New Amarok ready and able to play dirty
Last Word First
An hour-long excursion through the gnarly off-road track, especially cut by what can
only be described as the commandoes from Orangeworks Automotive, at Carton
House, was my first introduction to the all-new VW Amarok pick-up. I sat into the
original back in 2010 and in its 2.0 litre format was impressive, with all we had come
to expect from VW in terms of build, finish and general competency.
Roll on to 2016 and the arrival of their delicious 3.0 litre V6 and the Amarok now
had the muscle to hustle, making it great company on road or green lane.
Back to the giggle-weeds of Carton House and every wheel is being asked a different
question, each suspension unit under an ever-changing load, the ladder chassis being
asked to absorb all manner of exertions, all conducted without a creak or a
complaint. Driven through a 10-speed automatic, my 3.0 litre V6 never broke sweat,
the steering positive, albeit car was required on the narrow turns, as there is a fair bit
of pick-up following the front due to its long wheelbase, which can easily ‘kiss’ a tree
or rutted edge if forgotten.
Out onto the R-roads around Maynooth, Dunboyne and Ratoath, with a return back
to base via the motorway, and the Amarok dripped civility and good breeding. The
driving position is excellent, the view forwards providing information and confidence
in equal measure - a more extended road drive would be required to get fuel figures.
The pick-up rivals to the Amarok come from Ford with their Ranger, Isuzu D-Max,
Toyota’s Hilux and the SsangYong Musso, the Ranger related via the Ford/VW
The 2023 Amarok enters this small pick-up segment with all the armoury required
for those with a utilitarian demand, as well as those domestic and social. Suffice it to
say that it can be brought into any company and it will not feel out of place.
In a nut shell
New customers get four-wheel drive, (4Motion), as standard, plus the choice of four-
and six-cylinder turbocharged engines and is available in Ireland as a double cab,
four-door pick-up. The new Amarok will be available here from July in five trim
levels, – Amarok, Life, Style, PanAmericana and Aventura, with prices starting from
€47,355 for the entry-level Amarok 2.0TDI 168HP.
Sizing it up
5,350 mm long, the new Amarok is 96 mm longer than its predecessor. Its wheelbase
is 3,270 mm, an increase of 173 mm, providing more room in the double cab and it
stands 2079mm tall, coming with reduced overhangs, which dually help the
Amarok’s visual appeal and add to its off-road capability. Ramp angles have been
increased to 30-degrees at the front and 26-degrees at the back to improve clearance
on rough terrain, with wading depth boosted from 500 mm to 800 mm.
The Amarok’s cargo bed is 1,651mm long by 1,584 mm wide, giving it enough room
for a Euro pallet loaded sideways or lengthways. Loads can be secured via robust
lashing rings on the bed and side walls. The maximum height of the tail lift has also
increased, dependent on specification, by as much as 21 mm to 529 mm. Static roof
load capacity has increased to 350 kilograms – enough for a roof tent for overnight
off-road adventures. Meanwhile, the list of options includes alloy wheels up to 21in,
wireless smartphone charging, all-terrain tyres, bike holders, roll covers and a hard
top for the cargo bed.
Three four- and six-cylinder turbo diesel engines are on the power menu:
Starting with a 2.0 litre TDi, delivering 168HP, available in entry-level Amarok and
Life trims. Those opting for the Style model get a power increase of the 2.0 TDI
engine to 202HP and adds a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is optional in
I remember the 2016 introduction of the 3.0 litre V6 TDi and safe to say it became a
firm favourite with all who sampled its talents. In this new model the V6 is available
in Style, PanAmerica and Aventura models. Power has increased to 237HP, with
600Nm of torque, all driven via a new 10-speed automatic transmission.
In Ireland, all Amaroks with automatic transmissions are allowed to tow trailers up
to 3.5 tonnes. The permissible total weight of vehicle and trailer has increased from 6
to 6.5 tonnes. Meanwhile, the maximum payload has also increased, to 1.19 tonnes.
There is plenty to catch the eye and hold it on first sighting of this new Amarok. The
redesigned bonnet and integrated LED headlights draw the stares easily. Those
opting for the PanAmerica and Aventura models get the IQ.LIGHT Matrix-LED
headlights and an “Amarok” embossed stamp above the number plate holder. The
half-round wheel arches give this VW pick-up a distinctive look, while the word
Amarok is emblazoned across the tailgate.
Sitting into the supportive seats of the Amarok, the driver faces new practical
controls and digital screens, the interior has been constructed using quality
materials, well configured with function and quality in mind. Meanwhile, the
instrument panel’s layout is clear, well structured, and ergonomically tailored to the
Building on Success
With sales of more than 830,000, the first-generation Amarok can be hailed a global
success, since its introduction in 2010. Now, this second-generation model hopes to
build on this success thanks to the addition of more than 25 assistance systems,
infotainment displays measuring up to 12.3in, and high-quality materials
throughout. These assistance features include, automatic cruise control system, a
parking assistant, 360-degree all-round view (‘Area View’), lane change assistant and
road sign recognition.
Standard equipment in the entry level Amarok, (€47,355 ), includes:
Power folding mirrors
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration
VW Connect with eCall Emergency System and Online Voice Control
10.1in infotainment system
8in multifunction display
Semi-automatic air conditioning
Traffic Sign Recognition
Adaptive Cruise Control
Rear-View Camera and parking sensors.
Upgrading to Life trim (from €50,345) adds:
17in alloy wheels
Body coloured bumpers
8-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat
Rear privacy glass
Leather wrapped steering wheel
Electronic parking brake f
Rain/light sensing headlights and wipers.
Style models (from €64,735) add:
Chrome rear bumper
Heated ArtVelour seats
12in portrait-style touchscreen and 12.3-in instrument screen
10-way electrically-adjustable seats
Two-zone Climatronic A/C
Those who really like their toys can go to the PanAmerica models (from €68,620):
Rugged X-shaped bumpers
LED rear lights
Black styling bars and step bars
Leather seat trims
Dedicated navigation system
640-watt Harmon Kardon sound system
Electrically-adjustable passenger seats
The top of the range Aventura models (from €70,890) adds the further features if:
Body coloured sports bars
Chrome step bars.
All Amarok models fitted with 12in infotainment systems are also equipped with VW
Connect Navigation. This package includes Online Traffic Information, Online Route
Calculation, Online Map Updates, POI Search, information on parking spaces and
filling stations, and real-time weather updates. The WeConnect ID. App allows
owners to interact using their smartphones while an integrated eSIM means
infotainment updates can be carried out over the air.
Speaking at the launch of the new Amarok, Kim Kilduff, Head of Sales and Marketing
at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Ireland, said: “The first-generation Amarok
brought pick-ups to the mainstream and this second-generation model is an upgrade
in every way. It’s a charismatic vehicle with plenty of presence, on and off the road.
The premium finish and refined driving experience have elevated it to another level
while even the most challenging off-road experience cannot phase it. We knew we
were getting a substantial upgrade but the last few days have proved the Amarok is
setting a new benchmark for the pick-up sector here in Ireland.”