Volkswagen Amarok V6 Aventura: Torque of the town
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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles NZ reckons its Amarok Aventura ute is the “torque of the town” with its V6 diesel engine the most powerful in its class.
Priced from $89,990, the Aventura joins VW’s 2-litre, twin turbo diesel Amarok plus two other V6 turbo diesel models, but this latest double cab ute boasts increased power and torque.
It has a power upgrade of 200kW at 3500-4000rpm (available on overboost) that is up from 165kW, while the torque is enhanced from 550Nm at 1400-2750rpm to now 580Nm (1400-3000rpm).
It has modified pistons and engine software to increase performance and torque with a 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds, .6 seconds faster than the other V6 diesel Amaroks. It is paired with an eight-speed transmission and VW’s 4Motion 4x4 system.
One of the most impressive improvements, however, is the addition of servotronic power steering. The system monitors your speed and adjusts the steering to suit your situation, so at slow speed or when you’re parking the ute, the power assistance is at it maximum, making manoeuvrability simple.
But at top speed the steering adjusts to a firmer handling and increased agility to give a sportier drive.
The servotronic power steering works thanks to a electric pump that gives assistance when needed without draining power from the engine, while sensors monitor road speed and steering angle to give you the best performance.
It changes the dynamics of this ute and boy, does the system work.
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I have a narrow parking space beside my house that takes about five manoeuvres to reverse into due to neighbours’ cars parked opposite me and a low retaining wall next to my home.
But with the Amarok Aventura it was just one move — the best of any vehicles that size and even some smaller cars.
It felt as though I was parking a VW Polo rather than a 5245mm long and 2228mm wide double-cab ute (although if that isn’t long enough for you, VW NZ has a Amarok XL with a wheelbase 310mm longer, or the XXl at 650mm).
The Aventura sits on 20-inch Talca wheels and has a silver skid plate on the front bumper plus runner boards, essential for us shorties. The interior includes electric seats with Nappa leather, plus steering wheel mounted paddles and VW’s infotainment screen.
To see if the Aventura was the “torque of the town” as the most powerful in its class, I headed to Hahei and Leadfoot Ranch, home of Kiwi motorsport great Rob Millen and his wife Shelly Campbell Millen.
The 2 hour drive included the motorway, then SH25 and the winding Kopu-Hikuai Rd route over the mountain range but thanks to the power steering system the comfort level and handling was comparable to any premium European sedans and coupes I’ve taken on this road trip to Hahei.
The Millen ranch is also the venue for the annual Leadfoot festival, where competitors aim for the fastest time up the 1 mile (1.6km) private road.
Once at the ranch, Rod decided New Zealand’s most powerful ute needed to test its worth up the drive.
With him behind the wheel, the Amarok Aventura turned into a race car, taking on the challenging corners with ease and hitting the finish line with an impressive effort.
“What I liked about it was once you’re used to the way the power is delivered, if you lean on the throttle a little bit, the torque comes in and accelerates very smoothly,” Rod said.
“So my feeling is, with this vehicle, it will take a little bit to get used to but once you understand its unique characteristics you’ll really like it.”
Recommendations don’t get much better than that.