The VW Amarok has, it seems, sparked demand and derision in equal measure ever since it first became available in Australia in 2011 as a four-cylinder manual variant.
The fact you could get an Amarok 4x4 with a 2.0-litre diesel engine and no low-range gearing made some people curious, some people furious and some were just waiting to see how the Amarok would actually perform as a daily driver and adventure-seeking vehicle.
But even as more people accepted, some of them grudgingly, that the VWute was doing okay in the city and suburbs as well as on the beach and in the bush, there was still growing demand for an Amarok with a V6.
That variant arrived to much fanfare in 2016 and, despite not selling in monumental numbers, the Amarok keeps trucking along nicely, thanks very much.
Here is our special review on the dual-cab Amarok, which gathers together all of your FAQs and tackles every single one of them in one yarn. Read on.
Does the VW Amarok have any common problems, issues or faults?
As with many new vehicles, some problems, perceived or actual, only come to light or are anecdotally reported years after the vehicles go on the market; we test only new Amaroks, so we’re unable to comment with authority on how they perform over a long period of time.
Automatic transmission issues in VW vehicles have been reported in the past, but for up-to-date owner complaints and questions on a range of issues from maintenance, brake-pad wear, diff, fan-belt and tensioner problems, head to our to our Amarok problems page and check to see if your specific question has been answered there.
Our problems page does not currently have any questions about Amarok-related issues to do with automatic gearbox problems, turbo problems, or clutch issues, but that doesn’t mean those issues don’t exist.
From base-spec 2.0-litre four-cylinder 4x2 Amaroks through to the top-spec 3.0 litre V6 TDI580 Ultimate, the standard features lists range from rather basic to fully stocked.
The 4x2 has 16-inch steel wheels, leather-covered multi-function steering wheel, heated power mirrors, heavy-duty rubber flooring, high-level stop-light incorporating lighting for tray area, cruise control and a multi-collision braking system.
The Core 4x4 adds to that, selectable or permanent 4x4, under body protection (bash plate), 16-inch Korama alloy wheels, Pirelli ATR tyres (245/70 R16), rear bumper, with integrated step, rear parking sensors, rear view camera, and Core 4x4 decal on tub sides.
The Core V6 adds 17-inch Posadas alloy wheels, radiator grille with chrome element, extended wheel arches, front fog lights, Austin cloth seat upholstery,
The V6 Canyon adds Bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, Canyon Limited Edition seat trim, park distance control, front and rear with rear view camera, 17-inch Aragua alloys, Canyon door and tailgate decals, plus black headlining and pillar trims.
The Sportline V6 adds 18-inch Manaus alloy wheels, comfort closing rear tailgate, colour-coated exterior mirrors, partially chromed, rear privacy glass, rear bumper, chromed, with integrated step, tinted tail lights, Salipra cloth seat upholstery, dash panel with bright silver inserts, dual-zone air-conditioning, and four 12V sockets (three in cabin and one in tray).
The Amarok Highline V6 has a stack of standard features including 18-inch alloy wheels, Salipra trim cloth seats, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors with reverse camera, gps / sat nav / navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone air-conditioning, a rear diff lock, off-road mode (with optimised ABS, ESP, transmission and hill descent control), Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, stainless-steel styling bar, stainless-steel side steps and more.
The Amarok Highline V6 580 Black (190kW/200kW on over-boost and 580Nm) gets black 20-inch Talca alloy wheels, gloss black styling bar (long design), gloss black side bars (no step), gloss black painted exterior mirrors, gloss black and chrome grille, and black headlining and pillar trims inside.
The Amarok Highline V6 580 Black gets black 20-inch Talca alloy wheels.
The Amarok Ultimate V6 580 gets silver 20-inch Talca alloy wheels, stainless-steel styling bar (long design), stainless steel side steps with LED lighting, special cargo area coating, and, inside, it gets Nappa leather-appointed upholstery in black, ergoComfort seats (14-way electric, 2-way manual) for driver and front passenger, instrument cluster with Premium Colour multi-function display, leather-covered multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters, stainless-steel pedals, and tailored carpet mats.
If you’re an Amarok owner then lucky for you because there are lots of accessories for the ute, OEM and aftermarket, so you can upgrade the adventure features of your ’Rok.
The steering wheel is already a multi function steering wheel so there’s no need to upgrade that.
VW accessories include 19 inch alloy wheels, canopy, towbar kit, hardtop tonneau cover or roll cover, and more.
VW accessories include 19 inch alloy wheels.
