Volkswagen Amarok V6 Tdi 2018

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Will the bigger engine capacity of the new Volkswagen Amarok V6 Tdi finally earn it the bigger respect it has deserved? Does it please the people?

I think so.

The Look

The 2018 Volkswagen Amarok V6TDi gets some very plainly-styled accent LED Daytime running lights. I say plainly-styled, but I mean, simple, and I mean gorgeous. They are simple enough to suit the overall design language of the new Volkswagen range, without looking like they want to remind you of the insides of a modern 18 year old’s computer case.

Simply put, they stand out from the crowd. If that crowd is a crowd of different brands, because they kind of make it look like a Jetta from really far away. Again, let us remind ourselves of the term “Design Language”…Deep breaths... We do notice a few small changes on the front bumper, below the lights, which is a welcome feature with any facia update. It helps with telling the older from the newer out on the daily commute. Giving it an unmistakable 2018 look.

Moving down the sides and on to the rear I have to complement the wheel design team at the Headquarters of the German automaker. The Alloy wheel options, even though they might not be the most adventurous choice for camping and gravel-roading or even hardcore 4x4 enthusiasts, do look incredible. They are a very bright, popping, alloy colour, and they look aces below all that new metallic blue paint. On a side note, I can’t imagine having to find a 19inch highway terrain for a four-wheel-drive lying around in a tire shop in remote or even smaller towns here in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Moving swiftly along, the few new alloy additions are basically the only style update you will find on the outside of the 2018 Amarok. Around the back, things are same old as well. Besides for the slightly updated rear lights for 2018.

In my opinion, the biggest style upgrade for VW's new ute would have to be the absolutely gorgeous new dashboard it has received. There is really almost too much too mention here if you are a details person. I am personally very happy to see those horrendous, round air-conditioner vents done away with. We get a very sleek, much more uniform-looking dashboard. One that suits the outside and the rest of the interior much better than the one on the previous model. It makes a big difference too, as this is where you spend your time driving, you know, on the inside of the car. 

Speaking of interior updates. The seats! Boy, are they good now! These are not racing buckets, but they are a marked improvement over the leather-covered ottomans of the last model. Dare I even mention that it almost maybe just only barely feels as though you are sitting in the seat this time and not on top of them. Two-tone leather colours that contain the light grey are also very welcome as things can be a bit dreary with every single panel being near black on the inside of this dual cab.

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A huge upgrade on the infotainment system is also worth a mention. A bigger, colour, high definition, capacitive touchscreen is something that has been long overdue in this price range and with current competition, even if it wasn’t touch screen, it is still a worthy upgrade over that pathetic little black and white pixelated mess that is the now older radio interface. It was also something that used to give me a froen on the older model, as you buy a more premium class vehcle but get the same copy and paste radio as a much much cheaper car like a Polo 6. I know it increases profit on a vehicle to reimplement components. However, there is a fine line for me. So the new  radio feels a lot more at home this year.

The Performance

Maximum power: 165kW at 2500-4000rpm (180kW on over boost) / Maximum Torque: 550Nm at 1500-2500rpm

Firstly, these are not too impressive, until you reread at what engine RPMs these figures are live. Honestly, 165 Kilowatts at around 2500RPM. Are you grasping this? That is phenomenal. Maximum torque is almost as impressive a figure from the 3-litre oil burner. However, the fact that it has a very narrow torque band is not too ideal. Worth mentioning, is the fact that you do have 8 gears in this ute, so it is not exactly an apples to apples comparison if one was to gripe about that narrow torque band. That is what the gearbox is for, so you get to stay in the torque band just as easily as if it had a wider torque band. Truly, leverage is wonderful physics.

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For those of us who constantly scan the horizons for rougher roads, the following might peak your interest. We get the true, tough stuff construction methods. Ladder-frame chassis, leaf sprung rear suspension, an estimated fuel tank range of +-1000kms on the claimed 7.8l/100km, although, these are not likely to be real-world factors for most owners. Still, a surprising claim. You will be surprized what a light foot can do in any car.

We get an approach angle of 28 degrees, ramp over angle of 23 degrees and a departure angle of 23.6 degrees. Ground clearance has to be mentioned on the lowest fixed point on the undercarriage, which is the very stout engine sump protection that comes as standard from VW, and measures at 192mm. Keep in mind, most of the underside is a little more long-legged than this measurement, but a consideration nonetheless.

Ute-ility-wise. You’d be well-pleased to find out that it can comfortably fit a standard 1.2meter pallet between its wheel arches and has a total payload of around 1060 kilograms. Including, of course, a driver and a passenger. So, that pallet better weigh 900kg or less. Unless you have some really skinny friends. The towing capacity is also upped to be able to tow a trailer that weighs 3500kg, only on this V6 variant. A very welcome feature as it has been the standard for a while in the pickup market.

The Drive

The new V6 VW Amarok can no longer get teased for having an engine capacity the size of a milk or Coca-Cola container. As mentioned, it is mated to the same 8 speed that you still find on the current 2.0litre line-up, albeit with a specific software and also with the capability of learning your own driving style.

The new Amarok has a very SUV-Like driving feel to it. It is incredibly spacious on the interior as we have come to know and love it. With that almost Hummer-like width from the interior, yet with parking distance control is still as easy to keep the paint original as previous iterations.

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The new V6 has the ability to really push you into the seat as it accelerates from 0-100km/h in just shy of 8 seconds, which is quick for a pickup. Notice it said that the Amarok has 180KW in over-boost mode? Yes, the new German pick up picks up the slack when it senses you need the extra grunt to overtake, and in a second can alter its power output figure. Allowing you to have the power when you need it. This can be incredibly useful when the vehicle is heavily loaded or towing.

So, there you have it. The Amarok is a perfect example of how an automaker does not have to have the best in class engine performance or the biggest capacity to get started in a new segment. I do think it was the right move to increase the engine capacity and build on that reliable, tried and tested platform with which the German automaker has joined into the dual cab market.

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Renaldo Meyer

Qualified advance driving instructor with a passion for motors and music.

More in this category: « Audi A6 2019

1 comment

  • Comment Link Coen Welsh Wednesday, 01 August 2018 10:53 posted by Coen Welsh

    This bakkie is awesome and I have to agree "claimed 7.8l/100km, although, these are not likely to be real-world factors for most owners." The V6 in this bakkie is so fun you are never going to drive in a way that gets 7.8/100km! Trust me #IKnowAGuyWhoOwnsOne

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