2012 Volkswagen Amarok Review and First Drive

by under Review on 17 Jul 2012 03:11:58 PM17 Jul 2012
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km

SUV like ride and handling; fuel economy; pay load


not enough rear leg room in dual cab; reverse sensors/camera should be standard

Volkswagen Australia has increased its stake in the ute market with a raft of updates and new models to the Amarok range. The Volkswagen Amarok dual-cab sees the introduction of an 8-speed automatic transmission, powered by the new TDI420 engine.  While at the other end Volkswagen have launched an all new single cab version with large cargo bed. 


The Volkswagen Amarok range now consists of four engine choices, four body styles and the option to have 4x2 or 4x4.

The Amarok Single-cab cab-chassis or ute is powered by either a petrol or diesel engines, while the Amarok Dual-cab cab-chassis or ute has the same engines choices as the single cab,  or the new TDI420.

Full model line-up and pricing can be found here: Volkswagen Amarok full pricing.

2012 Volkswagen Amarok Overview

The two big news items out of the updates are the 5-Star ANACP safety rating and the 8-speed automatic transmission – a first for any ute in Australia. From the entry level workhorse through to the top end luxury recreational vehicle the Amarok redefines the ute segment.


With a choice of a 4x2 or 4x4, Dual cab or Single Cab, ute or tray, buyers are now able to find a Aramrok that suits their needs.

Every Amarok across the range comes with standard cruise control, standard Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheels controls.

2012 Volkswagen Amarok Engine

The newest engine is a 2.0-litre twinturbo engine which produces 132 kW TDI420 with a maximum torque output of 420Nm from 1750rpm.

The full line up of engines available across the range are: 

  TSI-300 TDI-340 TDI-400 TDI-420
Max Power 118kw @ 3,750 90kw @ 3,750 120kw @ 3,750 132kw @ 3,750
Max Torque 300Nm @ 1600-3750 340Nm @ 1750-2250 400nm @ 1500-2250 420Nm @ 1750
C02 226 192 206 219
*Fuel Consumption 9.5 litres per 100km 7.3 litres per 100km 7.8 litres per 100km 8.3 litres per 100km

*Minimum Fuel consumption figures on combined cycle.

2012 Volkswagen Amarok The Interior

Jump inside the entry level Amarok and you will find automatic air-conditioning, a two-speaker MP3-compatible CD sound system, electric windows, hose-down floor coverings, height-adjustable driver and passenger seats, centre armrest with storage bin. 


Obviously further up you go the better the equipment levels become. Sitting inside Dual-Cab Highline or Ultimate, feels like you inside a luxury SUV. The addition touchscreens, higher quality trims, chrome finishing all add to a more luxurious feel. 


Rear legroom in the Dual-cabs is on the small side, adults wouldn’t like to be sitting in the rear on long journeys.

2012 Volkswagen Amarok Exterior & Styling

With so many variants it’s difficult to begin. The entry level single-cab in basic trim looks like a different car compared to the Dual-Cab Ultimate that tops out the range. The Single Cab and Dual-Cab workhorses sport a set of 16” steel wheels, which are best described a functional. The upmarket Trendline, Highline and Ultimate Dual-Cabs come with a choice of 16” and 17” alloy wheels. 


The front of the workhorse models have black plastic bumpers with a large chrome VW badge placed in the centre of a black plastic grille. As you work your way up the range colour coded bumpers and chrome inserts on the grille are introduced to give a classier look. 


At the rear you have a choice of tray or ute depending on requirements. Teh entry level single-cab can be ordered without a rear bumper to give a 180 degree tailgate drop down. Sports bars and ladder racks add a great aggressive look.

2012 Volkswagen Amarok On The Road

A ute that handle more car/SUV like than any ute we have ever driven. On our launch programme we covered in excess of 400 kilometres on and off road and the Amarok was a dream. 


The Amarok is offered with two different suspension set-up. The first is the heavy duty version allows you to carry a payload of 1,174kg and 1,394kg depending on which model you drive. In heavy duty guise the GVM is 3,040kg. When towing a trailer the ute can handle 3000kgs of trailer load with a 300kg downball weight.

The comfort suspension which can be fitted for no extra charge offers better ride and handling while reducing the GVM by 220kgs to 2,820kgs. It is still able to handle 3000kgs of trailer load with a 300kg downball weight.

2012 Volkswagen Amarok Challenges

As a workhorse the Amarok ticks all the boxes, when you jump in to the dual-cab set-up you might find the rear legroom a squeeze and upright seating position tiresome on long journeys.

For fleet and business buyers the biggest issue is replacing their existing commercial vehicles with that of another brand. If servicing is performed in house staff will need to be retrained, new tools purchased and existing stock of spare parts replaced. 


But for the effort buyers will be rewarded with a Ute that offers five star safety rating and great ride and handling.

2012 Volkswagen Amarok The Competition

The updated Amarok now allows Volkswagen to compete with the established players in the Australian ute. With the likes of the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50, Isuzu D-max, Holden Colorado and the top selling Toyota Hilux buyers are spoilt for choice and the Amarok also stakes a strong claim.

2012 Volkswagen Amarok Verdict

If you are in the market for a workhorse or a vehicle that can be used for the whole family the Volkswagen Amarok must be on your shopping list. It has SUV like comfort and handling, the handling and ride quality is close to be best in class.

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