First Drive: Volkswagen Amarok

Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Price (ex VAT): £31,995
Price range (ex VAT): £26,255-£31,995
Insurance: tbc
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000mls
Service intervals: 18,000mls
Load length: 1,555mm
Load width: 1,222/1,620mm
Gross payload: 1,114kg
Engine size/power: 2,967cc/224hp
Combined fuel economy: 36.2mpg
CO2: 204g/km

Business owners – builders, say, or landscape gardeners – who have been prospered in a post-Brexit-vote economy may feel the need to give themselves a reward.

That reward could be a vehicle that is somewhat over-specified for their needs with an engine that is bigger and more powerful than they really require yet can just about be justified as a working tool.

That is the category Volkswagen’s latest Amarok four-door five-seater double-cab 4x4 pick-up falls into.

Now available in right-hand drive and the only V6 pick-up currently sold in the UK, its 3.0-litre TDI Euro6 diesel replaces the old 2.0-litre TDI.

It delivers up to 224hp – far more than the maximum 180hp generated by its predecessor. Less-powerful versions delivering 204hp or 163hp are being made available too.

The two beefiest variants come with an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard. The least-powerful of the trio is sold solely with a six-speed manual gearbox, which is also on offer as an alternative to the auto ’box in the 204hp model.

The 163hp and manual 204hp Amaroks will arrive later in 2017.

Four-wheel drive is always on tap in automatic derivatives courtesy of VW’s 4Motion system, but is selectable on the manual version. An electronic differential lock is fitted in both cases and the optional mechanical rear diff lock can deliver additional help if the terrain gets really sticky.

Gross payload capacities range from 1,112kg to 1,154kg, which should mean that VAT can be reclaimed by registered businesses.

External alterations include a revised front grille and bumper. The interior features a new, typically conservatively styled, dashboard with a touchscreen infotainment package.

VW’s Car-Net internet connectivity system, Guide & Inform and App-Connect are offered as options. Bluetooth connectivity and a DAB radio are both standard.

Reflecting VW’s usual stress on safety, the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System is included in the deal.

It instantly slams on the brakes after a smash to prevent any secondary impacts.
As with the previous Amarok, the newcomer is being marketed with entry-level Startline specifications leading to Trendline then all the way up to Highline.

In addition, it is being launched in top-of-the-range 224hp Aventura special-edition guise with just 240 earmarked for Britain.

Achieving Euro6 has required the use of AdBlue, and the 13-litre reservoir typically needs topping up every 3,250 miles.

We took to the fields and highways of rural Oxfordshire in an Aventura. Extra goodies include 19-inch alloy wheels with 255/55 tyres and bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights.

With 550Nm of torque to play with the newcomer certainly did not lack performance, pulling away strongly from rest and with a kick-down facility making it easy to overtake slower-moving traffic where it was safe to do so.

High-speed dual-carriageway cruising was a doddle and the ride was smooth. With a gross weight of almost 3.3t, the Aventura appears to steamroller bumps flat.

While we initially felt the steering was too light, the Servotronic electronically controlled rack-and-pinion system in fact tightens up nicely at speed and delivers plenty of feedback.
We were not hauling a trailer but could have pulled a braked one grossing at up to 3.1t.

Off-road, the Aventura was able to squeeze and squelch its way down surprisingly narrow, muddy, tracks without walloping the trees on either side despite its 2.2m-plus overall width. Both hill-hold assist and hill-descent assist proved especially valuable on some of the more slippery inclines.


Verdict


A premium product that undoubtedly offers impressive performance, but at a premium price. VW may want to consider providing a more generous warranty package given what is being promoted by some of its rivals.

Share



View The WhatVan Digital Edition

Downward triangle