Volkswagen Amarok (2016-present)

A pick-up truck with a more premium feel, the VW Amarok will be familiar to any Volkswagen car driver

Strengths & Weaknesses


Passenger car quality
Good off-road ability


Less economical than rivals
No single cab option
More expensive than other pick-ups
Best New Discount

Volkswagen Amarok A33 Diesel d/cab pick up highline 3.0 v6 tdi 258 bmt 4m auto

Total RRP £40,092

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Where the Amarok once stood out in the pile of pick-up trucks for its premium build quality, car-like driving experience and surplus of interior gadgetry, it now has to fight off numerous contenders that plan to gobble a slice of the pick-up pie.

See, Volkswagen was quick to realise in 2011 (when the Amarok first graced our roads) that a new breed of buyer was turning to the truck to transport motocross bikes, lug jet-skis and tow sailing equipment, rather than simply haul hay around a farmyard.

As a result, its passenger car quality, relaxed ride and stylish interiors enabled it to stand out against more rugged rivals such as the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200 and Isuzu D-Max.

However, said rivals have got wise to this recent customer movement, while fresh offerings from newcomers to the segment (the Mercedes X-Class, for example) mean that Volkswagen is no longer the flash kid with all the toys in the playground.

Volkswagen has been quick to reclaim its position and as a result, updated its flagship pick-up model with some fresh exterior styling, minor interior tweaks and a meaty new engine.

In fact, it is now only offered from new with the attention-grabbing 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel engine that comes in three states of tune as standard - 163hp, 204hp and 224hp, the latter only offered with permanent all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

But as if pre-empting Mercedes' upcoming V6, VW also recently announced a power hike to 258hp and 580Nm of torque for the range-topping 2018 Highline and Aventura versions, marking it out as one of the most powerful trucks available in the UK.

Impressive performance figures aside, the Amarok remains a stylish proposition inside and VW's now ubiquitous touchscreen infotainment system is present and correct, allowing drivers to use smartphone apps on the move thanks to multiple connectivity options.

In fact, it feels very much like any other VW product when behind the familiar wheel, yet it remains one of the most practical pick-ups available to buy, boasting a loading width of 1,222 mm that enables Euro pallets to be loaded crosswise.

There are some downsides though and these include a limited array of trims, which aren't really designed to withstand a building site beating, as well as a lack of more practical single cab or king cab variants.

Thanks to this, the Amarok is a lot more expensive than many of its commercial vehicles rivals, with prices for brand new entry-level models topping the £30,000 mark without any optional extras fitted.

That said, the limited range of powerful engines, the premium trim lines, the lofty price tag and the mighty range-topping V6 see it compete in a very narrow market of properly premium pick-up trucks.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 16:45

Key facts 

Three years / 100,000 miles
Load area: 
2.5 sq m
K (£650 in first year and £295 thereafter)

Best Volkswagen Amarok for... 

VW Amarok Trendline 3.0 V6 TDI 8-speed automatic
With just one engine on the table, it's difficult to snare something that is truly economical, but the entry trim model with the mid-range engine returns 34.9mpg on the combined cycle and produces the lowest CO2 emission figure
VW Amarok Aventura 3.0 V6 TDI 258PS Permanent 4MOTION 8-speed automatic
This top of the range engine packs some impressive performance figures for the pick-up market, while an upcoming Aventura trim level will introduce 20-inch alloys wheels and much more.
VW Amarok Dark Label 3.0 V6 TDI 8-speed automatic
Although not offered with the most powerful engine, this Dark Label edition comes loaded with a bunch of ultra-premium features, including Alcantara seats, Carbon Steel metallic paint and 18-inch wheels.

Volkswagen Amarok History 

  • 2011 The Amarok is launched in the UK.
  • 2012 The twin-turbo 2.0 BiTDI has a power upgrade to 180PS in late 2012.
  • 2014 The Amarok Canyon special edition is introduced, limited to 350 units.
  • 2015 The Amarok Atacama special edition is added to the range.
  • 2016: Dark Label models added and mild facelift of rest of range occurs
  • 2018: Range topping 258hp engine is introduced, alongside new Aventura trim level

Understanding Volkswagen Amarok car names 

  • Amarok
  • Trim level
  • Engine
    3.0 V6 TDI
  • Four-wheel drive
  • Gearbox
    6 speed manual
  • Trim level
    There are currently three trims on offer: Trendline, Highline and Dark label. A new top of the range Aventura trim will go on sale summer 2018.
  • Engine
    6-speed shows that the car has six gears. Customers can choose between a six-speed manual transmission on 163hp and 204hp models, which come with selectable 4-Motion all-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic with permanent all-wheel-drive is available on 204hp models and above.
  • Four-wheel drive
    All Amaroks are fitted with Volkswagen’s four-wheel drive system, called 4Motion.
  • Gearbox
    6-speed shows that the car has six gears. Customers can choose between a six-speed manual transmission on 163hp and 204hp models, which come with selectable 4-Motion all-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic with permanent all-wheel-drive is available on 204hp models and above.

