Read Caroline’s Volkswagen Amarok review for everything you need to know about buying Volkswagen’s pick-up truck in Ireland.

The new Volkswagen Amarok went on sale in Ireland in 2023 and marks a significant step forward in design, equipment and off-road capability.

Volkswagen teamed up with Ford to create the new Amarok so it shares a lot with the new Ranger – but there is enough distinction to make the Amarok a worthy contender for your shortlist of new pick-up trucks.

It’s a segment dominated by the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux – but the new Amarok is up for the fight.

Let’s take a closer look.

The new Volkswagen Amarok
The new Volkswagen Amarok

Styling

The new Amarok shares its engine, gearboxes and underpinnings with the Ranger but they certainly don’t look like a carbon copy of each other. At the front, Volkswagen has given the Amarok a more refined face with a new X motif slashing across the front bumper. It’s not quite as beefy looking as the Ranger with a more classic Volkswagen look. It’s more of an evolution of the previous version of the Amarok, which launched all the way back in 2010.

There are a few different trim levels, which add a little more bling as you go up through them. The Aventura model we tested is no longer listed but is a high spec vehicle with matrix LED headlights, chrome trim and 21-inch wheels.

Interior

The new cabin is a big step up from the previous version with upgraded digital technology, equipment and plenty of plush materials. There’s a lovely leather wrapped Volkswagen steering wheel and soft leather on top of the dashboard and doors to make it feel a little more posh. There’s a full digital driver display just like the Ford but with bespoke graphics, and the same large portrait-style touchscreen. It comes with all the latest functionality like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Unlike the Ranger however, there’s more reliance on the touchscreen for things like adjusting the climate control.

The cabin of the new Amarok
The cabin of the new Amarok

The Aventura model has luxury features like heated front seats with power adjustment, heated steering wheel and a Harman Kardon sound system. All versions come with air conditioning and adaptive cruise control.

Practicality

The Amarok comes as double cab only so it offers space for a few rear seat passengers. It’s bigger than before and fairly accommodating on legroom and headroom.

Towing capacity is up to 3.5 tonnes. A new feature is roof capacity of up to 350kg when stationary. The bed can take a payload of around 1 tonne, though the Aventura model tested here can only carry about 573kg. Volkswagen says a Euro pallet can fit sideways between the wheel arches.

It’s also better off-road these days because of increased overall length but reduced overhangs front and rear to improve approach and departure angles. Wading depth has increased from 50 to 80 centimetres. You can get accessories like a hard top or powered roll cover to keep tools and equipment safe and dry.

The new Amarok has improved off-road capability
The new Amarok has improved off-road capability

Engine

At launch the Amarok was available with a choice of 2.0-litre or 3.0-litre V6 diesel, though Volkswagen has since withdrawn the V6 from sale in Ireland. Luckily I was able to experience it in the Aventura model I tested and it doesn’t disappoint. It offers 240hp and 600Nm of torque and feels strong and robust on the road. It’s refined to drive, matched well to the 10-speed automatic, and delivers a nice V6 burble at low speeds. Overall consumption averaged around 10.3 litres per 100 kilometres during my time with the truck.

The 2.0-litre diesel is offered with 168hp or 202hp. Gearbox options are a 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic.

Driving

The Amarok is very capable in its on road driving manners, settling down well to a cruise on the motorway. It’s big but still easy to steer down twisty rural roads. It’s also remarkably comfortable for a pick-up truck though the ride can be a bit bumpy at times.

All versions come with 4Motion selectable four wheel drive as standard. The Amarok also features a number of different pre-configured driving modes to help you out off-road. Other tools include a hill descent control and rear locking differential.

Rear seating in the Amarok
Rear seating in the Amarok

Pricing

The Amarok starts from €48,890 in its most basic guise rising to €66,790 for the top of the range Style model.

Verdict

The new Volkswagen Amarok is a brilliant companion with improved on and off-road driving capabilities. It has impeccable road manners for a pick-up, offering a good degree of control and comfort from behind the wheel. It’s come on a lot in terms of technology and equipment with more high-tech features than ever. The classy finish to the styling and interior give it a bit of distinction to the Ranger, though it may not be enough to truly tempt buyers away from the bestseller. Still, if you’re looking for an alternative to a Ranger or Hilux, it’s definitely worth a look.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The Amarok is on sale now
The Amarok is on sale now