Volkswagen Amarok vs. Nissan Navara

Double-Cab 4WD pick-ups are the most versatile vehicles in the automobile scene. They are at home on the road and would not mind being subjected to rough terrain. At the back, they have plenty of room for carrying items.  Most have spacious interiors as well. 

Nissan Navara

Meet the competitors
In Kenya, the Nissan Navara has always been the number one choice in the double-cab segment. However a new entrant from Germany, known as the Volkswagen Amarok, made Kenyan debut recently. The Amarok’s VW DNA makes it a worthy competitor to the Navara.
So does the Amarok have what it takes to challenge the Navara? Well let’s find out. The two double-cab contenders in question are the Volkswagen Amarok Highline and the Nissan Navara Techna. Both versions were comprehensively tested in Kenya. 
Pick-ups are brought for their practicality
Round 1 – Design
The Navara has been on sale for more than five years. With a last facial makeover done in 2010, it’s far from being up to date. Although it might be old, the chrome touches and seductive headlamps are still appealing and fresh. The Amarok looks more purposeful, thanks to its squared-off wheelarches and greater ground clearance. 

VW Amarok

Round 2 – Size
The Nissan Navara is based on a seven-seater SUV; the Pathfinder.  It’s also similarly sized as well. Volkswagen’s pick-up is certainly bigger in size. Its width outdoes its rival by 106mm.  

Based on the Pathfinder

Round 3 – Power
The Volkswagen 2.0litre 120kW bi-turbo powerplant is outperformed by the Navara’s powerful 3.0litre 170kW engine and 550Nm of torque. The Amarok also has a low torque figure of 400Nm. It however wins the test in fuel consumption as it needs only 7.9 litres of fuel to cover 100 kilometres. In the Navara one needs an extra litre of fuel to cover the same distance. 

Amarok’s power plant

Round 4 – Drivetrain
In the Navara, your left foot remains relaxed all the way. A seven-speed sequential automatic transmission manages the clutch. VW have yet to launch their 8-speed automatic Amarok in Kenya. Hence ‘lefty’ has a lot of work to do as there are six-gear ratios. The two pick-ups get sophisticated AWD systems that offer front and four-wheel drive, plus low-range ratios. The Amarok allows the driver to lock the centre differential, as well as that at the rear. It’s therefore more capable off-road than the Navara. Dynamic thrills won’t be high on the agenda in either model. They both ride on an ageing rear leaf-sprung suspension. The Amarok however requires less steering input compared to the Navara. 

Nissan Navara’s front look

Round 5 – Practicality
Load space is where these two machines shine. The Amarok however wins this battle with prowess. Fill the load bays of both, and you will fit more into the newcomer thanks to an extra 110mm in length and 170mm between the rear wheelarches. 

Nissan Navara’s interior

Round 6 – Interior
Open the Amarok’s doors and VW’s familiar high-quality interior finish welcomes you in. Leather covered seats, dual-zone climate control, a single CD touch screen infotainment system ensure occupants remain relaxed and entertained.  The Navara has lots of toys to play with. It comes with electric front seats, a glass sunroof and multifunction steering wheel. A six-speaker, six-CD audio with Bluetooth keeps occupants entertained. However, its numerous buttons and switches might be tricky to operate on the move. The Amarok has a simple layout with buttons conveniently placed. They are also easier to reach and use. The Navara’s front seats don’t offer lots of adjustment as those fitted to the VW. It also loses the rear leg room trophy as there is limited space at the back. It also has a smaller rear doors and a narrower seat compared to the Amarok. 

VW Amarok’s interior

Round 7 – Safety
In terms of safety, the Amarok’s four-star crash Euro-NCAP rating is good news for trades, off-roaders and families. Other safety equipment like ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) make it one of the safest pick-ups in the market. The Navara got only three starts despite it having more airbags than the large Amarok. It’s only fitted with an ABS with an off-road mode. It also lacks new clever off road technologies like Hill-Descend control.

VW Amarok’s front look

The Navara still has what it takes to be the number one choice. It has plenty of power, stylish looks and more features compared to its rival. The Amarok is indeed a worthy competitor to the Navara. It has plenty of room in the back, a simple interior and an engine that minds your pocket. Which one would you have?  Leave a comment below