I’ve been known as a Land Rover supporter for quite a while now, in fact I started driving Land Rovers 38 years ago back in 1978 and passed my test in one. A lot of people were surprised when I decided to look at something for towing other than a green oval and I have received lots of questions (I mean lots!) about the Amarok.
So far we have done about 1100 miles in ours and I’m still learning about some of its capabilities. One thing that has really impressed me is the awesome eight speed gearbox. One thing that taking any vehicle off-road and sometimes towing on loose or slick surfaces requires is to hold a set RPM while the tyres find traction. With Auto gearboxes normally the gearbox doesn’t like this and shifts up a gear to reduce RPM taking you out of the power band. However, flick the gearbox into manual tiptronic mode and the gearbox will just simply sit in the gear selected until you change. The other thing I found out too was that on slick or icy surfaces, you can select second gear and pull away from stationary to reduce any chance of wheel spin. Do you really need a vehicle that can go off roading with the best… well lets just say you will never have any issues on that sloping grassy CL/CS site!
It would take me far too long to answer all the questions I have been asked and quite frankly it would be flipping boring… akin to reading pi to 20,000 decimal places, so I’ve put together a small collection of YouTube video’s that hope fully will answer a lot of the questions. The first four are courtesy of Miles Continental VW dealers in New Zealand and the first features well-known 4WD professional Pete Ritchie. The fifth video is the inimitable Andrew St.Pierre White of 4xOverland.com (and yes Andrew, they have sorted bluetooth connectivity out) and finally, if nothing else watch the last video… can a two litre engine and auto gearbox pull a road train?
And finally….. if there was any doubt about pulling power……
Andy Free said:
Interesting read but as I understand it, the Amarok is a dual purpose vehicle so is speed limited to commercial vehicle speeds on A roads and dual carriage ways. Not a problem when towing but a bit of a pain when used instead of a car – I.e. 95% of the time. Is this not a pain?
Simon Barlow said:
Incorrect, the Amarok is limited to the same speed as cars. It’s commercial vehicles over a certain weight that you might be thinking of.
We have used a Navara for towing for many years, we have a truckman top on ours so we use a towball bike carrier for our bikes. Will probably test drive the Amarok sometime.
Great article. Can only confirm what you’ve said about the Amarok. I’ve driven them a few times in off road situations and can confirm they have abilities beyond expectations. Their traction control and hill decent control are the best I’ve driven. Parts and availability in Australia when touring outback are the only real concerns I would have. Not a huge probelm for you though.
Great blog too.
Cool article – I’ve done a bunch of travel in Amaroks across Australia and always loved them. Have even taken one across the Simpson Desert, and twice through Cape York. A lot of people criticise them, but not a lot have actually driven them, I think.
Bill T said:
Have not gone to the OZ extreme but have towed a full size American RV off the caravan field at the Cheshire Agricultural Showground in extremely wet weather with a LR Freelander 2 auto with no wheel spin or excessive revs.
Hello. If this is your first pick-up truck excluding the technical aspects does your heart tell you it was a good choice. Is it uncomfortable to drive in any way considering the empty load bed ? have you wished for a specific option it does not have ?
Simon Barlow said:
Yes, this is our first pickup that we have owned, although I have driven others in the past.
Overall I have found the driving experience very good. I was expecting, from preconceived ideas, that the ride would be compromised. Pickups have a reputation of being a bit agricultural in their ride and bouncy at the back. I haven’t found this to be the case, in fact I would say that the ride is better than our Freelander. Towing the caravan doesn’t seem to affect the ride and there is less pitching than there is with the Freelander. (Due in part to the longer wheelbase).
With regard to drivability towing, it equals or exceeds my experiences towing with various Land Rover products including current versions of vehicles.
There are reports that a pickup without a truck top on the back causes turbulence that buffets the caravan, again I have not found this to be the case. With regard to overall usability the carrying capacity in terms of weight and volume is huge and I can see that it would be ideal for extended touring over winter months in Europe.
If there is a down side, the only one is length.
The Amarok is big and in most car parks you do stick out about half a metre in length so I now tend to look for spaces that would not cause issues for other drivers. So far I have not had any issues with height restrictions in car parks (or anywhere else) even though it is 6′ 2″ (1.83m) tall.
Overall the usability and flexibility of a pickup, for us, is second to none and I can see why they are so popular in the US.
Sue doesn’t have any problem driving it (although She has been used to driving Land Rovers daily for the last 12 years or so) and we both find the seating and driving position comfortable.
When towing, you don’t need towing mirrors (yes it is that wide!) but fitting them gives a view I haven’t experienced before.. I can actually see the sides of a vehicle that is tucked in squarely behind the caravan not just the following vehicle’s mirrors. It helps with the “I know there was a vehicle catching me up…. but where the heck is he now?” moment.
Unusually for me, so far I’ve not had any “I wish it had this….” moments.
When we were looking at a pickup as an option, I decided that a pull out bed was a requirement along with a roll up hard cover, which we have fitted both. This will allow us to put our bikes above the cover and not sacrifice access and usability. I have now got the mounting points for the bike rack from America and will be fitting these and the Thule bike racks in due course.