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Volkswagen Amarok 2024 review: TDI600 Style

The Volkswagen Amarok has been around since 2011 and has attracted its fair share of awards and fans through the years. 

It long ago set the gold standard for refinement in utes, but the rest of the pack eventually caught up. In fact, some of them surpassed it.

But the new-generation Amarok is here. It’s “all-new”, according to VW, and it shares the Ford Ranger’s ladder-frame chassis and many of that ute’s components.

I tested the mid-range TDI600 Style with a focus on its off-road efficacy. So, is it better, the same or worse than it used to be?

Read on.

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 7/10

The Volkswagen Amarok is available in five spec levels: Core, Life, Style, PanAmericana and Adventura. 

The Style is available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel engine (154kW/500Nm) or a 3.0-litre V6 single-turbo diesel engine (184kW/600Nm).

Our MY23 Style test vehicle has the V6 and a recommended retail price of $70,990 (a new MY24 example will cost you $2750 more). Options and accessories then run to a (front and rear) suspension lift-kit ($3815), snorkel ($1189), metallic paint ($1100) and an electric brake controller ($499) pushing its MY23 price as-tested to $77,593 (excluding on-road costs).

Standard features in the Style include a 12.0-inch digital touchscreen multimedia system, wireless charging, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, eight-way manually-adjustable passenger seat (both front seats heated), a 360-degree 'area view' camera, a tyre pressure monitoring system, 18.0-inch alloy wheels and more.

18.0-inch alloy wheels. 18.0-inch alloy wheels.

Exterior paint choices include 'Clear White' (a solid paint finish), or metallic finishes such as 'Bright Beige', 'Deep Red', 'Midnight Black', 'Bright Blue', 'Medium Silver', 'Dark Grey' and 'Mid Blue'.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design? 7/10

The dual-cab Amarok is a four-door ute on a ladder-frame chassis. It has a listed kerb weight of 2393kg and is 5350mm long (with a 3270mm wheelbase), 2208mm wide and 1886mm high. It sits higher and looks chunkier than before.

The exterior is where the Amarok exhibits most of any differences it has when compared to platform-mate Ranger and the less I write about style the better. I wear old footy shorts to formal functions, so why listen to me?

  • 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Design 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Design
  • 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Design 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Design
  • 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Design 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Design
  • 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Design 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Design

With the Amarok’s stretched wheelbase, the driver and passengers are now afforded extra cabin space and legroom, so that’s a big tick in favour of function over form in terms of design.

The interior is a pleasant space and easy to feel comfortable in.

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside? 7/10

The aforementioned extra cabin space and legroom is a big bonus for the Amarok’s all-around practicality.

And it’s a nicely finished interior for a mid-range spec with plenty of soft-touch surfaces but also a satisfactory spread of durable plastic to cop life’s messy burdens. I count the provision of front and rear mats on the carpet floor part of this positive practicality.

The multimedia touchscreen dominated up-front but its operation is far from ideal.

Sure, I’m a bit of a luddite when it comes to tech, but I’m getting better and can usually work my way around the system pretty quickly in a vehicle I test.

  • 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Seats 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Seats
  • 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Seats 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Seats

Not this time. I was constantly caught in a frustrating cycle of trying to navigate through countless menus and sub-menus to finally reach the function I wanted to control.

Also having to stab at the screen with your finger to adjust the air con temp and fan while trying to concentrate on driving is, again, far from ideal.

I still like physical dials and buttons, especially if the on-screen control hub is a confusion of pages to hunt through.

The front seats are supportive and comfortable. I’m an old bloke with a stack of scars and injuries – some niggling, some serious – and I couldn’t find fault in the forward pews, in terms of the comfort factor.

  • 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Practicality 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Practicality
  • 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Practicality 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Practicality
  • 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Practicality 2024 Volkswagen Amarok TDI600 Style I Practicality

The rear seats are okay, too. They’re the poor second cousins to those in the front, but they’re not terrible. That said, while the cabin is bigger and wider, the back seat is still more a spot for three kids, or two adults and a kid, rather than three big beefy blokes.

