Volkswagen Amarok
(2011 - 2021)

  • Class leading on-road driving dynamics
  • Superb performance from the V6 power plant
  • The most comfortable ute you can buy
  • Clever off-road technology and decent ability
  • Lack of rear passenger airbags
  • 4-cyl engines questionable reliability
  • Torque limiting in reverse can impact certain models
  • Overall reliability and cost of repair is becoming a concern
Overview

Wolfsburg’s likeable load-lugger has long been a favourite for buyers after a ute with an upmarket spin and SUV-like on-road pleasantries. Really long, in fact. The Amarok’s current first and only generation is now a decade old and won’t get younger until an all-new Ford Ranger-twinned replacement arrives in 2022.

That’s considerable providence for a model largely unchanged at its, erm, core (sorry), even though the range offered has evolved considerably over time in reaction to Aussie ute buyers’ increasingly upmarket commercial pick-up tastes.

Where early model year ranges offered 4×2, petrol and single-cab and cab-chassis choices, Amarok’s current 2021 line-up is exclusively dual-cab and 4×4, largely automatic and predominantly diesel V6 powered, with a smattering of manual transmission choice in lower grade diesel fours while a mid-life update in 2017 update brought with it some subtle exterior tweaks, a new-look cabin, upgraded technology and equipment.

Why choose Amarok over its competitors? One big drawcard is its 4Motion all-wheel drive, a permanent and Tarmac-friendly system rather than the selectable type adopted by Volkswagen’s rivals, one not requiring low-range reduction drive. In fact, Volkswagen now offers a specific Core manual with dual-range as something of an outlying variant to target more traditionalist buyers.

4Motion’s big advantage is, as much as anything, safety in mixed sealed-road conditions, and allowing Amarok to ply more powertrain outputs – as much as 190kW and 580Nm in the current range – on than its rivals dare on all-terrain tyres.

Downsides? Because of the core platform’s age, active safety and convenience technology isn’t in step with current advancement in more contemporary competitors, despite offering an interior design that has aged surprisingly well.

Volkswagen’s ute has long been criticised, too, for the lack of rear passenger airbag technology, which is big consideration if you’re after a lifestyle than workhorse experience and looking for optimum family friendliness.

Do we recommend buying one? Read on.

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What goes wrong
  • Serpentine belt failure and timing belt tensioner failures on engines running a timing belt can lead to catastrophic engine failure. (Note Not all Amarok engines are the same and this fault applies to the belt driven engines)
  • If the drive belt tears or fails, it is known to become tangled in the timing belt, causing the timing belt to either fail or jump teeth. The result being bent valves, therefore the cylinder head needing to be removed plus major internal engine repairs being required equating to a huge expense at the owners cost
  • Many reports of coolant leaks which can lead to overheating which can lead to catastrophic engine failure
  • Many reports of turbo problems
  • Injector seals can be known to leak
  • Reports of wheel speed sensor faults
  • Some manual transmissions have had issues with the clutch operation
  • There are a few reports of paint deterioration after a few years
  • There are many reports of typical EGR and DPF problems with the diesel models that are not doing many kilometres and even issues with vehicles that have covered the average amount of distance expected
  • We’re seeing that the Amarok tends to go through brakes and tyres more often than its competitors and the replacement parts are often more expensive
  • Many automatic Amarok have their torque heavily limited when in reverse. This can be resolved with a software update
  • It’s important to note that many of the Amarok’s Asian branded competitors will forgive not following the recommended service schedule with the the upmost diligence. However, reports indicate that the Amarok, (and many European manufactured cars) will not
Model range, pricing and features

Amarok Single Cab

  • Price when new: $25,990 - $39,990
  • Price used: $15,000 - $35,000

The Amarok Single Cab is the only available model in the single cab variant and has the option of 4×2 or 4×4 (4MOTION) drivetrains.

Standard features:

  • Single-zone climate control
  • 16-inch steel wheels
  • Driver, front passenger, side and thorax airbags
  • Anti-Lock Brakes
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with brake assist
  • 5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2011)
  • Seat belt warning (driver’s seat)
  • Central locking
  • Electric windows – front
  • Electric mirrors – heated
  • RCD310 Radio CD Player with MP3 with 2 Speakers
  • 1x 12V socket – centre armrest
  • Rubber floor
  • 4x tie down points in cargo area

2013 model adds:

  • Daytime running lights
  • Electric windows – front with one touch up/down

2015 model adds:

  • Body coloured bumpers
  • RCD320 Radio CD Player with MP3, USB Input with 6 speakers
  • Bluetooth connectivity – audio streaming and hand-free phone calls
  • Leather multifunctional steering wheel
  • Driver’s multi-function display
  • Cruise control

Runner

  • Price when new: $26,990
  • Price used: $11,000 - $22,000

The Runner edition was a limited edition version (just 90 produced) of the the single cab chassis variant of the Amarok.

