Volkswagen Amarok SUV
Price £25,419 - £35,931
- Excellent build quality
- Spacious interior
- Big load area
- Difficult to park
- Uncomfortable suspension
- Car's size can be intimidating
At a glance
"The Volkswagen Amarok blurs the lines between builder's wagon and family car, with off-road ability, a big load bed and a spacious five-seater interior."
The Volkswagen Amarok is a pick-up truck, family car and SUV in one. It follows in the wheeltracks of the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara, but looks classier and feels better built than any of them. It has an enormous load bed, a roomy five-seat cabin and the option of two-, permanant four- or selectable four-wheel drive and the choice of automatic or manual gearboxes. However, don’t run away with the idea that it's a rival for a traditional SUV such as a Hyundai Santa Fe. It's still a commercial vehicle at heart, so feels relatively unrefined.
The Amarok is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, which produces a considerable 221bhp - although we're told lower power models will be available in time. Despite the Amarok's brick-like stance, Volkswagen says it'll be capable of around 37mpg when fitted with the eight-speed automatic gearbox, while CO2 emissions are rated at 199g/km.
That's especially impressive when you consider it's also able to accelerate from 0-62mph in a very respectable 7.9 seconds and acheive a 120mph top speed. All in a truck weighing more than two tonnes.
However, more important to business users are the Amarok's workhorse abilities. On this score, all versions impress with their towing capacity of 3,000kg (the top spec version with an automatic gearbox can tow 3,500kg) and payload capacity of just over a ton.
The Amarok is a high-riding vehicle, so visibility is good. Its steering is surprisingly light, too. However, its heavy-duty suspension works best when the vehicle is loaded up; without any weight in it, the Amarok bounces a bit and leans heavily in corners. It's still better than most of it's rivals in this regard though. Fortunately, it always feels secure and its brakes are very powerful.
The interior is tough and attractive, but engine and road noise are quite prominent. The interior is roomy, however rear-seat space isn’t quite as generous as what you’ll find in a large SUV. The load bay measures 2.5 square metres and wide enough to accommodate a forklift pallet.
There are three trim levels, spanning basic Startline, Trendline and top-spec Highline. All standard versions have air-conditioning, alloy wheels, electric windows all-round and hill-descent control, which is useful if you’re driving off-road.
Our pick is the mid-range Trendline. It has larger alloys, climate control, a front centre armrest and attractive detailing and colour-coding that make the vehicle look a little less ‘commercial’.
The Amarok is a well built and reliable car that's been designed to take the worst that demanding business users can throw at it. It's not as safe as the best SUVs, however, with Euro NCAP awarding it only four out of five stars. However, it does at least have decent safety equipment, including a full complement of airbags, electronic stability control, hill-hold and trailer stabilisation.
In modern terms, the Volkswagen Amarok diesel engines isn't hugely economical
Heavy weight compromises the speed and handling of the Volkswagen Amarok
The VW Amarok features highly adjustable seats, but the engines are noisy and the suspension is bouncy
The VW Amarok boasts an interior that’s spacious enough for five people
Standard VW quality makes the Volkswagen Amarok more car-like than some of its rivals