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Volkswagen’s Amarok – the 4x4 workhorse that’s a smooth operator
The Highline is the top of the Amarok range. It’s luxurious inside, and packed with kit

VW Amarok Highline BiTDI 180 4MOTION Permanent 8-speed auto

What is it?

THE Amarok is Volkswagen through and through – from the family resemblance evident at the front end, to the feeling of reassuring well-engineered build quality that’s typical of this German manufacturer.

All in all, the Amarok is a delight to drive. It feels car-like and rides and handles well

It’s a four-door, five-seater double-cab pick-up available in three variants – the Startline 4MOTION and Trendline 4MOTION, both with selectable four-wheel-drive, and the top-of-the-range Highline 4MOTION, with permanent four-wheel-drive.

Our test vehicle was the top-of-the-shop Highline 2.0-litre BiTDI 180hp 4MOTION Permanent with eight-speed automatic gearbox. Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel in two outputs – a 140hp unit developing 340Nm of torque, and a 180hp, bi-turbo with 400Nm of torque (420Nm with the auto-box version).

If a double-cab pick-up makes sense for your business, then the Amarok has a lot going for it. Let’s start with the aesthetics: subjective, I’ll admit, but there can’t be many who’d not find the Amarok handsome and imposing with a look that says ‘I mean business’.

Volkswagen’s Amarok – the 4x4 workhorse that’s a smooth operator
The VW Amarok is markedly bigger than its rivals, with a loadbed that’ll take a Euro pallet between the wheelarches

The 18in Durban alloy wheels, chrome rear step-bumper, privacy glass, stainless steel side bars and wheelarch extensions guarantee it’ll ooze image for your operation.

And you’ll find it easy to live with. The Highline has a luxurious, well-appointed cab with leather seating and leather trim, 2Zone air conditioning, electric windows all round, RCD 310 radio/CD player with six speakers and heated front seats. There’s no sat-nav as standard but it’s available as an option at £565 (ex-VAT).

Other refinements include cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, electrically heated and operated door mirrors, front centre armrest and three 12v sockets. Comfort is not a problem, for sure.

Volkswagen’s Amarok – the 4x4 workhorse that’s a smooth operator
For dealing with more difficult terrain, the Amarok has off-road ABS, Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), and Hill Descent Control

The engine is also delightfully refined and with a strapping torque figure of 420Nm pulls eagerly and effortlessly from low revs up to motorway speeds. It’ll propel the Amarok from 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds, and on to a top speed of 112mph. And the eight-speed auto box is impressively smooth.

All in all, the Amarok is a delight to drive. It feels car-like and rides and handles well – even with heavy-duty suspension that allows a payload of 1077kg to be carried. That beats the 1000kg HRMC threshold so it qualifies for the flat rate of company car tax and VAT can also be reclaimed on the purchase price.

If you want a ‘softer’ ride, then the  manual version 4MOTION Permanent BlueMotion model has ‘standard’ suspension – but the trade-off is a lower maximum load limit of 1600kg for the rear axle, GVW of 2820kg and reduced payload of 750kg. And you won’t get the same tax advantages.

Handling benefits from the ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) incorporating ABS, Brake Assist System (BAS), and Traction Control System (TCS).

There’s also Hill Hold Assist and, when it comes to dealing with more difficult terrain, the Amarok has off-road ABS, Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), and Hill Descent Control. There’s even Trailer Stability Control.


What’s it like as a worker?

But how well will the Amarok work for its keep?

It’s markedly bigger than it rivals, with a loadbed that’s 1620mm wide and 1555mm long. And there’s 1222mm between the wheelarches – enough to slip in a Euro pallet.

The auto-box model also offers decent payload at 1077kg.

Running costs are helped by the 2.0-litre engine, and the BlueMotion system with Cruise Control, Stop/Start, low-rolling-resistance tyres and regenerative braking. Stated combined cycle figure is 35.8mpg and emissions are 209g/km.

There’s a three-year/100,000-mile warranty and three years of Volkswagen Assistance. Service intervals are determined by driving style and usage, and can vary from a minimum of 9000 miles or one year, to a maximum of 25,000 miles or two years.


What’s hot?

  • Volkswagen build quality.
  • Well-appointed, high-specification cab.
  • Large loadbed.
  • Good fuel economy.


What’s not?

  • It’s pricey. The Highline permanent 4MOTION model recommended retail price is £25,425 (ex-VAT).
  • This is personal, but the parking sensors provide a bit of an information overload. I felt I could park the pick-up better without all the distraction coming simultaneously from front and rear sensors. But it’s a big beast and no doubt many will find the parking aids invaluable.


Business Vans verdict

This is a double-cab 4×4 that oozes style and quality. It will project a powerful image for the right sort of business.

The load area hasn’t been compromised by the level of luxury inside the cab.

If you need a pick-up that has the comfort of a car and still boasts an impressive loadspace and decent payload, than the Amarok Highline could be for you.


What you need to know

On the road price (ex-VAT) £25,425
Load length (max) 1555mm
Load width (max) 1620mm
Load height N/A
Load capacity 2.5 cubic m
Payload 1077kg
GVW 3170kg
Towing capacity braked/unbraked 3200kg/750kg
Engine 2.0-litre, 4-cyl diesel
Power/Torque 180hp/420Nm
Economy (combined) 35.3mpg
CO2 emissions 211g/km

Note: This VW Amarok pick up review originally contained data relating to the lower payload of the manual version 2.0BiTDI 180PS 4MOTION Permanent BlueMotion model when it was first posted. These details have now been updated and rectified on 18.06.13 to reflect the automatic version with its higher payload.

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  1. I have recently been assured by the VW dealer that the vehicle which I have ordered, Amarok Highline Permanent 4WD Automatic, has a payload in excess off the 1000kg and therefore qualifies as a van for benefit purposes. I think you are referring to the Permanent 4WD Manual which reduces the payload to 750g. It might be worth clarifyng that point in your article.

  2. Nigel – thank you. And yes you are correct. The manual version has the lower payload; the automatic has a 1077kg payload. We have changed the details to reflect this.
    Ralph Morton, editor


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