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Amarok V6 Vs Hilux SR5

24,946. That’s the amount of HiLux 4X4s that Toyota has sold so far this year, up to October. Along with the Ford Ranger, the Toyota HiLux is by and far the best-selling ute in Australia, and often jostles as one of the best-selling vehicles overall.

On the other hand, Volkswagen has sold 6,476 4X4 Amaroks. It’s still quite a reasonable figure, but the other players in the market dwarf it. It’s a good ute, with a loyal fan base and great potential as a 4WD tourer. What’s stopping it from being a complete sales success? Whether they are right or wrong, there’s probably two things people don’t like about them: the two-litre engine, and the lack of low range (on the automatic models, at least). A lot of Australian 4WD buyers are quite a traditional bunch, who aren’t necessarily big fans of change.

Now, Volkswagen has made a big change: In addition to the two-litre four-cylinder engine, a 165kW, 550Nm turbo diesel V6 is going to ruffle the feathers of the competitive Ute industry. We were lucky enough to grab the keys to a Highline V6 Amarok from the office, drag out an SR5 HiLux behind it, and were able to a head-to-head comparison.

THE INTERIOR

HILUX SR5 INTERIOR

AMAROK V6 INTERIOR

INTERIOR STATS

HiLuxAmarok
GradeSR5Highline
Seats:ClothCloth
Seating option:Leather accentLeather or Alcantara
Air conditioningClimate controlDual-zone climate control
Soundsix-speakersix-speaker
Reversing camerayesyes
parking sensorsyesyes
Airbags74
Screen6.1″ touchscreen6.33″ ‘Discover’
12V sockets’24
220V sockets10
MFDcolourmonochrome
Price:$56,390$59,990

OFF-ROAD

Off-road, the HiLux and Amarok perform quite similarly. If you look at the specs, you’ll notice that the HiLux has the edge with ground clearance, approach and departure angles. We did notice this a bit on the track, but to be honest, for decent off-roading, you would want to look at a slight suspension lift for both vehicles. Some slightly taller tyres, which should be able to clear the body, steering and suspension, would also be very beneficial.

HILUX SR5 OFF-ROAD

Our test Amarok wasn’t technically released when we filmed the review, and I have to say I was driving it quite nervously to avoid damage. What certainly didn’t help on our test vehicle were the side steps: big, chrome units that sit down quite a bit lower than the bottom of the car, ruining your sill and ground clearance. We didn’t have the tools available to remove these steps, and they really did hinder our progress off-road.

AMAROK V6 OFF-ROAD

What we could drive, we found the Amarok and the HiLux to be quite capable. This is mainly due to their off-road traction control systems, which proved to perform quite smoothly and effectively. When you’re driving vehicles with this fairly advanced traction control systems, it’s important to keep feeding a steady throttle, which allows the ABS module to direct torque to the right wheels.

What’s better off-road? In this case, it’s the HiLux, mainly because of those ridiculous steps on the ‘Rok. We are going to have to re-visit this, without steps for a more even and thorough comparison.

OFF-ROAD STATS

HiLuxAmarok
Length, mm53305,254
width, mm18551,954
height, mm18151,878
wheelbase, mm30853,095
front track, mm1,5351,654
rear track, mm1,5501,658
approach angle, mm3128
departure angle, mm2623.6
ground clearance, mm225192
tyres265/60R18255/60 R18
wading depth, mm700500
tray length, mm15691,555
tray width, mm16451620
wheel arch width, mm11091222
GVM, kg3,0003,080
Kerb weight, kg20752,169
payload, kg925kg911
braked towing, kg3200kg3,000
GCM, kg5,8506,000

EXTERIOR & ON-ROAD

HILUX SR5 EXTERIOR & ON-ROAD

AMAROK EXTERIOR & ON-ROAD

 

Over its predecessor, the HiLux is no doubt a big step ahead in terms of on-road driving and comfort. The steering is sharp and precise, and the engine is very quiet and willing. The new gearbox is a fairly smooth unit, as well. The suspension setup is quite firm, leaving a fairly jiggly ride over uneven surfaces. But it does feel solid and tight, so to speak.

It’s a funny thing to think that 4X4 utes have come so far over the past years, and none have pushed the refinement envelope more than this V6 Amarok. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re driving a big Passat most of the time, with a smooth, quiet and powerful driveline, combining with surprisingly supple suspension. The experience is very car-like, only just can you feel the leaf-sprung rear end clatter around on undulations or dirt roads. This car is incredibly quiet and refined, even sometimes rewarding to drive sportingly.