As for storage and device power sources, everyone inside the Amarok is well catered for, including cupholders galore, front and back, and even wireless charging up front.

The air-con is dual-zone and there are directional vents in the rear, so the passengers back there can get some air.

The business end, the Amarok’s tub, has a hard plastic liner and measures 1544mm long, 1224mm wide between the wheel arches and 529mm deep, while the tailgate opening height is 880mm. It has four tie-down points, LED lights and a 12V outlet.

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its engine and transmission? 7/10

This Amarok has a 3.0-litre V6 single-turbo diesel engine producing 184kW and 600Nm (hence TDI600) and it’s matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

It has VW’s '4Motion' selectable all-wheel-drive system with '2H' (two-wheel drive), '4H' (four-wheel drive high-range), '4L' (four-wheel drive low-range), and '4A' (four-wheel drive auto).

This Amarok has a 3.0-litre V6 single-turbo diesel engine. This Amarok has a 3.0-litre V6 single-turbo diesel engine.

This AWD system has proven effective in the past, quickly shutting up the naysayers who claimed a vehicle without low-range 4WD had no right tackling serious off-roading.

But it’s the exception to the rule and mostly because it’s not lacking off-road tech and mechanical back-up. It has full-time 4WD/AWD through a Torsen centre differential and a rear differential lock… but more about that soon.

Driving – What's it like to drive? 7/10

The Amarok has always been best regarded as a medium-duty off-road tourer with heavy-duty capabilities if really needed, but it’s no hardcore rock-crawler.

And that’s fine. Because it more than makes up for any perceived lack of gung-ho 4WD ability with impressive levels of comfort and refinement.

That’s not to say the Amarok is not a decent off-roader. It is, but it’s simply better suited to less severe off-road challenges. But, again, more about that soon.

Once out on the open road, however, the Amarok is impressive – quiet, refined, and comfortable – but this V6 takes some winding up to get there.

This engine and transmission is not as smooth a partnership as expected and revs flare on upshifts (fair enough) but hold there for far too long for my liking.

There’s satisfying power and torque on offer, but it’s not always delivered in a seamless fashion.

Steering is feather light but not as precise as I’d like and the auto shifter is one of these new-fangled toggle-style arrangements which I often find difficult to work with. But I’m an old codger so perhaps you’ll have fun with it.

Ride and handling are pretty well sorted, and if you like your vehicle suspension on the firm side of the firmness spectrum you’ll be happy in this Amarok.

The Amarok has always been best regarded as a medium-duty off-road tourer with heavy-duty capabilities if really needed, but it’s no hardcore rock-crawler. The Amarok has always been best regarded as a medium-duty off-road tourer with heavy-duty capabilities if really needed, but it’s no hardcore rock-crawler.

The Amarok’s wider wheel track and longer wheelbase give it a settled, composed feel on sealed surfaces just as much as it did later on gravel roads and dirt tracks.

There are six driving modes from which to choose – 'Normal', 'Eco', 'Towing/heavy load', 'Slippery', 'Mud' and 'Sand/Snow' – each of which adjust throttle response, transmission calibration, and traction control among other characteristics to suit the conditions and terrain.

And terrain of the rougher variety is where I headed next in this test.

Good news: the Amarok remains an effective off-roader. Equipped with full-time AWD via a Torsen centre differential and a rear locking diff, the Amarok is able to comfortably take on and conquer some off-road challenges a few stock-standard 4WD utes struggle with, namely steep slippery rock steps and deep muddy ruts.

It has 235mm ground clearance, a wading depth of 800mm and off-road angles of 30 degrees (approach), 22 degrees (ramp-over) and 25.6 degrees (departure). Measurements that are pretty much standard for the 4WD ute realm.

