Make: Volkswagen

Model: Amarok

Variant: Core

Engine / Transmission: 3.0 litre twin turbo diesel – 6 Speed manual  

Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 9.7L/100km combined 

Price: From $49500 drive away

First Impressions:

This is the V6 engined, manual transmission version of Volkswagen’s rather excellent Amarok; a uniquely Australian specification. I love that this car exists.

The cracking, big horsepower V6 mated to a proper manual transmission and low range transfer case is my idea of dual cab heaven. It’s not for everyone, mind. For example, if most of your driving is in the city, you would have rocks in your head for choosing this spec over the $3090 DSG automatic. 

Tech Inside: 

Er…next question. Hell, this thing doesn’t even have carpet. Seriously though, it has Apple CarPlay, a quality reverse camera and parking sensors. Everything you need and nothing you don’t. Just the way I like it.  

Most Impressive:

With the exception of one party trick, the Amarok does nothing that any of its competitors can’t do. It drives a bit better than most. It carries a little less than some. It doesn’t look as macho as others. You get the idea.

Its party piece is the combination of muscular performance and an old school manual that none of its competitors can match. It’s a completely intoxicating mix that is as fun as it is workmanlike.

Despite the automatic Amarok, with its lack of low range, being capable off-road most of the time, there really is no alternative to a proper low range box when it comes to off-road control. Similarly, the sensible vinyl flooring and ‘bush ready’ 17” rims make it a ripper touring rig. 

Not So Impressive :

Even though I love Amaroks and am completely happy with my own 4 cylinder TDi manual Amarok, there is still one omission from the Amarok features list that will never see me buy a new one – the lack of rear seat curtain airbags is unforgivable. With the Amarok being an older design, the demand for this feature was obviously never anticipated in the original brief. Unfortunately for Volkswagen, all of its direct competitors now feature this life saving addition. Still, if you don’t use the rear seat for humans, you won’t miss it. For the rest of us, it ruins an otherwise awesomely capable ute. 

Ultimately, if the combination of big V6 power and traditional manual transmission works for you AND you are happy with the compromised safety equipment, you won’t be disappointed in the Amarok. For me, I’m waiting for the safety updates before I replace my ‘Rok. When I do, I’ll tick the box for the growly V6 and three pedals, for sure.