There has always been battles for bragging rights among key segments of the automotive landscape.

But power wars have generally been the domain of sports cars with never-ending tussles for one-upmanship and a mine’s-bigger-than-yours mentality to power outputs.

As Australian’s tastes have shifted drastically in the last decade, swinging away from V8-powered muscle cars to high-riding, jack-of-all-trade dual-cab utes, the power war has moved with them.

And Volkswagen is siezing the opportunity with an updated to Australias most powerful ute, the Amarok V6, with a new flagship variant that brings - you guessed it - even more power.

To find out if it actually needed any more grunt, is better - or worse - because of it and is worth paying the premium for, we put the Amarok 580TDI Utlimate up against one of the countrys most popular dual-cab utes, and the winner of Drives 2018 Best Recreational Ute in our inaugural Commercial Vehicle of the Year awards, the recently-updated Ford Ranger Wildtrak.

How do they compare on price?

The Ranger Wildtrak was, not so long ago, the most expensive dual-cab ute you could buy, stretching the boundaries of the segment by costing the same as a genuine luxury car.

Now, however, it looks like a bargain, at $63,990 for the 2.0-litre twin-turbo model we’re testing with a standard 10-speed automatic. A 3.2-litre five-cylinder version with a six-speed manual can be had for less, at $60,990, with a six-speed automatic available as an option for an additional $2200.

Similarly, there are more affordable versions of the V6-powered Amarok but the new 580TDI Ultimate we’re testing here is, like the Wildtrak, the range-topping model and costs $71,990 (plus on-roads).

That is a lot of cash to splash on what is essentially a well-groomed workhorse, but both the Ranger Wildtrak and Amarok Ultimate come fairly well equipped, including leather interior trim with electrically-adjustable and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and colour touchscreens with sat nav, Bluetooth, a reverse camera and smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android devices.

The Wildtrak wins a few more points with a standard roller shutter on its tray and a handy 230V power outlet in the rear of the centre console, but it only rides on 18-inch alloys compared to the Volksy’s 20’s.

Source: Drive

January 14, 2019