VW Amarok receives its facelift and a new 3.0 V6 TDI engine

When the Volkswagen Amarok was introduced, it had a single engine option: the 2.0 EA288 TDI engine. It seemed to be a bet on downsizing. But sales disappointed and later the EA288 was involved in Dieselgate. The German carmaker could give up on its pick-up endeavour or try something different. And it has chosen the second path, giving the Amarok a new appearance and a new engine: the 3.0 V6 TDI.

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The new engine will give the Amarok 550 Nm at 1,500 rpm and a top power of 165 kW. But it will also offer 120 kW in the entry-level version of the pick-up and 150 kW on the intermediate version. What Volkswagen is saying, by not saying anything, is that the Amarok will replace the defective EA288 with the 3.0 V6 TDi. No more 2.0 Amarok for you.

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Besides the engine replacement, the new Amarok has a new front-end, with minor changes, as well as a new rear-end. In Europe, it will be sold in the top version Aventura, the one boasting 165 kW. It features a new sports bar, painted in the same color of the body, that makes its cabin “advance” the bed. But this is pretty much all that has changed. Volkswagen mentions a new dashboard, but has not released a single picture of the new interior.

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The Amarok is still 5.25 m long, 1.95 m wide, 1.83 m tall and has a wheelbase of 3.10 m. It can come as a rear-wheel drive pick-up or feature the 4MOTION 4WD system. Transmission options are still the 6-speed manual with which it was presented or the 8-speed automatic with which it should have been launched. The bed is 1.56 m long, 1.65 m in its widest point and 1.22 m in its narrower point and 0.53 m tall, what gives it a 1,330 l cargo capacity, with a total pay load of 1,047 kg.

Will these changes make the Amarok sell what it deserves for its great handling and performance? If the 3.0 V6 TDI does not get involved in any new scandal and resists mining powder (many Amarok have broken down in Brazil due to this matter), we see no reason for it to sell less than its competitors. Apart from the Volkswagen dealers.

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.