The aftermarket, such as top-quality mobs like ARB and Ironman 4x4, have every bit of off-roading gear you need, including all the usual suspects such as snorkel, nudge bar, bull bar, sports bar, recovery points, ladder racks, bash plate (underbody protection), winch, side steps and awning.
You can upgrade with a body kit, light bar, as well as spotlights, wheel arch extensions (even though the Amarok’s are already quite pronounced), and a chrome pack adding some bling to your adventure thing.
As with considering any potential aftermarket additions to your Amarok, make sure the upgrades or accessories don’t adversely affects your vehicle’s warranty.
Of course, just check out any of the above (under What features can you upgrade?).
Entry-level variants have rear bumpers with an integrated step, but that’s about as adventure-y as they get and higher-spec variants have sports bars, side steps and tray liner, but no matter which Amarok you go for, there always plenty of scope to improve upon it.
Amaroks can be better prepared for the outdoors lifestyle with things such as roof bars or, better yet, the platform system (like roof racks only better), which can accommodate a bicycle carrier or roof box, and cop up to a 75kg load on top.
The sky’s the limit in terms of what you can add onto an Amarok – think bullbar, snorkel, towbar kit, rims, floor mats and more – but, as always, make sure it’s legal to modify your Amarok in such a away and that the modification does not adversely affect your warranty.
There are accessories to suit all Amarok trim levels.
What are the key stats & specs of the VW Amarok engine?
Amaroks come with several engine size and tune options: 2.0L TDI400 (132kW, 400Nm); 2.0L TDI420 (132kW, 420Nm; 4x2 and 4x4); 3.0L TDI500 (165kW, 500Nm, with overboost function up to 180kW); 3.0L TDI550 (165kW, 550Nm), with overboost function up to 180kW); and 3.0L TDI580 (190kW, 580Nm), with overboost function up to 200kW.
The 2.0L TDI four-cylinder bi-turbo motors have garnered a fair bit of praise since their Amarok inception, especially in light of how much they were somewhat unfairly derided, before anyone had even driven an Amarok.
Amaroks come with several engine size and tune options.
The Amarok has a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and its function is to remove soot from the diesel engine’s exhaust gas. Extended uninterrupted drives under higher engine loads (2500rpm–3000rpm) keep the DPF clean, but if you’re doing a lot of stop-start short-distance driving or your Amarok is left standing idle for extended periods, then the DPF indicator light may go on. If it does, you’ll have to drive your ute (no big ask there) so the DPF can clean itself – this is called regeneration.
Australia’s aftermarket 4WD accessories mobs have plenty of top-quality canopy options for Amaroks, and what you do to the rear of your ’Rok is really only limited by your imagination and access to cash.
Listed payload in the Amarok ranges from 871kg (in the Highline 580 Black) through to 1155kg (in the TDI420 4x2 Core).
The Amarok tray is the same dimensions in every variant: 1555mm long, 1620mm wide (maximum), 1222mm wide (between the wheel arches), 1364mm wide (at tailgate opening), and 508mm high (at tailgate). The tray floor (load height) is 780mm from the ground.
The Amarok tray is the same dimensions in every variant.
Note: no matter what storage system you have on your Amarok’s roof – roof rails, roof rack or a storage platform – the roof load limit remains 100kg.
A set of drawers (inside your Amarok’s canopy-equipped tray will add more load-carrying versatility to your touring set-up.
The Amarok is available in a range of colours including Candy White (solid), Mojave Beige (metallic), Reflex Silver (metallic), Ravenna Blue (metallic), Indium Grey (metallic), Starlight Blue Metallic, Deep Black (Pearl Effect), Ravenna Blue (matte), Indium Grey (matte), Tornado Red (solid), and Peacock Green (metallic).
The Amarok is available in a range of colours, this is the Deep Black (Pearl Effect).
Yes, it is a 4x4 – but not in the traditional sense – and yes, you can definitely use it off-road.
Get comfy because I’m about to explain.
You can definitely use the Amarok off-road.
The auto Amarok does not have a dual-range transfer case – low- and high-range 4WD – but it does have an eight-speed automatic transmission (with a short first gear, crucial when the Amarok is tackling tough terrain), an effective off-road mode (which tweaks traction control, hill descent control etc to suit the terrain), permanent 4x4 (with rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and four-wheel drive low range) via a Torsen centre differential (providing a 40:60 torque split front:rear), and a rear differential lock.
To further boost your Amarok’s suitability to off road, you can add all terrain tyres, a lift kit, dual battery system, and more.
