Red light spells danger
A review of the new Volkswagen Amarok Edition R
If you've been a lifelong fan of the trio then you'll remember the performance they did of 'red light spells danger' by Billy Ocean for red nose day, I highly recommend you watch this if you haven't already! Anyway, what do humans think about when we see red? Generally it means stop or if you're a bull then it's a trigger for madness. In movies we also have this idea of a big red button that usually signals some sort of danger causing or preventing mechanism. When you think of things that are big and red, you may remember Clifford the big red dog or possibly Santa Claus but something that doesn't come to mind is a massive red ute. Well, that's the idea that Volkswagen are trying to change! Meet the Amarok edition R, it's big, red and quite fast.
It's undeniable that the elephant in the room here is the bright red paint while it may split audiences in terms of whether it suits a ute or not, I certainly am a fan of the colour. This being the Edition R model, the red paint along with all the black accents come as part of the package. The color scheme is stunning, the black rims and black badges and decals all add to the sporty aspect of this Amarok. Pickups like the Amarok are a common sighting in New Zealand so it was odd to see people giving this Amarok a second glance as it went by. That was probably down to the reason that this Amarok is more of an urban sort of ute. The kind you would use for trips to Bunnings Warehouse and not much more. Logic then tells me that people were giving us disapproving looks...... Then again, that may be because of that silly LED light bar that's placed across the front of the Amarok, only useful for annoying people driving low cars in front of you.
There isn't much that's different here compared to the regular Amarok V6. The V6 gets soft Nappa leather while the Edition R gets leather wrapped racing seats with grippy side bolsters. It also gets a lot of 'Edition R' badging all around. There some on the seats, on the door sills and on the outside of the car as well. You also get some contrast stitching all around. The front is quite spacious and comfortable, kudos to the leather seats but the rear ones aren't really all that nice. They do come leather wrapped of course but you tend to sit very upright, reminds me of my teachers telling people to sit straight in high school except here the Amarok forces you to sit upright. While this is more of a luxury ute because the R package includes only cosmetic changes. The Amarok still features a lot of scratchy plastics for the proper off-roaders out there but then, they won't be buying a big red ute like this one?!
It's feels comfortable to drive. Obviously it's not a cornering maestro but it does so reasonably well. The ride is soft all around and if you put your foot down, the V6 will pull hard. 550Nm of torque is more than enough and 165kW of power make it a force to be reckoned with.
The Amarok Edition R is an extremely rare sight on the road and the red paint draws many glances towards the car. Some good but most of them bad I suppose. It isn't really the kind of ute that you would enjoy taking off-road but that beats the point of a ute entirely!
Is it a ute, is it a luxury suv, who knows?!
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Words and pictures by Matthew D'souza