VW's big ute comes with a few bonuses for drivers

Volkswagen New Zealand has spruced up its Amarok double cab range with the Edition R model, armed with driver-friendly parking sensors and touchscreen info system.

Based on the top-spec Highline TDi, the Edition R adds a splash of flamboyance to the line-up with its combination of white body and 20-in black powder-coated Scorpio alloys.

The name Amarok R when said quickly sounds like "I'm a rocker", which is apt as the ride in the R is firmer than the other double cabs in the range because of those tyres.

Rolling through boulevards of the urban jungle, the 20-in alloys look great.


But take it to the country and they may seem a bit unnecessary when the going gets rough.

In white, the R give vibes of a Star Wars imperial stormtrooper but the black side rails and powder-coated tailgate lid wouldn't look out of place on the Death Star.

If you don't fancy the white, the Edition R also comes in grey or black.

The interior doesn't differ much from its regular counterpart, but the 6.5in colour touchscreen system is a bonus for owners.

Driven tested the 2-litre, four-cylinder twin turbo diesel with 132kW/400Nm of torque that's paired with VW's eight-speed DSG transmission.

A six-speed manual is also available.

Torque in the diesel has great delivery, with it all coming in one big lump from low revs, plus you can have your Edition R in two or four-wheel drive.

VW has a very simplistic view of four-wheel driving. The Amarok R has an "off road" mode button and that's it - no locking diff or low-range switches here.

Press it and the computers sort everything out for you - just plant boot and hang on. Just like the regular car, the R is capable of climbing every mountain and fording every stream, within reason, but it does seem to find it a bit too easy.

However, the Edition R hasn't lost any of its Amarok-ness.

When on the move, it is easy to forget the Amarok is a big fella. Steering is weighted but still heavy at low speeds, which when coupled with its girth means visits to tight carparks are never boring.

The ride might be firm, and it might cost $68,990 for the eight-speed auto, four-wheel-drive R but you do get $12,000 of kit for only $4000 on top of the list price.