Most of the reviews and more interesting stories on the Amarok are coming out of places like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. Places where VW is really working hard to sell the VW. I constantly see news articles that place the Amarok as one of the better vehicles in its categories.
One article that I found this morning talked about test driving the manual and automatic versions at a Motocross track in Australia. These were pretty much stock trucks, with street tires on a chewed up track that had deep mud and hills to be conquered.
The article concluded by indicating that both versions of the Amarok impressed the writer and that while the manual transmission had an advantage off-road because of its gearing that the automatic version was more than capable of completing the course.