Paul Maric road tests and reviews the 2014 Volkswagen Amarok Highline.
With a sterling reputation and a long history of reliability, the Toyota HiLux remains the biggest hurdle that the Volkswagen Amarok needs to tackle in Australia.
Despite the legendary Toyota ute looking almost unbeatable in our market, Volkswagen went in guns blazing and launched the Amarok to here in early 2011. Fast-forward three years and the Amarok is now offered in a two-door and four-door variant and comes with the option of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
From outside the Amarok looks aggressive and bestows an aptly rugged demeanor in traffic. Chrome sports bars, classy alloy wheels and a mammoth grille help the Amarok stand out from the pack.
Inside the cabin it’s a similar story. A step up from terra firma lands you in the box seat with the help of a grab handle and low-slung seat. At almost two metres wide, the centre console is nearly big enough to house another seat.
Everything about the cabin sits right and fits the demographic. Simple controls, easy to read dials and durable plastics follow the cabin’s ‘less is more’ mantra. There’s even a sensational stereo with Bluetooth connectivity to help with early morning traffic snarls.
In terms of functionality, the Amarok kicks serious goals in the towing and cargo departments. The 3000kg towing capacity and 960kg payload is further bolstered by the tray’s ability to carry a full sized palette (1200mm x 800mm), unlike some of its competitors.
Behind the wheel, power and torque is available in almost endless supplies thanks to the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine. Producing 132kW of power and a huge 420Nm of torque, fuel economy is pushed down to a frugal 8.3L/100km with the eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Priced from $24,990, the Amarok Highline tested nudges the scales at $53,990. At this price, the market is full of equally impressive competition. But, if your heart lies with ze Germans, the Amarok is impossible to overlook as a serious tradesman’s vehicle.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.0 litre diesel producing 132kW and 420Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual
Safety: Not tested
Warranty: Three years
Price: From $51,990
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Volkswagen 2H Amarok utility.