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VW Amarok V6 review – Paddle Steamer

Although Paddle boats date back to the Romans and the use of Oxen to propel the big wheels, it wasn’t until 1704 that French Physicist Denis Papin first propelled a ship using steam power that was mechanically attached to giant paddles. The modern and common image that we now have of steamboats is of being majestic cruisers that leisurely and romantically meander up and down rivers, but when they were originally introduced, they offered power and speed seldom witnessed at the time (without sails) and of course a refreshing respite to the galley of slaves exhaustingly rowing down below… trust me, this really is a VW Amarok V6 review.

Open your eyes in the front seat of the Amarok V6 and you could be excused for mistaking it for being any one of Volkswagen’s latest passenger/SUV line up – and that’s a good thing. UTE’s and trucks in general are forever moving closer towards the crossover point between luxury and utility and the Amarok does this in spades. The leather seats are fully adjustable and very inviting, and the three seats in the rear of the cabin (I can attest) will comfortably take two adults and a child on a long run. The dash is passenger and driver friendly (just bigger to fill in the extra space) – the 6.33” Infotainment touch screen seems a little out of place due to its size – but it’s still very visible and very user friendly plus it’s quick to connect up your phone and the navigation works well. The Leather clad steering wheel has all the creature comforts befitting a modern passenger vehicle (as I said, this is becoming more and more the norm in UTE’s) but it also has Paddles – yes you heard me, paddles (told you to trust me). You can freely move up and down the UTE’s 8 speed box with fingertip ease and I did, a lot.

When the Amarok was first released, it had a 4 cylinder turbo heart that the UTE purists believed would never cut the mustard. Turns out they were wrong. The 2L produced 420Nm of torque and 132kW of power with an impressive 3 Tonne towing capability, so there! However, seeming to buckle under requests for more power (or maybe just because they can), VW have managed to squeeze a 3L turbo diesel V6 powerhouse under the bonnet and (ok) it really does transform the drive, it’s a beast.

The 165kW power off the mark is a bit juddery and would fail to win a drag race (although it will do a 0-100 in a reported 7.9 seconds) but once on the move the 550Nm of torque (from as low as 1,400 revs) is mighty and chest beating, allowing you to conquer all manner of territories (as it has 4 Motion) and as a bonus; you can drag around whatever your heart desires as it can now tow up to 3.5 Tonnes (and the payload is a shade over a Tonne).

The dimensions remain the same, it is a substantial 5.254M x 2.228M – including the large and all seeing mirrors, it still has the largest tray in its class and the wading depth is still 500mm even on its 20” Talca alloy wheels. To me it remains a great looking truck with all the refinements of a passenger vehicle. Bi-Xenon headlights, 14 way adjustable seats, rear camera, the list goes on but with all the added coolness of a truck – versatility and grunt. The model I tested (Aventura) even had a stainless steel step bar and tray tubing – very urban/rural chic.

I took the Amarok V6 on several long runs (got to love extended weekends) so had plenty of time to get to know it. The suspension is relaxed and yet confidence inspiring and it certainly steams (pun intended) along at a great rate of knots. I found myself pushing hard on the accelerator at regular intervals to awaken the beast under the bonnet and I was surprised that I didn’t burn through more fuel, it’s pretty frugal (7.6L/100k’s). We went on trips to the beach with friends and then loaded the tray with bikes for a family ride, the Amarok took the various outings without breaking a sweat (unlike me on the bike). Around town its size requires concentration, even with the sensors and camera but I’m sure it wouldn’t take too long to get to ofay with. 

Let’s face it, there is going to be a time in your life when you are up the creek and with the Amarok V6 you now have a paddle (two in fact), to help get you out of the mire – plus plenty of power to boot. Summing it all up – it’s pretty Oarsome.

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