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On-test: VW Amarok now with added shove

With the beating heart of a V6, VW has revealed its face-lifted Amarok pickup. Geoff Ashcroft reports.

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Latest Amarok is strictly V6 power only.

VW has taken the wraps of its face-lifted 2017 Amarok double cab pickup, and with it comes the beating heart of a V6.

 

This 3.0-litre V6, borrowed from the Touareg, is now the only engine choice for Amarok, as the four-pot BiTDi version has been completely ousted.

 

Customers wanted more power said VW, but strangely there will be a lower power model too.

Need to know

  • Model: VW Amarok 3.0 V6
  • Trim: Aventura, Highline, Trendline
  • Price: £26,225-£31,995+vat
  • Engine: 3.0-litre, V6 turbo diesel, 224hp @ 4,500rpm, 550Nm @ 2,750rpm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, permanent 4x4 with off-road mode
  • Performance: 119mph, 36.2mpg combined, 204g/km
  • Payload: 1,114kg
  • Towing capacity: 3,100kgs

With 224hp, this highest power model is being shadowed by a 204hp version, and both get an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. Sometime in 2017, the firm will offer a six-speed manual box for the 204hp model, and also bring in a detuned 163hp version as a manual-only in base-spec Startline trim. Trendline and Highline trim continues.

 

Externally, Amarok gets a new grille and front bumper, while internally, a host of improvements have been applied to the cabin, including new materials, DAB radio, multi-function steering wheel and 6.3in touchscreen info system taken from the car parts bin.

 

A host of safety devices are used too, such as post-collision braking, trailer stabilisation, park pilot and rear view camera.

 

This snazzy blue paint scheme is particular to the 224hp Aventura-spec launch model, of which there are only 240 being made. Why only 240? It is the peak power level available from the 224hp engine when over-boost kicks in.

Tailgate gets spring assistance, though load bed still has poor lashing points.

The added shove is available at speeds between 30-75mph, when more than 75 per cent throttle position is used. Is it effective? Crikey, yes.

 

But it is also fully engaged with the road surface too, thanks to VW’s 4Motion permanent four-wheel drive system. So you will not need a dab of opposite lock, every time you fling the Amarok into a roundabout.

 

If you can keep your right foot under control, VW’s Blue Motion tech might help you see 36.2mpg on the combined cycle.

 

While the truck’s interior is vastly more refined, there is clear evidence of its utilitarian roots with scratchy plastics scattered around the dashboard.

The Amarok's interior is heavily revised, and much more car-like.

Engaging the off-road mode, Amarok ticks along with electronic assistance. It softens throttle inputs, adjusts ABS and traction control and manages hill descent control too. Even with road-biased tyres, it did an admirable job of keeping the truck moving up mucky hills and down slippery dales.

 

The ride is still jiggly, thanks to a rear axle with leaf springs. Load space and payload is largely unchanged, though extra weight from the V6 and its AdBlue paraphernalia has eaten into the gross train weight, so disappointingly this one tows 100kg less than its predecessor.

 

It is also a shame that VW has adopted the Aventura name once used by Nissan, when it should perhaps be adopting Nissan’s much more useful rail system for payload security.

 

This aside, the V6 finally gives Amarok the shove this truck deserves. It now needs a few accessories adding to the roof and bodywork, to spice-up that plain Jane exterior.

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