Note: though a 4x4 Amarok is ready for the bush or beach, a 4x2 Amarok is not suited for anything more hard-core than very light off-roading, such as well-maintained gravel or dirt tracks in dry weather.
Depends what you want to do with it and unless you’re dead-set keen on it, there’s no real need to go top of the range here … but, to hedge your bets, consider the Amarok Core V6 as the pick of the bunch in terms of being a work truck and the Amarok Highline V6 is a top choice as more of an outdoors-lifestyle selection.
The interior looks basic and is starting to look and feel a bit old, but it’s all well laid-out, functional and easy to spend plenty of time in.
The cloth seats are comfy (leather in high-spec variants), Amaroks have a leather-covered steering wheel, and there are durable plastic surfaces through the cabin, ready to cop the scuffs and grit of day-to-day life.
The dual-cab TDI420 4x2 is 5181mm long (the rest are 5254mm long); and all Amaroks are 2228mm wide (including mirrors) and 1834mm high (1878mm, any variants with sports bar). All have a 3095mm-long wheelbase.
All Amaroks are 2228mm wide (including mirrors) and 1834mm high.
Gross vehicle weight (or gross vehicle mass, GVM) is 3040kg on four-cylinder Amaroks, and 3080kg on six-cylinder Amaroks.
Amaroks have a five-year warranty. Capped price servicing is applied for five years with servicing scheduled for every 15,000km / 12 months with an average service cost of $559 for four-cylinder Amaroks (total $2795 over five years), and $598.80 for V6 Amaroks for a total of between $2943 and $3045.
Short answer? Pretty bloody good. It’s quiet, refined and comfortable. The V6-and-auto combination are especially unstressed whether that be during stop-start city driving, open-road cruising or even low-speed 4WDing.
Visibility to the front and rear are good.
The Amarok is quiet, refined and comfortable.
Every Amarok has a listed 12.95m turning circle so it’s quite a big unit to manoeuvre through tight streets or bush tracks, if you’re not used to driving a ute, that is.
Suspension is generally smooth and compliant, but there are air suspension set-ups available in the aftermarket if you want to go that route.
The Amarok’s performance around town and beyond the city limits is all-round rather impressive.
The size of the Amarok’s fuel tank is 80 litres – and I’ve driven across the Simpson Desert in an Amarok on one full tank – but if you’re after even more long-distance off-road touring capability then an aftermarket long range fuel tank may feature on your potential purchase radar.
The 2.0-litre line-up – TDI420 4x2 has a claimed fuel consumption of 8.4L/100km (combined), TDI400 4x4 (8.0L/100km), and TDI420 4x4 (8.5L/100km) – is more frugal in terms of fuel economy figures than the V6 range, but not by a huge margin.
The 3.0-litre V6 TDI500 has a claimed fuel consumption of 9.7L/100km (combined), 3.0 litre V6 TDI550 (9.1L/100km); and 3.0 litre V6 TDI580 (8.9L/100km)
As mentioned, every Amarok has an 80-litre fuel tank.
The Amarok has five seats and those are Austin cloth seat upholstery in Titanium Black and Moon Rock Grey (in the dual-cab 4x2 auto, Core and Core V6); Salipra cloth seat upholstery in Palladium (in the Sportline, Highline, Highline 580 Black); Vienna leather seat upholstery in Palladium (in the Highline and Highline 580 Black); and Nappa leather seat upholstery in Black with seams in the Ultimate.
The Amarok has five seats and those are Austin cloth seat upholstery.
The Amarok has a five-star ANCAP safety rating but that’s from testing in 2011. It has no curtain airbags for rear-seat passengers.
Driver-assist tech includes a rear view camera, multi-collision braking system, trailer sway control, hill descent control, mechanical rear diff lock, but the Amarok does not have AEB, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, or tyre pressure monitoring system.
The Amarok has three child seat top tether anchorage points and two ISOFIX child seat anchorage points.
It has three child seat top tether anchorage points and two ISOFIX child seat anchorage points, one each on the outer rear seats.
The Amarok set the gold standard for dual-cab utes at a time when dual-cab utes were nowhere near as popular – or as heavily scrutinised – as they are now.
It’s still one of the nicest utes to drive, it’s refined and comfortable, build quality is impressive, and there are plenty of things to like about it, not forgetting the fact you can fully kit out this VW ute for adventure with a wide range of Volkswagen or aftermarket accessories.
But the Amarok, especially inside, is starting to feel a bit old, a bit dated. It’s like the rest of the ute pack, even cheaper rivals, have moved on, and changed with the times and they are leaving the Amarok behind.