The HiLux is no doubt a fine vehicle for daily driving and gives the driver a satisfying kind of ute-like experience. But, it’s thoroughly outgunned by the Amarok, not only because of the V6 but through the smooth suspension, nicely dialled handling and very quiet driving experience.

THE VERDICT

It’s a tougher call than I thought it would be, to be honest. I thought the Amarok was going to be a clear winner over the HiLux. Because our off-road driving test wasn’t really conclusive, and those steps really held the Amarok back, the HiLux did make a fair bit of headway. Little additions like the extra battery mounts, accessory fuse box and overall solid feeling does make the HiLux a great 4X4 choice, especially if you’re keen to do some touring.

But, the kind of advances that the Amarok makes in this segment is too big to ignore. There’s only around $3,000 between them, and there is no doubt that the Amarok now leads the segment for power, refinement and on-road manners. If I was laying down my own hard-earned money, I would buy the Amarok. I’d be looking straight into a small suspension lift and some taller tyres, and would get rid of those side steps faster than you can say ‘puddemongumtree’.

46 Comments

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  • Im a farmer and have had the original amarock for quite a few years. After I bought it I took it across the simpson and found it to be quite inadequate. The six speed gearbox is to be driven like a road ranger, ie rest your arm on the centre console and just continually change gears. If you get into a tight spot and need to change back, the four cycinder goes off the boil and nine times out of ten youve lost it and have to stop and start again, consequently I blew my first clutch at 20000 klms. It is loaded with unnecessary electronics, 75 fuses I think, which presumably means 75 circuits. Every time you take off in tough going you have to break the hill assist ( the thing that stops you rolling back wards when you take off) which involves slipping the clutch till it releases. Very annoying when spot lighting and the target keeps moving around the front of the vehicle and you are inching around. So annoying I take an old rodeo. The operation of the gearbox is clunky as and reminds me of the saginaw in my old monaro. I think thats the only reason I stick up with it. I put a steel tray on it and it totally upset the balance of the whole car so had to follow with a suspension upgrade. for a work horse it needs this anyway. On the plus side it is by far the most comfortable car I have ever owned. the seat is high and the foot well deep which caters for my long legs. made for taller germans not tiny japs. I would not contemplate another 4 cyclinder manual but I think the zf auto might be the go. zf have never made any thing bad that I know of. We went camping with another couple in a newer hilux and I was surprised to find they were getting fuel economy every bit as good as we were. We unhooked our campers and went into some wild country and his was much better in bottomless sand. Mine felt like I just couldn’t keep it in the power band. Like a two stroke motor bike. As harry Firth said there is no substitute for cubic inches. All the electronics are just bs, better off with out any of it. For that reason alone I think my next one will be a highlux

  • We have the new hilux at work. I just bought a V6 Amarok and couldn’t be happier. Drove it to work and later had to cover the same road in a work ute, the ride was terrible, they are gutless and over rated.
    Buy whatever you want. If you get a hilux buy a kidney belt also.
    All modern bells and whistles 4wd’s are likely to have issues at some point.
    It is annoying that Toyota tragics can’t just keep buying them and shut up. They do when the toyota’s have injector, diff, gearbox, etc failures.

  • Ridiculous “Test”. I could have driven a corolla over those hills. And please, at least disclose the sponsorship agreement with VW .

  • It’s easy to get carried away with the new crop of 4×4, with their car like features, small but powerful turbo assisted engines, long service intervals etc etc.
    There is nothing worst than getting stranded because the Engine Control Unit failed due to heat from the environment or heat because the vehicle is overloaded beyond its real capability or from constant vibrations of corrugated roads.
    At the end of the day the Hilux and Amorok are medium duty vehicles, so if pushed to their specification limits will require more frequent servicing and maintenance.

  • In your provided stats comparison you note the price of the Amarok as $56,390. I find it very hard to believe you will be able to buy this V6 model for that price and I suggest it will be somewhere north of 10-20k dearer. Would you like to clarify

  • My relo bought a Amarok new & the serpentine belt broke AND went through the timing case & stuffed the motor, also the alternator . VW replaced the motor etc as it was still under warranty but it could happen again out of warranty. I don’t think he is the only one to have the same problem.

  • Have just ordered the new V6 Amarok Highline after having owned a 2.0 litre Highline for the past 31/2 years with 161K on the clock and no major issues. The servicing costs may be a bit higher than some other makes however the intervals are far more realistic as I travel approx. 4K’s per month. Also have towed our 2.2 tonne van to many outback destinations and the fuel economy was nearly 15% better than a mate’s Hilux towing a similar size van.

