When it comes to ute’s people seem to have bottomless pockets. Splurging out 70k+ may seem excessive and I still think it is. But it appears Aussies just can’t help themselves. This is probably a case of ego over brains, owning the coolest ute on the block is now a perceived status symbol. But until recently a major drawcard was missing, Kilowatts. But the new Volkswagen Amarok V6 Ultimate puts that debate to bed.
What is it?
The Amarok is an interesting alternative in general. While Mercedes-Benz have the X-Class, it’s still a vehicle based on the Nissan Navara. Volkswagen has taken its own path and let me tell you, it’s working.
The Ultimate 580 sits at the pinnacle of the Volkswagen Amarok range. Like all utes these days up front is a turbo fiesel engine, however this one pumps out 190kW or 200kW on over boost. It also has a super handy torque figure of 550Nm. This puts it alongside the Mercedes-Benz X-Class as the most powerful utes in the segment.
Behind the Wheel
There has long been an effort by all brands to produce a ute that behaves like a car on the road. I can assure you none have been successful, but there are some standouts. The Ford Ranger and the X-Class are great drives, both featuring high levels of refinement. But outside of the beefed-up Ford Raptor that turns mountains into molehills the other best on-road performer is the Volkswagen Amarok.
The driveline is most impressive, the eight-speed ZF transmission is slick and the turbo V6 delivers a punch in the back from a standing start. The Amarok still feels like a vehicle sitting on a ladder frame chassis, but generally I think it’s level-pegging when it comes to best in class.
Drive is sent to all four wheels on demand, but it should be noted the Amarok is more skewed towards sticking to the tarmac. However, you can lock the rear diff if required.
It’s also the most luxurious ute with Nappa leather upholstery and other high-end features that include, Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, 20-inch rims stainless steel pedals and 14-way electric, 2-way manual front seats.
As mentioned, the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel pumps out 190kW at 3250-4500rpm and 580Nm of torque at 1400 – 3000rpm, hence the punch in the back when you put your foot down. The eight-speed automatic sends power to all four-wheels. I normally wouldn’t bother with the 0-100km/k time, but the Amarok can do it in 7.3 seconds, that’s getting close to some hot hatches.
The infotainment screen is smallish at 6.33-inch but remains crystal clear. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported on top of Volkswagen’s own system which is actually quite good.
Safety is where buyers may start picking apart a few holes in the Amarok’s arsenal. There are some systems that will intervene such as an Automatic Post-Collision Breaking System, this jams on the brakes after an impact to prevent even more carnage. But Autonomous Emergency Braking is still missing, that’s just not good enough at this price point. There’s also no radar cruise control or blind spot monitors.
The other glaring omission is the lack of a rear side curtain airbag. I’m not entirely sure most buyers care about these things, but we’re talking about your family’s safety here.
Bowen is a prick and didn’t let me drive it.
Is it possible to be the best dual-cab on the market with the flaws I mentioned? I’m torn.
Prices kick off from $71,990 with the Amarok covered by a five-year unlimited warranty. The claimed fuel economy is 9.0L/100km, which I bettered for once at around 8.1L/100km.
Why Would You Buy One?
Because it has a Euro badge and the longest tray on the market.
I could never justify spending this type of money on a ute. But you are getting a very refined machine that your better half will be comfortable with. But it all depends if you can look past some of the matters I raised. It’s an 8.5 from me.