Runner adds:

  • Runner badging
  • Heavy-duty trim material

Amarok Dual Cab

  • Price when new: $31,990 - $43,990
  • Price used: $12,500 - $38,990

The Amarok Dual Cab is the base version of the dual cab variants, and is offered in either 4×2 or 4×4 (4MOTION) drivetrains.

From 2015, the Amarok dual cab base model is only available as a 4×2 option. If you want a 4×4 drivetrain, you’ll need to step up to the Core model.

Amarok Dual Cab features:

  • Single-zone Climate Control
  • 16-inch steel wheels
  • Driver, front passenger, side and thorax airbags
  • Anti-Lock Brakes
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with brake assist
  • 5-star ANCAP safety rating (tested 2011)
  • Seat belt warning (driver’s seat)
  • Central locking
  • Electric windows – front and rear
  • Electric mirrors – heated
  • RCD310 Radio CD Player with MP3 with 2 Speakers
  • 1x 12V socket – centre armrest
  • Rubber floor
  • 4x tie down points in cargo area

2013 model adds:

  • Daytime running lights
  • Electric windows – front and rear with one touch up/down

2015 model adds:

  • Body coloured bumpers
  • RCD320 Radio CD Player with MP3, USB Input with 6 Speakers
  • Bluetooth connectivity – audio streaming and hand-free phone calls
  • Leather multifunctional steering wheel
  • Driver’s multi-function display
  • Cruise control

2017 Model adds:

  • Composition media system with 6.3-inch colour touch screen display
  • Apple Carplay and Android Auto
  • Multi-Collision braking system

 

Limited Edition

  • Price when new: $47,990
  • Price used: $15,500 - $39,000

A limited edition model (as it is known) fitted with extra features in addition to the base Amarok model.

Limited Edition adds:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Metallic paint
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Front fog lamps
  • RCD510 Radio CD Player with MP3 Double Din with 6 Speakers
  • Driver’s multi-function display
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Carpeted floor

Tradie

  • Price when new: $37,990 - $40,990
  • Price used: $17,500 - $45,000

Special edition model is similar to the MY12 Limited Edition model. Released in 2014.

Tradie adds:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Metallic paint
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Front fog lamps
  • RCD510 Radio CD Player with MP3 Double Din with 6 Speakers
  • Driver’s multi-function display
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Carpeted floor

Core

  • Price when new: $42,990 - $52,590
  • Price used: $19,990 - $50,850

Introduced with the MY14 Amarok range, the Core becomes the entry level 4×4 model for the Amarok range, replacing the base “Amarok” 4×4 model.

Core adds:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels

2017 Model adds:

  • Rear bumper, with integrated step
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rear-view reversing camera
  • Core 4×4’ decal on tub sides

Core Plus

  • Price when new: $48,990 - $51,590
  • Price used: $22,000 - $44,000

The MY17 Amarok range introduced the Core Plus model, a mid-spec tier in the whole Amarok range, and considered the range topping in the 4-cylinder Amarok range, before stepping into the V6 range.

Core Plus adds:

  • 17-inch ‘Posadus’ alloy wheels
  • Chrome grille
  • Extended wheel arches
  • Matte black styling bar
  • Comfort closing rear tailgate
  • Front fog lights
  • Colour-coated exterior mirrors and door
  • handles
  • Four 12V sockets, (three in cabin and one in tray)
  • Parking sensors front and rear
  • ‘Kemisu’ cloth upholstery
  • Carpet floor covering
  • Rear (B-pillar) grab handles

Trendline

  • Price when new: $45,990 - $49,990
  • Price used: $16,999 - $38,888

The Trendline model is the next step up from the base Amarok model (or from MY14 – the Core model).

Trendline adds:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Front fog lights
  • RCD310 Radio CD Player with MP3 Double Din with 4 Speakers
  • Driver’s multi-function display
  • Map lights
  • Rear interior lights
  • 3x 12V sockets – dashboard, centre console and in cargo area
  • Drawers under front seats
  • Carpeted floor

2013 model adds:

  • Leather multifunctional steering wheel
  • Cruise control
  • Bluetooth connectivity – audio streaming and hand-free phone calls

2015 model adds:

  • Front and rear parking sensors

Sportline

  • Price when new: $55,490 - $56,590
  • Price used: $39,888 - $65,000

The Sportline is the “entry level” model into the 2017 Amarok V6 range, although it does get a little more goodies over the Core Plus in the 4-cylinder Amarok range.

Sportline adds:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Chrome grille
  • Extended wheel arches
  • Chrome rear bumper with step
  • Comfort closing rear tailgate
  • Front fog lights
  • Tinted tail lights
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Reversing camera

Highline

  • Price when new: $50,990 - $61,990
  • Price used: $17,500 - $73,000

Slotting between the Trendline and Ultimate (or from MY17 – the Sportline and Ultimate), the Highline is the “premium plus” model offering more functional features.

