The AA were recently invited by Volkswagen New Zealand to their launch of the Amarok Ute. With the launch promising some light off-roading, we were excited to get behind the wheel. Excitement quickly turned to apprehension however, as we learnt the Amarok launch was still going ahead after another massive Auckland downpour. So it was time to put this ute through its paces. Check out how we got on and our thoughts on the new Amarok below.

How it looks on the outside

Front view

The Volkswagen Amarok 2022 is a rugged and stylish ute that exudes a strong and commanding presence on the road. The Jason Momoa of cars. Its exterior design combines robustness with modern aesthetics, making it a standout in its class.

Front: The bold front grille proudly displays the iconic Volkswagen logo, creating an instantly recognisable face. Flanking the grille are sleek and angular headlights, which provide excellent visibility and feature modern LED technology for enhanced illumination.

The Amarok's body is robust and muscular, emphasising its off-road capabilities. The smooth and aerodynamic lines flow seamlessly from the front to the rear, contributing to its overall sporty and dynamic appearance.

Depending on the trim level and customisation, the Amarok offers a range of alloy wheel options, ranging from 17 to 20 inches. These wheels not only enhance its visual appeal but also provide stability and grip on various terrains. From the side profile the Amarok has a muscular stance. The well-defined wheel arches add a touch of toughness while accommodating larger tires for off-road adventures. Integrated side steps make it easier to access the cabin and add a functional element to the design.

The rear of the Amarok features LED taillights that mirror the design of the headlights. The tailgate is sturdy and practical, capable of handling heavy loads. Additionally, the integrated bumper houses reflectors and a robust tow hitch, highlighting the vehicle's utility capabilities.

How it looks on the inside

2023 Volkswagen Amarok USO 2572 1292037682 1

The interior of the Amarok is designed to offer comfort, functionality, and a premium driving experience. From high-quality materials to advanced technology, the cabin provides a pleasant environment for both driver and passengers.

The Amarok's interior offers ample space for both front and rear passengers. The seats are comfortable and supportive, upholstered in quality materials that vary depending on the trim level. With generous legroom and headroom, the passengers can enjoy long journeys without feeling cramped.

The dashboard layout is intuitive and driver-centric, featuring high-quality materials and soft-touch surfaces. The instrument cluster provides clear and concise information, while the centre console houses a touchscreen infotainment system with various connectivity options. Climate control buttons and other essential controls are conveniently located for easy access.

Depending on the trim level, the Amarok can be equipped with luxurious features such as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, and a multifunction steering wheel. The interior can be further customised with optional upgrades, including ambient lighting, panoramic sunroof, and power-adjustable seats.

The Amarok offers numerous storage compartments throughout the cabin, allowing you to keep personal belongings within easy reach. These include door pockets, cup holders, a centre console storage bin, and a glove compartment. Additionally, the rear seat can be folded to create extra space when needed.

The Amarok can be equipped with a premium sound system, providing excellent audio quality for an immersive driving experience. In terms of safety, it comes with advanced features such as multiple airbags, stability control, traction control, parking sensors, and a rear-view camera, ensuring the safety of occupants in various driving conditions.

Amarok preforming in tough conditions

Front hill climb

Arriving at the launch, it was easy to see the similarity to another well-known high selling ute, the Ford Ranger. On closer inspection however, you can see where the VW designers have stamped their Amarok mark on this vehicle.

After a meet and great with the team at Volkswagen we were paired off to head out and test the Amarok limits. As we travelled along State Highway 16 out to Woodhill forest, it didn’t take long to see widespread flooding around the lower lying areas. I felt relieved to be in a vehicle with a wadding depth of 800mm, so we were able to easily tackle the flood roads.

Turning off the main road into a closed gated area we were greeted with a vast area of forest breaks and towering sand breaks. Time to test this beast out! My excitement grew as I learnt our first test was the Hill Descent test, which looked a lot steeper than I expected. I have never used Hill Descent Control (HDC) in such an extreme off-road condition, and I can say I was a bit nervous going over the brow of the sand drop to be told over the radios to just activate the Hill Descent Control and just let the car “do its thing.”

I can say the Amarok handled it with ease, I even found myself increasing the downhill speed with a simple touch to the + controls on the steering wheel. It did feel a little weird not using the brake pedal and trusting the vehicle’s systems.

When the Hill descent is engaged, the vehicle will travel down slopes at a pre-selected speed ranging from 5-32 km/h.

Another challenging stage was a raised incline to which had us reaching for the Drive modes and selection slippery mode which these conditions were screaming out for and selecting for the rear differential lock which is available under 40km/h.

With these settings selected we were off and once again the vehicle performed superbly. After a few other events like more water crossings and uneven surfaces it was back to our starting location for a welcome spot of lunch.

Signing off

Overall, the Volkswagen Amarok 2022 boasts a well-designed interior with a focus on comfort, functionality, and modern technology. Whether you're driving through rugged terrains or commuting in urban areas, it provides a pleasant and refined environment for both driver and passengers.

New Zealanders will have the four models to pick from;

  • Life $65,000
  • Style $75,000
  • PanAmericana $88,000
  • Aventura $90,000

Amarok highlights

  • Life 65 style 75 Pan-American
  • Life six speed transmission only rest have 10 speeds
  • Safety pre-set what you are towing blind spot
  • 9 air bags
  • Knee air bag for the passenger
  • 5-star ancap
  • Road sign will adjust cruise control
  • Park assists
  • Digital 12.3 screen 12-inch info screen
  • Wireless charging
  • Top two model stereo upgrade
  • 17 inches to 21 in the range
  • Six drive mode
  • Digital cockpit 12.3 all models.
  • 12 infotainment screen Data centre
  • A lot of custom features with lane keep etc hard or softer
  • 3.5 ton towing across the range
  • V6 engine
Previous post
Next post
Winter driving: tips and techniques to keep you safe
Read more
Honda ZR-V
Read more