It’s no secret that big, powerful dual cab utes are all the rage at the moment.. Ford has the Ranger Wildtrak, Toyota the HiLux SR5 and Mercedes will soon have the headlining X-Class in 2018… And now Volkswagen has this… a new V6 diesel version of the Amarok. It has the same diesel engine as a Porsche, a swag of modern safety kit and equipment and a premium price tag to boot. Let’s check it out.. With more torque than any other one-tonner on the market, the new V6 diesel-powered Amarok positions itself squarely at the top end of the booming utility or pickup market. Little wonder then that its price is applied accordingly… At $59,990 in HighLine trim and $67,990 in Ultimate grade, the V6 diesel is at the pointy end of the scale for the segment and represents a circa $3000 premium over their four-cylinder siblings. But the premium is tempered by a 3.0-litre diesel engine that basically puts any rival at bay… thanks to a stonking 165kW and 550Nm.Only the previous generation V6 in the predecessor Nissan Navara comes close…But the Amarok has a cool overboost function that raises the stakes higher.. in certain conditions, you’ll see up to 180kW of power… bringing a 0-100 time of 7.9 seconds. That’s nothing to sneeze at ordinarily… but for something that can still carry around a tonne or tow three tonnes, it’s quite astonishing. Yes it may skew towards the lifestyle set, but the Amarok retains its workhorse credentials thanks to a 911kg payload capacity and 3-tonne towing capacity. Those features are combined with a revamped dashboard and new technologies including Apple CarPlay, along with safety additions including automated brake intervention and four wheel disc brakes. There are other niceties more familiar with luxury SUVs, like Nappa leather seats and even puddle lighting underneath the side steps. On the road ,the 3.0-litre engine is nothing short of lush… Yes, it pulls off the line strongly but it’s the in-gear acceleration, the everyday-type applications you need during overtaking manoeuvres and the like, that the engine really comes to the fore.It really is effortless, peak torque materialising from just 1500rpm, and just pulling strongly across the rev spectrum… This has not only enhanced what was already a compelling offering, it has transformed it… And the sound… It’s nice to drive one of these dual cab utes with a muscular soundtrack. The Amarok has long been
considered the benchmark for ride and handling, and happily it retains that status, even edging ahead of the competition with the fitment of those four disc brakes. There is barely any jiggle from the suspension, the vehicle is serene at speed and the steering and gearbox calibrations are on point, laden and unladen. In short, the Amarok has SUV levels of on-road comfort.There is no other 2.1-tonne ute that can steer, ride and brake this well. Everything feels well honed – compliant, comfortable and finessed. The Amarok recipe isn’t perfect. Off-roaders will no doubt take issue with the lack of a low range transfer case – even if it does have an ultra low ratio first gear – and the car’s lack of rear curtain airbags is another let down at this end of the market.. But in every other measureable way, the V6 Amarok is likely to be a success, even withstanding the price. For me, I simply can’t help but come back to the engine… This is what the four-cylinder Amarok was really crying out for… And to be honest, the new model delivers and then some… This segment might be subject to unprecedented competition, but even so, Volkswagen is onto a winner. .