  • Surprised that Toyota didn’t win given the amount of Toyota articles that appear on this program. Also it may be okay on the east coast where Toyota dealers and wreckers are everywhere and charge an arm a leg for parts but try and get the same parts elsewhere then you’re in for a long wait and large freight costs!

  • My 2015 (MY16) auto Amarok performed well on a recent 2 month shooting trip. A couple of minor issues but I could fix them myself. Only real issue was due to my BFG KO2 AT tyres – they didnt like sticky clay (go figure – lol). Easily winched out every time. Looking to tow an off road caravan all around Australia, unhitching to have some fun in any ruff stuff – Im confident it will do it with easy.

  • The Amarok was always an appealing vehicle. I pull a caravan with a D40 Navara because it was affordable and although it does the job very well, I wonder how long these small 4 cylinder engines will last putting out so much power. So the V6 sounds like a step in the right direction. The side steps issue doesn’t matter much to me as I won’ t be doing any serious off roading and so long as it pulls and handles well without too many issues, that’s good enough for me. If I was going to do any serious off roading I’d rather be in an old 4.2 Patrol ( which is what I still use around the farm) or similar without all the electronics.

  • Toyota,toyota,toyota I am 50 years old and had Toyotas of every shape and size I have been all over this great land of ours and not once has a Toyota let me down, well not in any substantial way,there good resale value aswell.my boss drives an amerock 4 cylinder from new and had trouble with it ,I’m not saying the new one will be the same, but like the other bloke said don’t push well paid Bull#$@# down our throats, do a fairdinkem test then give us the results.

  • Why don’t 4 wheel drives ever get tested in a real offroad environment? Get them in the bush the mud and soft sand. Not a paddock with small dirt mounds. Hilux already has the reputation of handling real life offroading. Amarok doesn’t. Who cares if you can plug into 4 12v sockets. I want to know if l can tow a camper fully loaded on Fraser Island in soft sand and not have the thing blow up. Factory stats sound good but get it out there and really test it.

  • 1. Watching this shows just how off market specs most 4×4 owners are, the low side steps are so mums can get in of the ‘car’ with kids and shopping or the nanas can get in (nothing wrong with that either). Most of the 4x4s in Australia aren’t leaving the bitumen unless they encounter road works.

    2. 4×4 owners who actually use them upgrade the suspension and so on, that’s why we have an aftermarket industry plus gimmicks like side steps sell vehicles to the masses as free upgrades.

    3. I have a 4cyl Amarok (modified) and most people that get in it are very surprised how it performs and a lot state that their vehicle is subpar to it in ride, size and performance, even one or two Toyota owners LOL. Toyota sells trucks to Toyota groupies and mines etc because they cornered the market early, not because of recent advancements or quality, Toyota dropped that in about 2010 (or so I have been told by plenty of previous Toyota owners).

  • To all you guys who bag a 6month/10,000km service interval obviously have no idea. To extend service intervals means if there is something wrong with the vehicle it takes longer before the problem is found and rectified. Commodore & Captiva are a prime examples with 9month to 1year intervals. So many of them ruined a set of tyres between services its not funny, not to mention oil leaks etc. The longer it is between oil changes, the more crap builds up inside the engine, the more your engine wears. And people have enough trouble taking their cars in for a service at 6months let alone 9 or 12 months.
    As for traction control, get em in some mud and pull the ABS fuse to simulate a damaged sensor wire to see how good they are then……what, there is no LSD, good luck getting up that muddy hill without a winch.
    Modern 4wd’s bah, only ones i would touch are 200 series or Patrol Y61.

  • Well so to speak ive fitted mine out with a steel tray and is a heaps better ride it handles the rough road better fit more adventures in the back fully loaded and/or towing will still over take your shit amarok up hill with no run up and handle like a sports car…. you can nearly say you cant fault the new hilux!!! That roll test has got to be false to drive down sales and just the word of mouth that “hiluxs are best” cause mine defiantly aint rolling…

  • It is blatantly obvious that the person doing the testing has been paid handsomely by VW and should be totally ashamed of himself. Obviously accepted a brown envelope from VW

  • Geez why would you buy either….hands a ranger trumps both…the 3.2 is ample power ..certainly dont need a V6 and the hilux, well its only the regular toyota sheep that prop up the sales, just because they are no1 in sales they certainly arent number 1 in any other area…go the ranger …much more worthy

  • Paul and Anoymous,

    Please note I completely agree, 6 months is poor to say the least, I also have had Mitsubishi’s deployed, and the 12 months was a massive relief, unfortunately I can no longer get Challengers that would take the gear I need to install (patient stretchers), so I am stuck with Landcruisers to meet resource sector needs and standards.