Highline adds:

  • Dual-zone climate control
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Leather steering wheel
  • RCD510 Radio CD Player with MP3 with 6 Speakers

2013 model adds:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • 17-inch alloy wheels

2017 model adds:

  • ISOFIX
  • Multi-collision brake
  • Reversing camera
  • Dusk-sensing headlights
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRL
  • Stainless steel side steps
  • 6.3-inch touchscreen with sat-nav
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • DAB digital radio

Highline Black

  • Price when new: $64,990
  • Price used: $51,990 - $71,990

The Highline Black model was introduced in 2019, and is a Highline model features plus a “black pack” styling package.

Highline Black adds:

  • Black 20-inch Talca alloy wheels
  • Gloss black styling bar
  • Gloss black side bars
  • Gloss black painted exterior mirrors
  • Gross black and chrome grille
  • Black headlining & pillar trims

Canyon

  • Price when new: $56,990 - $59,990
  • Price used: $27,000 - $67,000

Special edition with an adventure theme and based on the Canyon Concept revealed in 2012. Fun fact: that concept was aimed at kayakers and extreme sports-people. Based on the Highline.

Canyon:

  • Gloss black sports and side bars,
  • 17-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli Scorpion AT-R tyres
  • Tray liner,
  • Tinted rear lamps
  • Canyon decals at the rear and side.
  • Satellite navigation,
  • Reverse-view camera
  • Two-tone Nappa leather interior with orange stitching.

 

Dark Label

  • Price when new: $56,990 - $62,990
  • Price used: $25,000 - $68,000

Special edition with darkened stylised bits with some comfort-orientated features. Based on the Highline.

Dark Label adds:

  • Bi-xenon headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Matt black sports bar and side steps
  • Darkened tail-lights
  • Black-painted 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Rear bumper
  • Mirror caps and door handles
  • Alcantara trim with carbon fibre-look seat bolster finish
  • Heated front seats
  • Tailored floor mats

Atacama

  • Price when new: $53,990 - $56,990
  • Price used: $33,000 - $48,500

Successor to the limited-edition Canyon model, the Atacama is a sporty limited edition model named after the Atacama desert in Chile and is limited to 500 units. Based on the Highline.

Atacama:

  • Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime lights
  • 18-inch ‘Durban’ black alloy wheels
  • Black sports bar
  • Black side steps
  • Black rear step bumper
  • “Atacama” badging on the side
  • Quad fabric trim
  • RNS315 display with satellite navigation, along with
  • Dual-zone climate control,
  • Automatic headlights and wipers,
  • Front and rear park distance control
  • Rear-view camera

580S

  • Price when new: $70,990
  • Price used: $77,000 - $78,000

Limited edition model, only 200 were offered in Australia.

580S adds:

  • 20-inch gloss black alloy wheels
  • Carbon Steel Metallic paint – black exterior body handles
  • Deep Black Pearl and Candy White solid paint – body-coloured exterior door handles
  • Premium roll cover (black)
  • Roof mounted light bar painted in body colour
  • Watt LED lamps
  • Moulded sports bar painted in body colour
  • Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights
  • Front and rear parking sensors

580SE

  • Price when new: $67,490
  • Price used: $74,000 - $85,000

Limited edition model, only 200 were offered in Australia that sits between the Highline and the Ultimate models, and features a black/darkened styling pack.

580SE adds:

  • 20-inch gloss black alloy wheels
  • Moulded sports bar painted in body colour
  • Durabed tubliner coating
  • Black side steps
  • Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights
  • Front fog lights with static cornering function

Ultimate

  • Price when new: $58,490 - $72,790
  • Price used: $18,500 - $75,000

The range-topping Ultimate.

Ultimate adds:

  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Leather trim

2013 model adds:

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Auto on/off headlights

2017 model adds:

  • Illuminated side steps
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Colour multi-function display driver’s information screen
  • Aluminium pedals
  • Paddle shifters
  • Leather seats with 14-way adjustment and heating

Aventura

  • Price when new: $72,490
  • Price used: $76,000 - $78,000

The range topping-model in the Amarok range that replaced the Ultimate model for the MY21 year.

Aventura adds:

  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • Moulded styling bar (body coloured)
  • Stainless steel side steps with illumination
  • Special cargo area coating
  • Nappa leather seats
  • 14-way electric front seats
  • Colour driver’s multi-function display
  • Leather-covered multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters
  • Stainless steel pedals
  • Tailored carpet mats
Should you buy it?

There is little doubt that the Amarok, even after a few years and thousands of kilometres still provides class leading on-road dynamics, a very respectable level of off-road ability, good levels of tech and equipment and a certain level of European panache.

