The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.
The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.

2017 VW Amarok V6 road test: Unadulterated dual-cab grunt

Value

Getting this range-topping ute on the road will see little, if any, change from $70,000.

That takes it into lofty territory, but considering many are happy to part with more than 100k for a LandCruiser then the Amarok is a bargain.

What buyers are chasing here is the hairy-chested V6 engine - a derivative of what we've seen in Audis and the Porsche Cayenne (engineers have taken a little shine off it) - which makes it Cherry Ripe for towing.

By ute standards it's downright fancy, getting niceties like nappa leather, stainless steel side steps, 19-inch alloy wheels, multi-function steering wheel, six-speaker touchscreen with satellite navigation, full Bluetooth connectivity, auto parking and stainless steel pedals.

The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.
The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.

Comfort

Those up front get height adjustment, the drive has electric functionality, but legroom is limited in the rear.

The accommodation is still reasonable enough for adults, although better suited to kids.

Accessing the child seat restraint points can be challenging with straps either side of the rear seat-back having to be pulled simultaneously for access.

Bottle holders in each door are useful, as are the dual cup holders in the centre console, but the floor-based ones in the rear lack functionality.

The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.
The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate. Chris Benny Imaging

Driving

Just brilliant. Exercise your ankle and the big ute hauls like a sports car.

Planting your foot is rewarded with immediate response, with no hint of turbo lag the light steering makes the ute feel lithe.

Knifing through city traffic with ease, all that gusto makes for an easy car to drive, even with a load on the back. Most importantly the wife loved it and returned from a journey with glowing endorsement.

There is even steering wheel-mounted paddles if you want to take manual-style control, although the eight-speed box does a mighty job of selecting the right cog in varying conditions.

Feeling adept on the double front wishbones and a leaf-sprung rear suspension there is some bounce, which is what you'd expect from a ute which can handle 864kg in the back.

The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.
The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.

Safety

This is the chink in the Amarok armour. It has a five-star safety rating which was awarded back in 2011, one year before curtain airbags extending into the rear were mandated.

Expect this to change for the 2018 model which will hopefully arrive this year.

It still comes with some nice stuff like rear view camera and the full suite of active safety gizmos like anti-lock brakes, trailer sway control, stability and traction control, but goes without radar cruise control.

Alternatives

Key rival is the Ford Ranger Wildtrack Double ($59,590), Mazda BT-50 GT ($51,790) and the petrol-powered Toyota HiLux SR5 ($56,390).

The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.
The 2016 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate. Chris Benny Imaging

Verdict

Bursting with power, it makes the Amarok one of the best drives on the dual cab market.

Families will be concerned with the lack of airbags in the rear, although at the forefront of the buying decision will be the outstanding grunt offered by the V6.

There's no doubting it's a fun drive.

Vital statistics

Volkswagen Amarok V6 Ultimate

Price: $67,990.

Safety: Five-star, four airbags

Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged diesel 165kW/550Nm.

Transmission: Eight-speed sport automatic.

Thirst: 7.1 litres/100km.



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