Pictures: Jesse Adams.

Johannesburg - Let's get straight to the juicy part, the new Amarok V6’s performance figures. 

When Volkswagen this year finally launched the 3-litre turbodiesel version of its double cab bakkie after prolonged pressure from customers and motoring journalists alike, the bakkie leapt to the top of the power and price charts. The burly 3.0 turbodiesel outputs of 165kW/550Nm are offered at a price tag of R665 700 if you’re buying the Amarok V6 Highline model and R748 600 if you opt for the top-of-the-range Amarok V6 Extreme. Both versions are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and 4Motion full-time four-wheel drive.

Look to the performance comparison chart at the bottom of this write-up (if you haven’t already) and you’ll see that the V6 Amarok wipes the floor with its double cab rivals in terms of acceleration, both off-the-line and overtaking. 

These vehicles were all tested by us at the same high-altitude venue, the Gerotek test centre near Pretoria, using a satellite-based Racelogic Vbox. In tennis terms it’s a 6-0 victory for the six-cylinder VW with the six-hundred-and-plenty grand price tag.

That 3-litre V6 turbodiesel, the same engine also used in various Audis and Porsches, is a high-performance gem of an engine that dishes out lusty and lag-free pace at all times. Turbo lag is almost non-existent as the big double cab jumps off the line with great eagerness, and its 8.2 second 0-100 km/h time is not too far behind the 7.4 seconds we achieved in a Ford Focus ST. That such a heavy bakkie can flirt with almost hot-hatch acceleration is remarkable.

With a quoted 193km/h top speed, on the open road the big bakkie cruises effortlessly with lively overtaking acceleration that enables it to safely scoot past long trucks. The big-hitting power and torque (with a 3.3 ton tow capacity and electronic trailer stabilisation) should also make this a very capable tow vehicle, which we intend to evaluate during the Amarok V6’s extended stay with us over the next few months.
All this burly performance doesn’t bleed the fuel budget too badly and the test vehicle averaged a quite impressive 10.4 litres per 100km (VW claims that 9.0 litres is possible).

Refinement-wise the big turbodiesel whooshes along without sounding too agricultural, but does become reasonably vocal when revved harder.

The auto gearbox is a sophisticated piece of kit, shifting smoothly and on cue. It has a sports mode that livens up the drive by making more use of the lower gears, and there are steering wheel shift paddles if you wish to take full control.

The 165kW Amarok has bigger brakes than the 2-litre, to deal with the extra power, but otherwise there are no suspension or chassis changes. For an unladen bakkie the Amarok Highline glides along fairly comfortably on its 255/60 R18 tyres. The Amarok Extreme will feel less yielding on its sportier low-profile 255/50 R20 rubber.

Along with the introduction of the V6 engine alongside the 2-litre turbodiesels, the entire Amarok range underwent an exterior and interior freshening up. The cabin changes are quite significant with a smarter looking new fascia and an improved touchscreen infotainment system which now, at last, includes USB and aux ports.

A digital voice enhancer allows the driver to talk to rear seat passengers without shouting; a front microphone pipes the driver’s voice through the rear speakers.

A new standard feature in all Amaroks is the Post-Collision Braking System combined with Electronic Stability Control. 

Nearly a quarter of all accidents involving injuries are collisions with more than one obstacle, and the VW system automatically applies brakes after a crash to help avoid follow-on collisions.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Amarok V6 in this long-term test.


VW Amarok Toyota Hilux Ford Ranger VW Amarok
3.0 V6 TDI 2.8GD-6 3.2 TDCI 2.0 BiTDi
4Motion Highline 4x4 Raider 4x4 XLT 4Motion Highline
Price: R665 700 R576 400 R593 900 R590 600
Power & torque: 165kW/550Nm 130kW/450Nm 147kW/470Nm 132kW/420Nm
0-100km/h: 8.2 secs 12.5 secs 11.7 secs 12.8 secs
60-120km/h in Drive: 7.7 secs 12.2 secs 12.2 secs 12.3 secs

  • Performance tests conducted at Gerotek using Racelogic Vbox