Volkswagen Amarok Review

The Volkswagen Amarok stands out among other pickups for its high quality, car-like cabin and comfort on the road. It’s pricey, though, and alternatives and tow and carry more.

9/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Quality inside
  • Strong engines
  • Comfy to drive

What's not so good

  • Can’t tow as much as others…
  • …Or carry as much in the back
  • Pricier than most

Volkswagen Amarok: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

Pickup trucks like the Volkswagen Amarok are getting more and more popular. Gone are the days of people putting up with stripped out, mud-plugging off-roaders. No, pickups these days also need to handle things like taking the kids to school and carting home the weekly shop. The Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger are all also out to do just that.

The Volkswagen Amarok gets off to a good start by being, well, a VW. It looks butch but classy outside, while inside you’d be hard-pressed to tell it from an (admittedly last-generation) VW Golf. It has the same dense, soft-touch plastics, silver and chrome accents and nicely damped switches. It really does feel a cut above most other pickups.

It gets a better-than-most infotainment system too. As standard, the Amarok gets VW’s 6.3-inch touchscreen system flanked by menu shortcut buttons. It features DAB radio, Bluetooth, a CD drive, SD card slot, USB and aux connections and is easy to navigate if not the sharpest to look at. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard too, making it even more familiar if needed. You can upgrade to a large system with built-in sat-nav, but we wouldn’t bother.

Unlike a lot of pickups, the Amarok comes in four-door double-cab form only, although most people buy this anyway. Importantly, four adults will sit inside with no complaints, while the driver gets a generous amount of both manual seat and wheel adjustment as standard. Things only become a little less comfortable if you add a third adult across the rear bench because shoulder room becomes tight.

There’s a reason you see lots of VW Amaroks about. Firstly, they have that classy VW badge on the bonnet, but inside they don’t look or feel much different to a Golf.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The Amarok’s load bay is good rather than great. That’s to say it’ll take a euro pallet between its wheel arches and carry up to 1146kg, which for the vast majority of buyers will be more than enough. However, if you’re often filling your pickup to the brim then there are alternatives that’ll ultimately carry as much as 100kg more.

However, the Volkswagen Amarok’s engine range is stronger than all its alternatives’. Rather than being four-cylinder engines, the Amarok comes exclusively with V6 diesel engines, which provide more low down pull for the toughest task. There are two to choose between – either a 204hp or 258hp 3.0-litre V6, both with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive.

There isn’t a huge difference in the engines’ performance and both are smooth, but if you regularly tow then you might be glad of the 258hp versions slightly improved towing limit (3000 vs 3100kg) and greater low down pull. Whichever you buy, the Amarok is one of the comfier pickups on sale as well as having good grip and precise steering, although it still falls sort of a traditional SUV to drive on road.

If you like the sound of Volkswagen build quality, good space for a family and a decent set of hauling and towing figures then check our deals pages for the very best Volkswagen Amarok prices.

What's it like inside?

The Volkswagen Amarok is hardly a luxury car, but in terms of pickups, it benefits from VW’s classy quality inside. Even its infotainment system, although old, is better than most.

Read full interior review

How practical is it?

The Volkswagen Amarok has room for four adults and has decent storage options, but while its load bay is generous, there are ultimately better available.

OK, so there are pickups that’ll ultimately handle more weight in their load bays, but let’s be honest, how often will you get close to the Amarok’s 1146kg limit?

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
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Boot (seats down)
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Unlike a lot of pickups, the Amarok comes in four-door double-cab form only, although most people buy this anyway. Importantly, four adults will sit inside with no complaints, while the driver gets a generous amount of both manual seat and wheel adjustment as standard. 

Things only become a little less comfortable if you add a third adult across the rear bench because shoulder room becomes tight.

The Volkswagen Amarok is generous when it comes to storage. The front door bins will take a 1.5-litre water bottle, the glovebox is a decent size and there are cubbies both on top of the dashboard and at the base of the dashboard in front of the gear lever. Then there’s a single cupholder and deeper cubby beneath the central armrest.

In the back, you’re treated to another couple of slightly smaller door bins and some average-sized pockets on the backs of the front seats. Sadly there are no further cupholders or an armrest for those in the rear. 

The Amarok’s load bay is good rather than great. That’s to say it’ll take a euro pallet between its wheel arches and carry up to 1146kg, which for the vast majority of buyers will be more than enough. However, if you’re often filling your pickup to the brim then there are alternatives that’ll ultimately carry as much as 100kg more. 

All Amarok’s come with open load bays as standard, but there are various hard and soft covers available as options to keep the weather out or make the load bay secure enough to store things inside.

What's it like to drive?

Unlike most pickups, the Amarok comes with V6 diesel power only. It’s also more comfortable than most and even has pleasant steering, which is rare.

Lots of pickup owners complain about manufacturers moving to strongly turbocharged four-cylinder diesels. VW has solved that problem – you’ll only find V6s here!

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The Volkswagen Amarok’s engine range is stronger than all its alternatives’. Rather than being four-cylinder engines, the Amarok comes exclusively with V6 diesel engines, which provide more low down pull for the toughest task. 

There are two to choose between – either a 204hp or 258hp 3.0-litre V6, both with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive as standard.

There isn’t a huge difference in the engines’ performance and both are smooth, but if you regularly tow then you might be glad of the 258hp versions slightly improved towing limit (3000 vs 3100kg) and greater low down pull. In both cases, you can expect fuel economy of around 28mpg.

Whichever engine you buy, the Amarok is one of the comfier pickups on sale. It manages to handle bumps in town well compared with most alternative pickups and at faster speeds on the motorway, this improves further.

Even the Amaroks steering is fairly precise and has a nice weighting to it, which together with decent levels of grip means you feel pretty confident threading it along a country road at speed. However, both in terms of comfort and going around corners a traditional SUV is still more accomplished.

And despite the Amarok being quieter at motorway speeds than most pickups, it’s still noisier than most traditional SUVs too, with noticeable wind and tyre noise making its way inside.

Read about prices & specifications