This Amarok was purchased new 190,000km ago, and it has been the best twin-cab ute that I have owned in terms of performance, ride and comfort. It's a great bus.
The motor pulls strong when accelerating and it handles light towing with ease. The ZF8 gearbox is amazing and makes the Amarok ideal for touring. On long hauls, it spends the majority of its time in 8th and 7th gear, giving great economy.
I love driving it in Sports mode and for a big heavy unit, it really goes hard when pushed with heaps of up-and-go for getting past road trains.
It has made several crossings across the country easily and although I haven't done any technical off road, it excels in the sand when going forward and it handles dirt roads easily.
The rear tub is huge, and when fitted with a canopy, the volume of camping gear that you can take on a trip is impressive. Fitted with a TJM bullbar, ARB canopy, and Long Ranger auxiliary fuel tank makes the car both work and family friendly. The standard 80-litre tank, plus an additional 61 litres gives me a country range of 1500km.
I'm in my fifties and over time I have owned many twin-cab 4x4 utes - Toyota Hilux (X2), Triton (x3), and prior to the Amarok, a 2010 3.0-litre Colorado. On average I have kept these cars for between 150,000 to 200,000 kilometres.
Although the Amarok has been the best car to own in terms of performance, comfort and driving enjoyment, it has been a very disappointing in terms of having to fix stuff that had never gone wrong on the other cars that I have owned. Compared to the Japanese manufactured cars (the 3.0-litre Colorado had an Isuzu diesel), the VW is high maintenance and just so expensive to fix when a part fails.
I'm happy to accept some issues as wear and tear, even when meeting all scheduled services, but the number of issues and cost associated with rectifying them has taken the shine off owning this vehicle.
I've been going through counseling but I think a divorce is on the cards due to the following mishaps - replaced front disc rotors at 70,000km, leaking ERG unit (common issue) at 110,000km, power steering pump at 135,000km, fan speed dial not working at 140,000km, and rear wheel bearing replacement at 180,000km (more on this perhaps another time).
Would I buy another one? I'd would really love too but probably not, as I don't replace my cars every 2 or 3 years.
NOTE: We have used CarAdvice photos with this story.