Volkswagen updates Amarok for 2016

  • VW drops the 2-litre for a 3-litre V6
  • Towing capacity increased to 3.5 tonnes
  • Plenty of new comfort and driver assist systems

Five years after launch, the Volkswagen Amarok pickup is getting its first major facelift - with a new engine, greater towing capacity and smattering of new tech.

While the styling alternations may be nothing to write home about, VW hopes the introduction of a 3-litre V6 engine and hike in towing capacity to 3.5t will keep its pickup fresh in the face of increased competition.

The Amarok has gained a reputation as a comfortable and stylish vehicle, although some heavy-duty operators have raised questions over its average towing capacity (3.2 tonnes), poor fuel economy (up to 36.2mpg) and reliance on small-displacement 2-litre TDi engines.

Specification of new 2016 VW Amarok

Volkswagen Amarok 2016

Although the UK spec sheets for the revised Amarok have yet to be released, we can already confirm quite a few details. There will be a new 14-way adjustable driver’s seat, Climatronic climate control and a steering wheel now equipped with paddle shifts on automatic models.

There will be a new infotainment system too, with an eight-inch touchscreen display available, along with parking sensors, rear-view camera and an automatic braking system which applies the brakes after a collision if the driver is unable to.

Engine and driveline

The big news regarding the new VW Amarok is the replacement of the 2-litre engine with a 3-litre V6 (below), which also features in the Volkswagen Touareg and Audi A6.

Volkswagen Amarok 2016

There will be three power ratings available: 161bhp, 202bhp and 221bhp, the latter boasting a maximum torque output of 550Nm – making it the most powerful and torquey pickup on sale in the UK.

All models will feature 4Motion all-wheel drive (featuring three different settings depending on the type of conditions) as standard. There will be a choice of either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic DSG transmission.

Loading and towing

Volkswagen Amarok 2016

Payloads aren’t expected to improve too much over the 1,020 to 1,080kg figures of the current-generation Amarok, although the towing capacity will increase to 3.5 tonnes, which is best in class with the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Nissan NP300 Navara.

Summary

The Amarok has always been aimed at the premium end of the market and targets owner-drivers with high levels of comfort and specification.

One thing that has always held the Amarok back is the small 2-litre engine, as this market tends to specify larger engines, like the 3.2-litre in the Ford Ranger.

We'll report back soon with a full Parkers review of the new 2016 VW Amarok.