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New VW Amarok is a Practical, Posher Pick-Up.

New Volkswagen Amarok –  A Practical, Posher Pick-Up.

The first generation of the VW Amarok arrived in 2010 and now, after a long wait, we have the second generation. This latest Amarok is the result of a commercial vehicle partnership between Volkswagen and Ford, and the Amarok shares its underpinnings with the Ford Ranger. Common components include engines, suspension, transmissions and electronics, although from the outside the only visible shared parts are the roof, the door handles and the mirror casings. The new Amarok  is undeniably and recognisably a Volkswagen, with elements such as the modern “IQ Light” LED matrix headlights, wheel sizes up to 21”, completely new exterior styling packages, and newly designed styling bars and steps.  The radiator grille, which, depending on the trim, merges individually into a horizontal division of the front section or into an X-shaped design in the top trim levels. A slightly wider wheelbase provides a higher slope angle for improved off-road capability, and there is also a more masculine accentuation in the width than in its predecessor. 

High-Grade Cabin. 

In the cabin there’s plenty of leather and upmarket metallic trim. The infotainment screens inside are from Ford, and are powered by the brand’s latest Sync 4A operating system, but it has been ‘reskinned,’ so the icons and fonts are exclusive to VW. Selectable four-wheel drive is fitted as standard across the Amarok range, and this automatically sets up the diffs and AWD system to suit the road and weather conditions. The ten-way electrically adjustable front seats are stylish, supportive and comfortable, so finding the ideal driving position is an easy exercise. There’s also a decent amount of storage space in the front, there are two cup holders on the centre console, a wireless phone charger beneath the infotainment screen, sunglasses holder in the headlining, bottle holder in each door card, a regular glovebox, and a deep-opening cavity just above the glovebox.

Go-Anywhere Ability.

The Amarok comes in five trims: a core model badged Amarok, Life, Style, Pan Americana, and the top of the range Aventura, all of which have a maximum braked-trailer towing capacity of 3500kg. The plastic trim-coated cargo area can be secured with an optional manual or electric roll cover, and buyers can also opt for a full-height enclosed hard-top for even greater practicality. All Amarok variants come with ‘4Motion’ four-wheel drive as standard, and the entry-level model comes with a 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. A ten-speed automatic gearbox is standard on the mid-range 202bhp 2.0-litre and the range-topping 237bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines. With an official fuel consumption figure of 10.2L/100km, the 80-litre fuel tank can potentially provide up to 784km of driving range between fills. The new Amarok is only available in a double-cab body style, so it comes with four door and seating for up to five occupants as standard. Measuring in at 5,330mm in length, the new Amarok is 96mm longer than its predecessor, and its wheelbase has grown by 173mm to provide rear seat occupants with impressive leg room. 

Amarok on Test.

My test vehicle was a new Amarok Aventura 3.0 TDI 4Motion in Mid Blue metallic paint, with standard features consisting of 21-inch ‘Varberg’ alloy wheels, side steps with chrome inserts, chrome exterior door mirrors and door handles, rear bumper with chrome inserts, an X-design front bumper, Harmon/Kardon premium sound system, body-coloured sports bar, LED Matrix headlights, LED taillights, Park Assist, a 12-inch touchscreen navigation system, a 12.3-inch digital cockpit with colour screen, high-quality leather seats, a fixed towbar, a differential lock, anti-theft system, wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise control, and an area-view camera. On the road, the Amarok driving experience is refined with little or no wind or road noise, even at motorway speeds. Surprisingly light controls mean the pickup is easy to manoeuvre, too. The lofty driving position offers a good view, but like the Ranger, the Amarok has a high-set bonnet that restricts your view immediately ahead. Thankfully, front parking sensors and emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection are standard on every model in the Amarok line-up, which should give reassurance that your surroundings are clear. The Amarok achieved a full five-star rating when it was put through the Euro NCAP crash test procedure, and this is thanks in part to a wide array of safety and assistance systems, including the new intelligent speed assist and lane assist pro functions. You have to step up to Style trim to get most of these features, with the adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, around-view camera and park assist all coming at this stage. One excellent feature is the speed limit readout on the digital display in front of the steering wheel. It gives you the commercial vehicle specific speed, rather than the national speed limit for cars. A handy little extra bit of assistance that could keep you below the legal maximum.

Verdict & Pricing.

The new Amarok is a practical, spacious, comparatively-comfortable and well equipped pick-up truck. It has an upmarket interior, and it drives like a family SUV, but is still capable of serving as a workhorse. The main challenger to the VW Amarok is the Ford Ranger. Given that the two models are closely related, you can’t help but compare them, and they perform very similarly, both on and off road. Yet in terms of price, the Ranger is cheaper to buy but I’m sure this won’t put buyers off the VW Amarok. Ex-delivery pricing starts at €48,930 (inc VAT), with my Aventura review vehicle priced from €72,255 (inc VAT).


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