Volkswagen Amarok Engines 

Diesel: 3.0-litre V6 TDI

Pre-2017 models were powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, available in two versions.

The base unit delivered 140hp with fuel consumption of 36.2mpg, and CO2 emissions of 205g/km. The more powerful option – available at Trendline and Highline trim levels – has an extra turbocharger for better performance, so the output is increased to 180PS.

This has the effect of reducing the 0-62mph time to 11 seconds and adding 10mph to the top speed. Fuel economy is marginally affected, lowering it to 35.3mpg, while CO2 emissions also increase to 211g/km. It’s an almost surprisingly powerful unit, considering the 2,108kg kerb weight of the Amarok, with lots of low-down urge. It’s also relatively refined for a commercial vehicle, cruising well at motorway speeds.

However, if you’re buying new there’s only the 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine. The limited engine range is designed to cement the Amarok's reputation as the luxury pick-up truck, as customers looking for a functional workhand will almost certainly look at those rivals offered with a greater spread of capacities and fuel types.

Regardless, the single engine line-up isn't exactly a bad thing, as it is powerful, refined and surprisingly economical given the heady power and torque figures it develops.

The current top spec engine emits 199g/km CO2 and manages a combined fuel economy figure of 34.9mpg.

By comparison, the 165hp 2.5-litre Isuzu D-Max pick-up claims 38.2mpg and 194g/km, while the Ford Ranger is much less efficient, with 30mpg and 248g/km in 2.2-litre four-cylinder auto form or 28.3mpg and 249g/km in the larger 3.2-litre manual models.

Above all else, Volkswagen should be praised for creating such a quiet, refined and easy engine to live with. No matter the power output, it stands head and shoulders above some of the cheaper rivals.




0 - 62mph

Top speed

3.0 V6 TDI 163PS 6-speed manual






3.0 V6 TDI 204PS 6-speed manual






3.0 V6 TDI 204PS 8-speed automatic






3.0 V6 TDI 224PS 8-speed automatic






Volkswagen Amarok Trims 

Trendline, Highline, Dark Label and upcoming Aventura

The mid-life refresh saw an entry-level Startline trim option committed to the history books, as Volkswagen focussed on delivering top quality standard equipment from the bottom of the range upwards.
Trendline now kicks things off and the list of standard kit is long and exhaustive but includes a Composition Media DAB system with a 6.3-inch touch screen display, Bluetooth phone pairing, USB interface and aux-in socket.

Bear in mind navigation remains an optional extra across most of the range but this system can be controlled with voice and comes with a multimedia steering wheel to make operation easier.

Inside, the floors are carpeted, the seats are covered in smart Kemisu fabric, there is state of the art air conditioning and the windows are electrically operated.

As you can see, this is no bargain basement pick-up and the exterior aims to echo this fact with 17-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, privacy glass and body-coloured door mirrors, handles and front bumper with single chrome detailing in the upper grille.

Other notable standard equipment includes cruise control, hill hold assist and remote central locking.

Step up to Highline and tAventhe Amarok gets smarter still, with Vienna leather upholstery throughout, heated driver and front passenger seats with individual control, four 12V sockets and silver dash trim. Bi-xenon headlights make an appearance outside, as does a chrome bumper, LED licence plate lighting and sidebars in stainless steel.

Expect 18-inch alloy wheels, heated washer nozzles, parking sensors and lots of chrome added to the front grille for a more premium look.

Currently, Volkswagen is also offering a fully kitted out Dark Label model that comes with bespoke 18-inch alloy wheels, VW's Discover Media navigation system, a choice of Alcantara or leather upholstery and lots of moody black and carbon paint and trim throughout. 

Finally, an upcoming Aventura trim line will usher in the more powerful V6 diesel engine with its roof liner, pillar trim and other roof elements finished in titanium black.

There will also be a new line of 20-inch alloys wheels and optional matt paint finishes but expect prices to hover around the £40,000 mark.

Volkswagen Amarok Reliability and warranty 

All new Amaroks have an unlimited-mileage, three-year warranty. There are no mileage restrictions in the first two years, when the warranty is manufacturer operated, while the third year (and up to 100,000 miles) is the responsibility of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Van Centre. 

Used Volkswagen Amarok 

The Amarok has been on sale since 2011 and Volkswagen has been steadily shifting them (just under 4,000 were sold in 2015), so there are a few used examples around, with a wide spread of ages and mileages. Prices start at around £10,000, for cars from 2011 or 2012, with in excess of 100,000 miles on the clock. At the other end of the scale, nearly new cars with 4,000+ miles on them are on sale for £30,000 and above (depending on spec/trim level).

Pre-2016 cars won’t have the 3.0-litre V6 engine as an option. If you are looking at pre-2016 cars we’d recommend the most powerful of the 2.0-litre engines as the less powerful models can feel a bit weedy. Startline trim has been discontinued, and was the most basic trim line - something to bear in mind when looking at used models.