However, if you should buy an Amarok firstly depends on you and the lifestyle you have.

If you require a vehicle that can dominate the very toughest, most remote and challenging terrain, while the Amarok’s general off-road ability is very good, (excluding the manual transmission, low range transfers cased Core models) the lack of simpler and more traditional off-road mechanicals can see the Amarok struggling in the seriously rough stuff, and a lack of regional parts support could potentially leave you stranded.

If you require this level of off-road domination, no, you shouldn’t buy an Amarok.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking to buy an Amarok as a practical family car or work vehicle that will spend the vast majority of its life on road, unless you genuinely require the Amarok’s rear tub cargo carrying capabilities, no, you shouldn’t buy an Amarok as there are plenty of wagons and SUV’s that will provide safer, more refined, more economical and more enjoyable alternatives.

However, if you genuinely require a vehicle that has the cargo carrying abilities of a ute and can seat four adults, and it’s essential that this vehicle has a respectable level of off-roading prowess, yet still needs to provide excellent on-road dynamics, and it would be ideal that this vehicle provides some levels of European style, yes, you should buy an Amarok, but please be cautious.

Avoid early 4-cylinder examples, more recent 4-cylinder examples with questionable histories and any Amarok that has skipped a scheduled service or even hints at a lack of regular maintenance and care.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 year/unlimited kilometre warranty (vehicles sold prior to 1st October 2018)
5 year/unlimited kilometre warranty (vehicles sold on or after 1st January 2019)

Servicing:

4-cyl models (2010-2016): 6-year capped price servicing (every 15,000km or 12-months)
4-cyl models (2017-2021): 5-year capped price servicing (every 15,000km or 12-months)
V6 Models: 5-year capped price servicing (every 15,000km or 12-months)

Tech specs

Body style:

Amarok Base Model:

  • Single cab chassis 2-door 4×2
  • Single cab chassis 2-door 4×4
  • Single cab ute 2-door 4×2
  • Single cab ute 2-door 4×4
  • Dual cab chassis 4-door 4×2
  • Dual cab chassis 4-door 4×4
  • Dual cab ute 4-door 4×2
  • Dual cab ute 4-door 4×4

Limited Edition, Tradie, Core, Core Plus, Trendline, Sportline, Highline, Ultimate, Adventura & Limited/Special Editions

  • Dual cab ute 4-door 4×2
  • Dual cab ute 4-door 4×4

Engines:

  • 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TSI300 (Amarok single cab, dual cab) – discontinued 2015
  • 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel- TDI340 (Amarok single cab, dual cab)
  • 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel- TDI400 (Amarok single cab, dual cab, Core, Core Plus, Trendline, Highline & Ultimate)
  • 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel – TDI420 (Amarok single cab 4MOTION – from 2015, dual cab, Core, Core Plus, Trendline, Highline & Ultimate)
  • 3.0 litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI500 (Core, Sportline V6) – from 2019
  • 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI550 (Sportline V6, Highline V6, Ultimate V6) – from 2017
  • 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI580 (Highline Black, Ultimate, Aventura, 580S, 580SE) – from 2019

Power:

  • 118kW (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TSI300)
  • 103kW (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI340)
  • 132kW (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI400)
  • 132kW (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI420)
  • 165kW (3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI500)
  • 165kW (3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI550)
  • 190kW (3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI580)

Torque:

  • 300Nm (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TSI300)
  • 340Nm (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI340)
  • 400Nm (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI400)
  • 420Nm (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI420)
  • 500Nm (3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI500)
  • 550Nm (3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI550)
  • 580Nm (3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI580)

Transmissions:

  • 6-speed manual transmission (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TSI300, TDI340, TDI400 and 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI500)
  • 8-speed automatic transmission (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI420 and 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI550)

Fuel use (depending on variant and model):

  • 7.8 – 12.7L/100km (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TSI300)
  • 6.4 – 9.2L/100km (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI340)
  • 6.8 – 7.9L/100km (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI400)
  • 7.3 – 10.1L/100km (2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – TDI420)
  • 8.1 – 10.6L/100km (3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – TDI550)

 

Height:

  • 1820mm (Amarok single cab)
  • 1834mm (Amarok dual cab, Trendline, Highline, Ultimate)

Length:

  • 4979mm (Amarok single cab and dual-cab chassis)
  • 5181mm (Amarok single cab and dual cab)
  • 5254mm (Trendline, Highline, Ultimate)

Width:

  • 1954mm

Kerb weight:

  • 1872 – 2324 kg (depending on variant)

Towing:

  • 3000kg braked; 750kg unbraked
  • 300kg downball weight

Payload:

  • 939kg – 1303kg (depending on year, engine and model)
Disclaimer

Information correct as of September 24, 2021.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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