    Camry’s now have 9 months, hopefully this is a trend for Toyota, who honestly take too long to catch up with the market.

    Matt, I also agree with your points, however in remote areas our risk assessments, which match the clients, show getting a VW fixed is a lot harder and much more expensive than a Toyota, but not impossible I agree.

    Check out servicing and parts costs with VW, less often require, great, but overall much more expensive.

  • The age old argument that you can get your Toyota serviced anywhere is bull nowadays unless your talking much older models, the new hiluxes are certainly no improvement in reliability, they could have at least tested there vehicles before releasing them to the public. At least Volkswagen is using a very well proven, we’ll teated drivetrain, I mean that v6 is in the Porche Cayenne, running 230kw… And the gearbox is so low geared in first, it’s might as well be low range… Don’t believe me, drive one in first. And lastly, why wouldn’t you buy the cheaper, better quality, more powerful and more reliable car at $3000 cheaper that’s some wheels and suspension on the Amarok, just to match the Hilux price.

  • Bullshit Car of the Year 2016 (BSCOTY 2016) goes to the Volkswagen Tiguan. Well, any VeeDub for that fact. When we were in the market for a new dual cab, had a look at the amarok and the dealer was telling us just how great the thing was, yadda yadda, and there he was swinging off the drivers door showing just how strong and well built it was (the damn drivers A pillar was bending). There was a few nice features but the whole time the sales guy was crapping on i couldn’t help but think to myself “who’d be stupid enough to buy this heap of crap…”

  • Actually it’s $3000 less for the VW. You get what you at for in the price. Want comfort buy a Range Rover. Want towing capacity look at claimed 3500kgs and do the adjustments. All 4wds are compromises in some area(s). It’s what is important to you. I drive a D4 . Why? Best ride for the money and towing and traction control. But would I use it for work? No way.

  • Just wondering if we could get a real comparison please. This one was really a farce.

    You took the Hilux over the ridges straight on and it got over the first 2 no problems. The third one it would have got over if you had kept going. The Amarok you angled over the first ridge, and got well and truly stuck on the second. Didn’t even try the third.

    Yes the Amarok has more power, but it is a V6 against a 4 cylinder. There is only a certain amount of power that can be used and after that it’s a waste of power and fuel.

    My mate has just bought one of the new Hiluxes and he says it has better ride that his Prado. A bit bumpy at times, but it is a ute without a payload. The old trick of a couple of bags of cement in the back soon fixes that problem. It really is subjective to the person driving the vehicle.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Amarok looked ok and with modifications will probably be a good vehicle, but you are already paying $3000 dollars more in the first place. How much for the mods?

  • It is interesting to read some of the comments above. I have owned several Toyotas, and for the most part, they have been reliable. People rave about Toyota’s service support etc, and bag VW. Well, I have had big fights with Toyota for each of the vehicles I bought new, for things that should never have failed. That includes gearbox and electrics. VW Australia were certainly in the news for a while a few years ago for poor customer support, and some of the dealers sound like they still have the wrong mindset when you look at the forums. We now drive an Amarok auto. We had a battery start to swell when crossing the Simpson last year. On arrival in Birdsville, I called VW assist. In about an hour there was a bloke at the door to fit a new battery. He told me he fits a lot of batteries to all makes out there, due to the heat. This was the FIRST time ANY manufacturer had honoured their warranty and paid for the replacement. That includes Toyota, NOT covering this and leaving the customer to fight it out with their dealer. As far as performance goes, we towed a trailer through some of the more interesting tracks to Cape York this year. Many people were very surprised how easily we traversed the obstacles, when they were having troubles themselves WITHOUT trailers. Don’t bag something until you try it. They both make good vehicles. I guess my purchase shows which one we believe will do the better job. So far it has proven time and again we made the correct choice.

  • Absolute nonsense. Amarok and it’s self destructing, very expensive gearbox is a yuppy city weekender. Nobody who wants a serious off reader would buy a VW. There is a reason why Hilux is number 1!

  • VW like BMW and Mercedes – nice and good cars when NEW, but after a few years and 100k kms on clock… well, that’s why Toyota is the best seller!

    Unfortunately for the DownUnder market Toyota sells only cheap-interior models, except a few overpriced like TLC Kakadu (previously known as Grande), TLC Sahara… Guys, google up Toyota Crown Majesta as an example, all Holdens super-super-special-HSV’s and etc are out of date and not reliable, eco and comfy.

