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It’s a more than capable system, as our dual-cab Highline auto model demonstrated in the Flinders sand dunes.
With the standard mechanical rear differential lock engaged and the traction control turned off, the Amarok made it feel all too easy.
First gear acts primarily as a low-range gear so there’s no problem moving the 2080kg Amarok from a standing start up a soft sand dune.
There’s a sequential manual mode available for particularly steep ascents or descents (there’s also a hill-descent control function), but we found automatic mode to be more than capable of handling most off-road situations and surprisingly proficient in moderately difficult off-road terrain.
The same goes for the soft muddy clay prevalent in these parts: leave the Amarok in auto and you won’t even need the rear diff-lock, provided you don’t mind the odd tail-happy slide.
Engaging the mechanical differential lock and turning traction control off will prevent the wheels from spinning and ensure steady forward progress in the slipperiest of conditions.
Although Volkswagen Australia’s director of commercial vehicles, Philip Clark, has ruled out a space-cab version for now, he told Car Advice the Amarok range would continue to offer new products each year.
“We don’t have plans for an Amarok space-cab, so I can pretty much rule that out for now," Clark said.
Accelerator response is precise and sensitive to gentle throttle inputs on and off the bitumen. The additional gear ratios have not only reduced the workload of the 2.0-litre engine, but noise effects have been further silenced.
Even under heavy throttle loads diesel clatter is kept at hush levels.
Equally impressive is the Volkswagen Amarok’s superior handling.