What’s the interior and connectivity like of the Volkswagen Amarok?
If you’re going to be paying more for an Amarok vs an equivalently spec’d Ranger, you’re going to expect a better interior. And in a lot of ways, it certainly is more premium.
The design is totally different to the Ranger, and in a good-way. You have contrasting colour and materials, so it isn’t just a monotone black interior.
The soft touch materials on the dash – important for soaking up road-noise – extend the length of the dashboard, the armrests and other touchpoints.
Not to mention the seats. Now, we do have the $3000 Leather Seat package but it does mean both the driver and passenger seats are electrically adjusting, more importantly, with under-thigh adjustment. This is not present in the Ranger Wildtrak, currently the top-spec until the Platinum arrives later this year.
The seat leather is soft and supple, with Volkswagen claiming they have integrated their own seats into the production line – a claim we can believe.
The other highlights are the 12” digital instrument cluster, which is different from the Ranger. It is extremely high definition, responsive enough and shows plenty of information.
And the steering wheel is also entirely different, with a softer leather and totally VW design. Also a fun fact, the indicator (despite being the exact same physical switch as the Ranger) is on the left… how European.
It certainly is not all roses though.
The ergonomics of the interior are a let down, and the Ranger simply does it better.
For whatever reason, the cupholder have been placed underneath the centre armrest, so grabbing drinks out of them is more difficult then it needs to be.
The gear selector has also been moved to the centre, as has the trailer controls, and that means that when the gear selector is in park it can be difficult to retrieve your phone from the wireless charger.
The 12” infotainment display – which to be fair seems to be faster responding than the Ranger and works flawlessly – has had the climate controls completely placed within the screen. It is one of those unnecessary ‘minimalisms’ takes that does nothing for useability, in fact it just worsens the experience at best and is more dangerous at worst.
Build quality too is questionable. The upper glovebox (it’s a split design) does not fit properly and is raised on one side. There are panel gaps around the interior too, and the centre armrest able to be opened without pulling the locking latch.
Hopefully, these quality issues will be ironed out in the second or third year of production like many cars often are.
Complaints aside, there is no doubt that it is a nicer overall interior space to sit than a Ranger – and more importantly, feels truly European – a feeling you certainly pay for!
There is no doubt, however, that the interior is class leading and sets a new benchmark for Ute interiors.