the previous model. The engine and suspension upgrades, topped off with an impeccable interior have elevated the driving experience to high-end SUV status.
Pricing is still to be confirmed but our overall experience is that of an improved offering with the latest technology and a refined driving experience. The new Amarok is indeed based on the same platform and built in the same factory as the all-new Ford Ranger which will most likely be its biggest competitor at this stage. It will come down to overall pricing as the Ford offers very competitive pricing. Time will tell.