Going off: 2022 Volkswagen Amarok W580X review

A white Volkswagen Amarok W580X drives on the road.

Craig Duff

Posted May 20, 2022


The VW Amarok is the only mainstream ute with a V6 turbodiesel engine. Now VW has partnered with Walkinshaw to boost its off-road ability.

When you’re on a good thing, stick with it. That’s the approach Volkswagen has taken to its partnership with Walkinshaw in developing specialized versions of the Amarok ute.

Short-term, that means a limited-edition run of 600 vehicles with upgraded components to better tackle bush duties.

In the long run, expect to see Walkinshaw logos emblazoned on high-performance versions of the next-generation Amarok.

That vehicle is due to be globally revealed on July 7. VW partnered with Ford to develop the ute, but the agreement precludes the German company from getting access to the Ranger Raptor versions.

That puts Walkinshaw in the driver’s seat to continue its modification work, alongside re-engineering Dodge Rams and Chevrolet Silverados for Australia.

For now, though, the focus is on the VW Amarok W580X. It follows on from the W580 and W580S special editions that were aimed at improving on-road performance.

VW Amarok W580X | RACV

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How much does the VW Amarok W580X cost?

The sticker price is $78,890 plus on-road costs, so call it around $86,000 out of the dealership.

It’s not cheap, but the likes of the Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, Mazda BT-50 and Mitsubishi Triton don’t have a V6 turbodiesel in their range. And that’s a big part of the Amarok’s appeal, with the V6 accounting for 90 per cent of Amarok sales over the past two years.

The Ford Ranger Raptor comes closest in price and performance at $79,390 plus on-roads.

The Amarok is backed by Volkswagen’s five-year, unlimited kilometer warranty. Service intervals are 12 months/15,000km and pre-paying for the first five will cost $2050, providing you do it before the promotion expires on June 30.

Accessories include a Seikel snorkel for $1390 and powered leather front seats plus satellite navigation for $3690.

Is the VW Amarok W580X safe?

The inherent structure of the Amarok shouldn’t pose potential buyers any concerns. The absence of what is considered basic active safety software may.

ANCAP tested the 2.0-litre diesel version of the Amarok way back in 2011 and bestowed a five-star rating upon it, based on the criteria of that era.

The big rig scored 13.99 out of 16 points in the frontal crash test and achieved perfect scores in the side-impact and pole tests. Whiplash protection was rated as good, while pedestrian protection was deemed to be marginal.

There are, however, no airbags in the second row. The likes of autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring also can’t be deployed on this generation of Amarok.

Expect the safety suite to lead the class when the new vehicle arrives (probably early next year).

For now, the absence of what are now considered basic features is the price you pay to take ownership of a W580X Amarok.

 

The 2022 Volkswagen Amarok W580X is designed for off-road enthusiasts.
The suspension on the VW Amarok W580X has been lifted 40mm.
An LED lightbar mounted into the front bumper is standard; the snorkel costs $1390.

What’s the VW Amarok W580X like inside?

There’s no disguising the fact the Amarok was designed when digital displays were smartphone-sized.

The screen is still more than acceptable in terms of resolution, it’s just short on inches.

The rest of the cabin is a respectable combination of utility and VW’s ergonomic prowess.

A tilt and reach adjustable steering wheel ensures you can find a comfortable driving position, the seats are supportive and, with the optional 14-way adjustable leather units, easily configurable to body shape and the quality of the plastics is a good reflection on the compromise between presentation and preservation needed for this class of vehicle.

A pair of analogue dials flag a basic digital display that, importantly, includes a digital speedometer.

There’s a “W” logo embossed into the front seat headrests and a unique model number mounted in the centre console. Those numbers don’t go from 1-600 but reflect where the W580X sits within Walkinshaw’s overall build volume, which is tipped to be around 2600 by the time this version of the Amarok is retired.

What’s under the VW Amarok W580X’s bonnet?

A huge part of the Amarok’s appeal is the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel. Pumping out 190kW and 580Nm (hence the nomenclature on the side of these vehicles), the V6 delivers a refined drive with the capacity to comfortably haul up to the 3500kg towing capacity.

The engine is paired to an eight-speed auto, matched to an off-road mode that regulates hill-descent control and modifies the anti-lock brakes. A rear diff-lock is also standard.

 

The infotainment screen is one of the few letdowns in the VW Amarok W580X's interior.
An LED lightbar and bashplate are standard on the VW Amarok W580X.
Dual rail rock sliders protect the door sills from damage when dropping into ruts or over rocks.

Is the VW Amarok W580X efficient?

Volkswagen claims a 0-100km/h time for the V6 Amarok of 7.3 seconds. That feels about right and makes it the quickest diesel vehicle in the segment by a long shot.

Official combined fuel consumption of 9.5 litres/100km means the 80-litre fuel tank is good for around 800km.

For comparison, the Ford Ranger Raptor’s 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder engine uses around 1.3 litres less every 100km.

What’s the VW Amarok W580X like to drive?

Walkinshaw’s brief with W580X was to develop a vehicle that performed well on hardpacked gravel roads, fire trails and rocky hill climbs.

To facilitate that objective, the company has installed a 4mm thick bash plate, plus protection for key underbody elements like the diff, as well as fitting dual-barred rock sliders on each side of the ute.

The suspension has also been lifted by 40mm and the twin-tube shock set-up tuned for improved off-road ability, while the Amarok W580X rides on 18-inch forged alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tyres.

Taking to the roads and tracks around Kinglake and Healesville found the Amarok to be more than capable of dispatching slick clay and rocky surfaces.

The off-road ride isn’t as supple as in, say, a Nissan Navara Warrior. The upshot is the Amarok is still composed at the posted speed limit on roads like the Black Spur, which would have seen the Warrior wallowing.

The Amarok remains one of the most impressive four-door utes to drive on the road.

While the underbody protection looks impressive, we can’t attest to its solidity, given our route didn’t involve terrain that saw the Amarok touch ground.

In terms of visual impact, the 18-inch wheels look impressive, but the tray is in desperate need of a sports bar to highlight the premium nature of the product.

The snorkel is worth considering if you plan to regularly drive in the dust. Be aware, though that it imparts some noise into the cabin, both in terms of initially hearing it ingest air and then the wind noise around it at speeds above 60km/h.

 

The VW Amarok W580X maintains a 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity.
The 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel accounts for around 90 per cent of Amarok sales.
Forged 18-inch alloys wheels and extended wheel arches give the VW Amarok W580X an aggressive stance that reflect its off-road intent.

Should I buy one?

There are two reasons you might steer away.

If you regularly drive with rear-seat passengers and are concerned for the duty of care you owe them, means there’d be a hesitancy to ensconce them in the back.

It’s not so much a case of crashing as it is for high-riding utes to tip over when T-boned, and at that point you’d like curtain airbags in all rows.

If, however, you were heading for the hills with your beloved with a decent off-road caravan hitched to the rear, this is the car to consider.

You can’t beat 580Nm when scrabbling up a fire trail with a few tonnes hanging off the towball.

But then there's the prospect of a bigger and better Amarok not that far down the road.

 

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.


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