Nothing about the Volkswagen Amarok can be considered ordinary. It is a ute that drives like a car and with an automatic eight-speed gearbox it outdoes others in its class. Shifts are slick and smooth, which keeps the vehicle’s speed steady. It is also a permanent all-wheel diesel drive without the usual diesel soundtrack. Despite a comparatively low ride height, the Volkswagen Amarok gives a surprising off-road performance.
Altering the Amarok’s calibration into an off-road mode happens at the touch of a button. Stability control, brakes and the electronic diffs can be activated at speeds up to 130km/h to take on the rougher terrain with some lockable rear differential assistance. Negotiating those steeper hills can be confidently left to a very able hill descent control and a short first gear. Volkwagen’s always impressive steering system makes those winding roads a breeze, which makes carrying loads over trickier landscapes a less daunting proposition.
If cargo is exchanged for passengers, the Volkswagen Amarok allows great head and legroom with good seating support over bumps. It was also the first dual-cab ute to earn a five-star NCAP crash rating. Rear parking sensors are standard and an infotainment screen combines with instrument dials and ventilation controls to form a stylish cabin display.
With a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces an amazing 420Nm of torque, the Volkswagen Amarok is full of constant surprises that suit the changing Australian landscapes. For a ute that behaves like a car, it’s a great buy.