    I choose Toyota, for strengths, but I must admit, modern 4×4’s are not so reliable like they used to be. So here is a drop of shame for Toyota.

    • You have Toyota blinkers on my good man. There service isn’t that good especially when selling a vehicle. I tried to buy a new prado and it took 15 minutes to even get attention at oldmack Toyota in Cleveland Brisbane. And we’re not willing to negotiate a reasonable deal till after I bought a v6 Amarok. And I have bought a prado from them before only 4 years prior. The service I received from VW Capalaba was exceptionally good for a new customer and I am recognized and welcomed each time I visit the dealership and given loan Amarok when services are due. I am extremely happy with my AMAROK in all on And offroad performance. I have not had one negative thing to say about my purchase so far. But I can assure you if there is I will be first to let people know.

  • I run a business that deals with remote areas and have dozens of vehicles deployed at anytime. Two things in favour of the Hilux (and Prados and Landcruisers), one is servicing costs, the second is the support you can get in remote areas. The other bid issue is servicing costs with VW, the savings alone with Toyota capped price servicing funds a redundancy vehicle for when we rotate vehicles for operational and maintenance periods, even taking into account the VW service intervals. Toyota is the safer and more cost effective bet when you add it all up.

  • Rod, Toyota have. Its called the Fortuner and with greater towing, clearance and power, unless you need a ute tub to get all your gear nice and dusty, why not consider a Hilux wagon.

  • No surprise who the winner was going to be considering the sponsorship arrangement 🙂
    It used to be the Nissan Patrol, I guess we all need to pay the bills….

  • How many nissan 550’s were sold given the steep asking price? Why are more maker’s going to a high output but lower engine capacity when the australian drivers are looking for more cc’s that can do the job easier. Has anyone thought of how long the motor’s will last? VW still has a black mark against it with dieselgate. One positive note for VW was when I owned a T4 transporter auto that shit it’s ZF auto one week before the 12 month’s and 20,000km warranty ran out. To their credit there was a new box on the shelf ready to go. Up until then there had not been any failures

  • Isn’t there some sort of bias in the offices of Mr 4X4 towards Amarok? Australian buyers are a conservative lot and will always gravitate to ‘proven’ vehicles. Amarok probably has a way to go before it is proven in the eyes of buyers. For someone like me who makes an occasional trip out west, I would go for the Toyota without hesitation. If I was only driving around the city the Amarok might be fine, but for out west and rougher going, the Toyota is a must

  • Why can’t somebody make a ute with the refinement of the Amarok and the off road thinking of the Hilux?
    I mean an Amorok with low range, more ground clearance, larger fuel tank, space for an extra battery, the 240V outlet etc.
    Alternatively, can’t Toyota make a Hilux which has good off-road credentials that has on road performance similar to the Amoarok?

  • Should quote the payloads at max tow.

    Hilux is 350kg less (575kg), Amarok is only 80kg less (831kg).
    Big difference between 575kg and 831kg when you throw 250-300kg of passengers and 150kg of gear (bullbar, rear bar, UVP, recovery gear) in.

  • Went to test drive an Amarok, compared nicely to the Hilux for me, talked to the dealer and started to talk price. Dealer wasn’t interested as he said too many people had orders and I could basically go away. I did, and bought the Hilux.

    • I have owned a V6 Amarok Highline for 18 months and had only one miner computer refresh for 201kw at the wheels and well over 700nm of torque . It get 1000 Kay’s to the tank from 80ltrs and it drives like a car and performs very well offroad in rugged terain and sand. I think it is still the unsung hero 4×4 that people need to drive to understand how good they really are. Oh and did I mention towing I tow a 5mtr Quintrex and I get 10.6 ltrs per hundred average on the trip from Brisbane to Mackay. Very good economy in my books.

  • The problem with Volkswagon is their after sales support. I have heard too many negative first hand experiences with VW to ever even consider purchasing one.

  • In the market for a twin cab, favour the VW but, no rear air bags… dumb move ! &..
    I would have thought that mr 4×4’s association with VW/Amarok would have been noted in this article.

    • I have owned a V6 Amarok Highline for 18 months and had only one miner computer refresh for 201kw at the wheels and well over 700nm of torque . It get 1000 Kay’s to the tank from 80ltrs and it drives like a car and performs very well offroad in rugged terain and sand. I think it is still the unsung hero 4×4 that people need to drive to understand how good they really are. Oh and did I mention towing I tow a 5mtr Quintrex and I get 10.6 ltrs per hundred average on the trip from Brisbane to Mackay. Very good economy in my books.

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