Volkswagen Amarok Highline review

Date: Friday, October 06, 2017   |   Author: James Dallas

The Amarok Highline sits at the top of Volkswagen’s pick-up line-up as a slightly more sober and conservatively styled counterpart to the more overtly lifestyle luxury of the Aventura, which started out as a limited edition.

Key rival: Ford Ranger Limited
On sale: January 2017

You could imagine a smart-suited company director hopping into the Highline’s cab with a pair of work boots to change into for the visit to the construction site following the board meeting, rather than a bunch of well-to-do weekenders loading up the Aventura with surfboards on the way to the coast.

This impression, however, is somewhat contradicted when you spot the roofbars, crossbars for roof rails and universal bicycle holder for roof bars (£134, £68 and £94 options respectively – all prices listed exclude VAT) on the roof of the Highline tested here.

So, much like the rest of the well-heeled range, this is a dual-purpose truck.

Driving

When you haven’t been behind the wheel of the 224hp 3.0-litre V6 Amarok for a while it’s a surprise all over again to experience just how smoothly all that power is translated into rapid acceleration – particularly when wedded to the consummately slick eight-speed automatic transmission tested here.

The Highline makes swift and stress-free progress on long motorway hikes, with standard cruise control adding to the relaxed environment. Take care to remember, however, that it is not the adaptive cruise control that VW fits to the new Crafter, for example – so if you start to get too close to the vehicle in front you’ll need to put your foot on the brake rather than wait for the engine to do it for you.

The auto ’box adds to the serenity of urban assignments too and an efficient stop/start system helps to keep pedestrians breathing freely when you stop at traffic lights or get stuck in jams. Front and rear parking sensors as well as a rear-view camera take the strain out of tricky urban manoeuvres.

Permanent all-wheel drive means the Highline can cope with pretty much anything likely to be thrown at it off-road. Venturing across fields, gravel, sand, mud or snow is a doddle for the big truck.

Interior and equipment

Inside the cabin of our test vehicle occupants are cosseted by a carpeted floor, masculine-looking black and brown leather seats, climatronic air-conditioning, three 12V sockets (there is another in the load bed), and heated driver and front passenger seats.

You get a leather multi-function steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake as standard, but our model come with the £106 option of a leather-wrapped steering wheel with gear-shift paddles for when you fancy a slightly more engaging, dynamic drive.

We also got the Lights and Vision pack (£163), comprising separate daytime running lights with automatic headlamp activation, coming home feature (which leaves the lights on for a short period when you park at night), and intermittent windscreen wiper control and rain sensor.

The £523 for the Discover Media Navigation seems a bit steep considering you already get App-Connect for smartphones, Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB radio and voice control as standard, and increasing numbers of drivers use the satnav facility on their smartphones anyway.

Load bay

Despite being the last word in pick-up luxury (at least until the Merc X-Class arrives in 2018) the Amarok holds its own as a working truck. A payload of 1,114kg for the Highline auto compares to the 1,061kg of the Ford Ranger Limited 3.2 TDCi Double-Cab Auto, although the VW’s towing limit of 3.1 tonnes falls short of the Ranger’s 3.5 tonnes, which is also matched by the Isuzu D-Max, Toyota Hilux and Nissan Navara.

Operating

The Highline’s official fuel consumption of 36.2 mpg and CO2 of 204g/km compare favourably with the Ranger’s 32.1mpg and 231g/km, but at £26,641 the Ford is £3,845 cheaper.

 

VW Amarok Highline 3.0 V6 TDI 224hp Auto

Price (ex VAT):

£30,495

Price range (ex VAT):

£26,255-£31,995

Insurance:

31

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


Verdict


You may pay top dollar for the Amarok Highline Auto but you get your money’s worth when it comes to refinement and performance.

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