Tested: Volkswagen Amarok Highline TDI ute

By: Matt Wood

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From car based commercials to 4.5 ton GVM vans, Volkswagen is serious about having a model for all occasions. Enter the Amarok Highline TDI ute. Matt Wood reports.

Tested: Volkswagen Amarok Highline TDI ute
Volkswagen Amarok Highline TDI ute: the un-ute like workhorse perfect for work and play

At first, the Volkswagen image doesn’t really gel with the brand of country workhorse usually promoted in Australia.

Rather, the VW badge often adorns the likes of sporty Golf hatches, economical Polo commuters and even sedans or SUVs.

But it’s no secret that the company that gave us the original Kombi commercial vehicle is hell bent on automotive world domination.

Given this I was more than a little curious to get behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Amarok ute, especially now the German pick up is available with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The mid- sized ute segment is full of dual cab competitors, most with engine displacements around the 3 litre mark.

The auto Amarok however uses a 2 litre bi-turbo TDI420 diesel engine that creates a respectable 132 kilowatts and develops 420Nm of torque at a low 1500rpm, which are pretty good numbers from a ute with such a small displacement engine.

But these numbers still lag behind many of the Amarok’s competitors.

This ute uses Volkswagen’s 4-Motion system which is a permanent all-wheel-drive that uses a Torsen differential that detects torque imbalance in the driving wheels and re directs power accordingly.

A selectable 4-wheel drive system with a low range is also an option.

Payload for the Amarok is 1.1 ton; however comfort pack springs can be optioned for buyers that aren’t carrying heavy loads. The comfort pack reduces payload to 900kg.

The cargo load area of 2.52 square metres on the Amarok impresses, even though it comes at a cost to the rear seat occupants in terms of leg room which isn’t as generous as some on the market.

Towing capacity is at 3 ton, which does put it behind some in this part of the market.

The Amarok I drove, was optioned with the comfort spring pack, and whether out in the bush, on the road or around town the VW proved to be very civilised, especially for a ute.

The TDI420 powerplant is smooth, but surprisingly punchy and quite revvy in character. The 8-speed auto was a slick shifter with the tranny doing its utmost to keep engine rpm in the most efficient part of the torque curve.

Put the boot into it and this Argentinian built ute will drop a cog or two and get up and boogie.

The comfort spring pack on the test Amarok made for an almost sedan like ride, there was none of the clang and bang you often find on other utes when empty.

In fact the whole handling package was very un-ute like, this is a ute that can be driven with ease on a daily basis for work and play.

Watch out for the video review coming up next week on NewFarmMachinery.com.au and the full test report in NewFarmMachinery magazine issue 6, on-sale February 24. Subscribe to the magazine to receive the issues at your doorstep.

Click here to look up the Volkswagen Amarok Highline TDI ute specifications.

Click here to find utes and vans for sale.

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