Not-so-good news: Unfortunately, the Amarok’s off-road traction control system feels a little off the mark to me, often chipping into action in an uneven way.

And while the off-road-focused driving modes – Slippery, Mud and Sand/Snow – offer slight variations in the characteristics of this VW’s driver-assist tech and mechanicals, they make little discernible difference in the Amarok’s actual performance and I reckon the rear diff lock produces better results.

Fitted with a 360-degree area view camera. Fitted with a 360-degree area view camera.

Now, with a longer wheelbase, reducing its ramp-over angle, the Amarok is somewhat compromised when it comes to traversing rocky steps or hill-climbs with steep crests.

For the record, ramp-over angle refers to the angle between your tyres and the centre of your vehicle's underbody; too shallow an angle and your vehicle will scrape its undercarriage over even minor obstacles or or even get 'hung up' on those terrain irregularities.

Imagine this. You’ve driven up a steep hill. Your approach angle was enough to get you up the incline but as you continue over the hill your vehicle’s undercarriage becomes grounded on the crest.

If you try to drive off of it, you risk significant damage to your vehicle’s underbody. The angle of the crest is greater than your vehicle’s ramp-over angle.

The Amarok’s road-focused Goodyear Wrangler Territory H/T tyres (255/65R18) are far from ideal for off-roading because they’re simply not designed for this kind of work.

They quickly become gummed up with mud and they’re the wrong side of useless on properly rough terrain. If you’re planning any 4WD excursions, get rid of these standard tyres and replace them with a decent set of all-terrains.

If you’re planning to use your Amarok as a load-lugger and/or tow vehicle, then it’s worthwhile to know its payload rating is 957kg, gross vehicle mass (GVM) is 3350kg, and its gross combination mass (GCM) is 6400kg.

It’s legally allowed to tow 750kg (unbraked trailer) and 3500kg (braked).

Efficiency – What is its fuel consumption? What is its driving range? 8/10

Official fuel consumption is 8.4L/100km on a combined cycle. On this test, I recorded 10.2L/100km, which is pretty good considering all of the 4WDing I did.

Official fuel consumption is 8.4L/100km on a combined cycle. Official fuel consumption is 8.4L/100km on a combined cycle.

The Amarok has an 80-litre fuel tank so, going by that on-test fuel figure, you could reasonably expect a driving range of about 784km out of a full tank.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating? 8/10

The Amarok has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from testing conducted in 2022.

Standard safety gear includes nine airbags (knee, centre, front, side/curtain and rear), AEB, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, roll over mitigation, speed sign recognition, 360-degree area view camera, a reversing camera, park assist (with park distance control in front and rear including rear traffic alert) and more.

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs? 7/10

The Amarok is covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and one year of roadside assistance is available.

Service intervals are set at every 12 months or 15,000km (whichever occurs first).

The Amarok is covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and one year of roadside assistance is available. The Amarok is covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and one year of roadside assistance is available.

Capped price servicing – or 'Assured Service Pricing' as VW calls it – is available for the first five service appointments (for a total of $1801 over five years) as long as your Amarok is serviced at an authorised Volkswagen dealership. 

Not the best warranty coverage available, especially when you consider that you can buy something about $10k cheaper like a Mitsubishi Triton and it has a 10-year warranty and 10 years of capped price servicing.

The VW Amarok has for a long time been one of the benchmark utes and it remains so – but mostly in on-road terms, now. It yields a refined and comfortable driving experience and this ute has oodles of open-road touring potential. But I liked previous iterations of the Amarok more than I do this one.

Off-road, it feels a bit clunky and a touch off-kilter to me, mostly due to a traction control system that is now hampered by uneven activation and off-road drive modes that seem to do little. Despite these minor niggles, the Amarok remains a refined daily driver.

$70,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.7/5

Adventure score

3.7/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Price Guide

$70,990

Based on new car retail price

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.