2018 Volkswagen Amarok UltimateVolkswagen Amarok 580 operates in what is arguably the most active market segment in Australia, that of four-door pickup trucks. Within that subgroup some buyers are after more performance, lots more performance.

Think back to the glory days of V8 Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons with not only added power, but also suspension and steering that make driving ever more exciting. Bring your thoughts forward the 2018 and ‘19s and you enter the world of the Volkswagen Amarok 580.

Those who know their cars say, forget about horsepower – it’s torque that talks. So the 580 in this week’s test car, the Volkswagen Amarok 580 stands for 580 newton metres of grunt.

Carlos Santos, the head of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles says, “The Amarok is an Aussie success story whichever way you look at it. It is our third biggest seller across the entire Volkswagen range, making Australia the biggest export market in the world for it.

“The V6 Amarok makes up around 70 per cent of all Amaroks sold in Australia, and with our new 580Nm Ultimate launching, we expect that percentage to grow to more than 80 per cent,” Mr. Santos said with a smile.

Long, low (well lowish) and mean the VW Amarok 580 rides on 20-inch ‘Talca’ alloy wheels, has an aggressive front bumper design, illuminated side steps of the type once reserved for prestige limos, Bi-Zenon headlights and LED daytime running lights.

These additions tie in nicely with the squared-off wheel arches and make sure the big Vee-Dub is more than noticeable in any area where hot pickups congregate.

The long, polished sports bar sits over a UV-resistant load area cover.

2018 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate

Inside is Nappa leather trim, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a premium-colour instrument cluster, black headlining and pillar trims, heated 14-way electric front seats and alloy sports pedals.

Amarok’s V6 3.0-litre turbo-diesel has its 580 N-metres all the way from 1400 to 3000 rpm. Peak power is 190kW and that can lift to 200kW for up to 10 seconds on overboost.

The engine sits in front of an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission to all four wheels. The result is an over boosted zero to 100km/h time of 7.3 seconds. Go back a few decades and big cars with petrol V8s ran times like that. Paddle shifters give the driver added control over all this grunt.

A tiny infotainment screen, just 6.3 inches touchscreen looks a bit lost in a pickup truck. It gives you access to satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A CD player may seem a bit olde-fashioned these days, but it ties-in nicely with a truck like this.

Amarok received a five-star rating when it was first introduced back in 2011. There are IsoFix child seats in the outboard positions of the rear seats.

2018 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate

Amarok really does have crazy performance for a pickup. Put your foot down hard and after a moderate amount of turbo lag has passed there’s seemingly endless torque. Hill? What hill.

If you’re not into sprints off the lights (and perhaps you should be if you buy something like this hot Amarok!) you use all that grunt to spend minimum time on the wrong side of the road to overtake slower road users.

Fuel consumption depends on how you drive, but unless you want to drag race from lights just for the fun of it you’re unlikely to use more than about nine to eleven litres per hundred kilometres.

The front seats are a good size and support pretty well. There’s enough knee room in back, but only just if you have tall folks in the front seats. Rear seats are wide enough for three, but rather upright and can get tiring if you’re on a long country trip. Keep in mind that this is a working truck and any extra space in the back seats robs room from the tray.

Ride comfort is okay for a pickup but on the rough side for a family car. Interior noise is pretty good for this class, though not to the same standards of sedan, hatches, etc in this price class.

Big, bold, brash with huge performance the Volkswagen Amarok in the uprated 580 Newton metre is almost a beast if you drive it hard. We like it like that, but suggest that you take all drivers and your kids along as part of the test team before falling in love with all that grunt.


Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Volkswagen dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Volkswagen Amarok 580 Ultimate 3.0-litre diesel four-door utility)

Capacity: 2.967 litres
Configuration: V6
Maximum Power: 190 kW @ 3250 rpm
Maximum Torque: 580 Nm @ 1400 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 234 g/km

Eight-speed automatic

Length: 5254 mm
Wheelbase: 3080 mm
Width: 1954 mm
Height: 1834 mm
Turning Circle: 13.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 2196 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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