Volkswagen Australia has today announced pricing and March 1st availability of the 2011 Amarok, the company's first foray into the dedicated pick-up segment.
Forming the fourth model series in the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand, the Amarok is the first one-tonne class pick-up to be developed in Germany.
Entering the market as a major part of its assault on Toyota's position atop the global sales ladder, the Amarok faces off against the likes of the Toyota Hilux, the Nissan Navara and the Mitsubishi Triton.
Since its coming was announced, Australia - where 4x4 'pickup' sales are dominated by the Hilux and the Navara - has been marked as a "key market" for the Amarok.
Importantly for the Australian market, the Amarok is also the first ute in its class to gain a 5-Star ANCAP crash safety rating, with the score applying to variants equipped with permanent all-wheel-drive or selectable four-wheel-drive 4MOTION systems.
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Drawing design cues from across the segment and within its own ranks, the Amarok's styling - crafted by Volkswagen Chief Designer Walter de'Silva - is far from revolutionary. Its look is, however, perfectly utilitarian and strong.
Up front, the new ute features Volkswagen's now familiar letterbox grille and rectangular headlights, while the front bumper also takes its inspiration from the brand's passenger line-up.
Flared guards stand out against a robust-looking but otherwise unremarkable profile, while the rear end is dominated by large corner taillights with with deep red lenses.
The Amarok is available in Australia in four trim and specification grades.
The entry-level Amarok 2WD workhorse features a rugged rubber floor covering and hard-wearing materials, while the higher-grade Trendline, Highline and Ultimate variants get carpeted floors and more trim options.
The Highline also offers a leather steering wheel, along with a leather gear shift knob and handbrake lever.
Volkswagen describes the Amarok as a full-fledged five-seater, although the rear row can be converted to extra internal cargo space by folding up the rear seats and backrest.
The rear cargo space of the dual-cab Amarok - the only bodystyle available for now - measures 1555mm long and 1620mm wide, yielding a load area of 2.52 metres squared.
The Amarok offers a load space height of 780mm, while space between the rear wheel wells is 1222mm, making it possible to load Australian- and European-standard pallets sideways - a first for a mid-size ute.
Aimed at the tradesman, the entry-level Amarok gets unpainted bumpers, door handles and outside mirrors, with tough textured black surfaces. Also standard are 16-inch steel wheels and load area lighting.
Other standard features include heated and electrically-powered outside mirrors, and remote central locking.
Inside, the basic Amarok gets height-adjustable front seats and a variable folding rear bench.
Next up in the range is the Trendline, equipped with body-coloured front bumper, door handles and outside mirrors, and a contrasting black rear bumper. Alloy 16-inch wheels are standard here, along with front fog lights.
The Trendline also gets Volkswagen's Climatic electronically-controlled air-conditioning, and the RCD 310 CD/radio system with four speakers in the front of the interior.
Cruise control and a multi-function display are also standard with the Trendline, and there are additional storage bins beneath the front seats of the Trendline grade.
The penultimate Highline grade gets more luxury-oriented details inside and out, gaining more distinctive wheelarch flares and 18-inch aluminium wheels. There are also chrome accents for the front bumper and the outside mirrors, and dark tinted glass in the rear and a chrome-plated rear bumper.
Adding to the Trendline's interior appointments, the Highline gains chrome accents to the gearshift, air vents and steering wheel. The more advanced RCD 510 CD/radio system is also featured, with six speakers installed in the cabin.
At the top of the range is the Amarok Ultimate, adding 19-inch alloy wheels, prominent side steps and stainless steel sports bars, along with 'Ultimate' badging inside and out.
The Amarok Ultimate is available with selectable four-wheel-drive and permanent all-wheel-drive 4MOTION.
Volkswagen offers a number of options for the Amarok, including hard and soft tonneau covers for the rear tub, and a moulded tubliner or boot mats, formed to the contour of the tub.
A towbar is available as an option, and Bluetooth handsfree is also available.
On the safety front, the Amarok is equipped with driver and front passenger airbags, along with front head/thorax side airbags as standard.
Other standard safety features include electronic stability with brake assist and ABS, off-road ABS/ASR and EDL (see Mechanical Package).
the Amarok is also the first ute in its class to gain a 5-Star ANCAP crash safety rating, with the score applying to variants equipped with permanent all-wheel-drive or selectable four-wheel-drive 4MOTION systems.
The Amarok line-up is powered by one engine: a 120kW 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel engine, featuring bi-turbo charging and 400Nm of torque availabe from 1500rpm.
Three different driveline systems are available for the new Amarok: rear-wheel drive for the entry model, rear-wheel drive with selectable 4MOTION four-wheel drive for the mid-range models, and, for the Ultimate variants, a permanent 4MOTION all-wheel drive system with standard comfort suspension and a Torsen differential.
Normally, the distribution ratio for the permanent all-wheel-drive 4MOTION is 40:60; however power distribution can be varied according to the properties of the road surface.
All three driveline versions have an Electronic Rear Differential Lock (EDL) which operates by automatic braking interventions that prevent wheel spinning on one side of the vehicle.
Volkswagen also offers a rear differential lock as standard on all 4MOTION models.
The selectable four-wheel-drive 4MOTION system also offers additional off-road gear reduction in its low setting, allowing for extreme crawler drives and enabling inclines with up to 100 percent grades (on a 45 degree incline angle).
In off-road environments, the Amarok's approach angle is rated at 28 degrees up front, and an exit angle of 23.6 degrees. Volkswagen says the Amarok can also handle water passes up to half a metre deep.
Paired with a six-speed manual transmission and the 2WD system, the diesel engine lists fuel consumption figures of 7.7 l/100km. Matched to the 4MOTION selectable or permanent 4MOTION all-wheel-drive systems, fuel consumption climbs to just 7.9 l/100km.
Suspension is managed by a dual wishbone suspension up front with cast bearings and a spring displacement of 190mm, designed for off-road capability while permitting high loading.
There are two running gear options: for the 4MOTION variant with permanent all-wheel-drive, a comfort suspension is used, consisting of a 2+1 trapezoidal spring pack for suspension, noise and vibration comfort. The gross vehicle weight rating for this version is 2.82 metric tonnes.
In conjunction with the standard Heavy Duty package, the Amarok can handle a load of up to 1157kg. This package is standard on the rear-wheel drive version and on the Amarok with selectable 4MOTION drive, featuring a very high-load 3+2 trapezoidal suspension with three primary and two additional spring packs.
The Amarok has a towing capacity of up to 2800kg (750kg unbraked) and and allowance for 280kg of downball weight. The gross weight of the vehicle-trailer combination may reach up to 5.5 metric tons.
Off-road action is assisted by a number of safety systems, including ESP and Off-Road ABS, Hill Descent assist at speeds below 30km/h and Hill Hold Assist.
The Amarok's Electronic Differential Lock automatically acts on all driven wheels, increasing traction on surfaces where tyre grip differs on either side.
Anti-Slip Regulation and engine drag torque control are featured in models with 2WD and selectable four-wheel-drive.
The 2011 Volkswagen Amarok is on sale around Australia from March 1.
- TDI400 - 6 Speed Manual - $33,990
- TDI400 - Selectable four-wheel-drive - 6 Speed Manual - $43,990
- TDI400 - Selectable four-wheel-drive - 6 Speed Manual - $47,990
- TDI400 - Selectable four-wheel-drive - 6 Speed Manual - $52,990
- TDI400 - Selectable four-wheel-drive - 6 Speed Manual - $58,490
- TDI400 - Permanent all-wheel-drive - 6 Speed Manual - $58,490
Note: pricing is Manufacturer's List Price and does not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.