When conducting our basic research for this article, things like factory recalls, quantity sold and distributed, to what nations and country of production, we discovered the Amarok was produced in Argentina. Our inner discriminator took over and instantly we decided that based on the country of origin the Amarok would be no good. Like all forms of discrimination we must pull ourselves back into line and stop the unfair assumptions and force ourselves to make a fair assessment.
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We then discovered that the Honda HR-V is also manufactured in Argentina. We recently released a rave review on the HR-V and somehow we missed the fact that they were made in the same country that has a public holiday for “Friendship Day”. So we must conclude that Argentina makes alright cars or we are greatly mistaken on our previous articles. This still leaves us with the question. Is the Amarok any good?
Whilst it’s not a complete lemon the Amarok was manufactured and released as a working class vehicle. It was Volkswagen’s answer to the Hilux, the Triton the Ford Ranger and any other dual cab style ute typically accosted with sexual harassment on worksites, drinking beer from cans and spending the equivalent to a home loan deposit on cigarettes. The VW does not really belong in that crowd and seems to be commonly owned by the boss, driven by the bosses wife and the only action it ever gets is backing a tinny into the great wet when you finally take a weekend off to spend with your kids.
The Amarok at this stage does not seem to show too many of what we call “common faults”, that is to say things that seem to be consistently faulty with a large number of vehicles. However, we are seeing a huge variety of different faults with majority of the Amaroks.
The most common fault with these seem to be the serpentine belt failure on engines running a timing belt. (Note Not all Amarok engines are the same and this fault one;y applies to the belt driven engines) . This is a big issue as a simple drive belt failure is known to cause massive engine failure. The drive belt, if it tears itself apart is known to get in behind one of the pulleys and then get itself tangled up in the timing belt. This causes the timing belt to either fail or jump teeth. The final result is bent valves, resulting in the cylinder head needing to be removed, major internal engine repair and a huge expense at the owners cost.
The manual’s had an issue with the clutch operation which seems to be covered under a factory recall. Many owners have complained of paint deterioration after a few years and we are seeing a lot of DPF problems with the diesel models that are not doing many kilometres. This is a reoccurring issue that we have covered in detail in this article.
If you’re looking at an Amarok you are usually buying it for one of two reasons. 1. You need a trade type vehicle to do the job. If this is the case the Amarok will do just fine, its built to do these tasks and to date they have been found to be very suitable for such things. 2. You’re buying a fancy car for the image. You’re probably the boss and have no intention of doing any actual work with the thing. We advise that if image is the thing you need, there are better mechanical options available. If you are set on owning a VW but don’t require the ute component our advise would be to buy a Tiguan or a Toureg.
Still want to buy an Amarok? Owning one is a bit like watching Star Wars in chronological order. It makes sense and its marginally entertaining but there are no “blow your mind surprises”.
The long and the short of it is in our humble opinion, The Amarok is ok. Its nothing flash, its better than most of the Utes on the market but you will have to taker a few things into consideration. Firstly the outlay. The VW is more costly than most of its competitors on the market. Value for money we advise sticking with the Japanese made vehicles or the Ford Ranger. The Ranger is an exceptional vehicle, check out our blog here.
Additionally the maintenance cost of the VW compared to its counterparts is greater. As with most European vehicles owners or potential owners need to allow within their calculations that servicing a VW involves more, the VW gos through breaks and tyres quicker than its competitors and even if they were to wear at the same rate the replacement parts are up to 60% more.
Finally it needs to be said, most Japanese made vehicles will forgive you for following a service schedule with the diligence of twelve year old, the European made cars will not. If you do decide to by Germany’s finest (in this case sublet to Argentina) do not buy an Amarok if you don’t plan to regularly maintain it.
Overall its my opinion that the Amrock is a viable contender in the duel cab ute space. It has no problem squabbling with the D max, the Hilux or the Ranger it leaves Triton and the Mercedes Benz X Class for dead.