Australia’s most powerful tradie ute slips below $50,000
AUSTRALIA'S most powerful tradie ute will slip below $50,000 with the imminent arrival of the VW Amarok Core TDV6 - complete with a vinyl floor.
Until now the cheapest ticket into the most powerful ute in its class has started from $52,990 drive-away and stretched to $74,990 drive-away.
From October, Volkswagen will make the 165kW/550Nm version of its turbo diesel 3.0-litre V6 matched to an eight-speed auto available in the entry-level Core grade somewhere between $45,000 and $50,000 drive-away.
About the same time VW will add an even more powerful version of the TDV6 to the top-line Amarok Ultimate that will boost power to 190kW/580Nm, matching the upcoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class TDV6 for power but trumping it for torque (190kW/550Nm).
The regular TDV6 to be fitted to the Amarok Core retains the overboost boost function that pushes power from 165kW to 180kW in 10-second bursts.
The upgraded TDV6 in the Amarok Ultimate gets a bump from 190kW in normal mode to 200kW in overboost, also in 10-second bursts.
The extra grunt trims the Amarok TDV6's claimed 0 to 100km/h time from 7.9 to 7.3 seconds, both of which are the fastest acceleration times versus current rivals.
The only challengers in the performance stakes: the upcoming Mercedes X-Class TDV6 (190kW/550Nm) with seven-speed auto and all-wheel-drive, and Ford Ranger Raptor twin turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder (157kW/500Nm) matched to a 10-speed auto and all-wheel drive.
In 2019 VW will also finally add a six-speed manual gearbox - with low-range for serious off-roaders - to the Amarok TDV6 Core.
Despite the mechanical changes and the broadening of the model range there are still no plans to add curtain airbags to cover the back seats.
The Amarok has four airbags (two frontal airbags in the steering wheel and dash, and a side airbag in each front seat) but it is now the only ute in its class lacking full length curtain airbag protection.
It retains a five-star safety rating based on seven-year-old crash-test results, from 2011.
As with most of its ute rivals which also publish dated scores, if the Amarok were reassessed today in its current guise it would likely slip to four stars or lower given ANCAP safety criteria has gradually become more strict over the years.
The only utes worthy of five stars based on the latest criteria are the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and the upcoming Ford Ranger PXIII update, both of which supplement their strong body structure and airbag protection with safety aids such as automatic emergency braking.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling