Volkswagen Amarok (2011 – 2023) Review

Volkswagen Amarok (2011 – 2023) At A Glance


+Impressive on road and easy to drive off road, refined, six-speed transmission with low range. Vastly improved V6 TDI from 2016 can tow 3.2 tonnes and has outstanding AWD system.

-Original 2.0 TDI has low CO2 and is reasonably economical but not really strong enough for tough work.

Volkswagen isn't a make you'd associate with the traditionally rough and ready pick-up truck. It's a market that's dominated by Japanese brands such as Mitsubishi and Toyota whose reliability and tough build quality has made them favourites among plenty of owners. Volkswagen hasn't been deterred though.

It leads the way for commercial vehicles in Europe with models like the Transporter and Caddy, so the Amarok is a logical step.

It may not have the tough image of the Toyota Hilux but the Amarok majors on comfort and refinement. It's very quiet on the move, rides well and has a comfortable interior with a quality finish that's on par with Volkswagen's car range. It's very easy to forget you're in a pick-up truck and inside it's a cut above most of the competition.

At launch the Amarok was offered with a choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engines. Designed for efficiency the common rail unit is quiet and pulls well enough thanks to 340Nm of torque in the standard version (the BiTDI has 400Nm) but it doesn't quite feel strong enough compared to some of its rivals. 

In 2016 Volkswagen replaced the 2.0-litre turbodiesels with a 3.0-litre V6. Smooth, powerful and quiet, the V6 gives the Amarok the punch it was lacking with the older four-cylinder units. The 3.0-litre is offered in 204PS and 224PS (240PS with overboost). Early 2018 would see VW add a 258PS version of the V6 engine, it featuring an overboost function for 272PS for short periods under heavy engine loadings.   

It has a good sized load space though with 2.5 square metres and a length of more than 1.5 metres so it can carry a Euro pallet sideways. The maximum payload is in excess of one tonne in the majority of models. It's well equipped too with even the standard model getting 16-inch alloy wheels, 4MOTION Selectable four-wheel drive, electric front and rear windows, semi-automatic air conditioning and a CD radio.

Used Buying Guide - Volkswagen Amarok 

From the powerful V6 to the early 2.0-litre turbodiesels, we explain what you should look out for when buying a used second-hand Amarok one-tonne pick-up truck. 

Read our used buying guide here >>

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Ask Honest John

What is the most reliable pickup truck?

"What is the most reliable pickup truck to buy?"
We would suggest looking at the Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max if reliability is the most important factor. These brands achieved the highest MoT pass rate for their first test at three years old. Also you could look at the Volkswagen Amarok, which had the highest MoT pass rate for an individual model.
Answered by David Ross

Any suggestions on a new pick-up truck?

"The lease on my daughter’s Peugeot Partner van ends in two months time. She is thinking of changing to a pick-up, probably with 4-wheel-drive and able to seat 3-4 adults. Mileage is 20k a year, no towing required and for business use only. Any suggestions, please?"
The best pick-ups on sale right now are: The Ford Ranger: Nissan Navara: Volkswagen Amarok:
Answered by Dan Powell

My new Volkswagen Amarok keeps making a strange grinding noise when engaging drive - what could it be?

"I have just taken delivery of a brand new Volkswagen Amarok with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. On a number of occasions now the vehicle has made a nasty grinding noise when engaging drive (like not using the clutch on a manual). I have also had the grinding noise after engaging drive and as I release the footbrake and the car starts to move forwards - it momentarily starts to stop like the rock you get applying a Land Rover parking brake and then it drives fine after that. I have also had a banging noise when the vehicle changes up and down the gearbox. I have also experienced issues with reverse, having to really rev the engine to get any rearward motion. This is the third Amarok I've had, the others have been faultless. Any ideas please? "
This reads like the Hill Hold Assist system sticking. This system is designed to prevent the vehicle from rolling forwards or backwards when you release the handbrake. It can sometimes be slow to disengage on new, factory-built vehicles. It should loosen as the Amarok gets some mileage under its belt.
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen Amarok (2011 – 2023) cost?