Pitching up just in time for a jaunt to Glastonbury, our new VW pick-up is already displaying its soft and sensitive side. James Dallas reports
Our new Volkswagen Amarok arrived just in time to carry a cabin full of, some may say, old enough to know better revellers to the Glastonbury festival.
With the kids all safely shipped off to assorted grandparents and aunts, five excited adults clambered on board having filled up the hardtop-covered load space with all the paraphernalia required to survive a long weekend away from home comforts.
First impressions – and see next month’s edition for a full introduction report – are that our big, butch and bronzed (the official description is Toffee Brown metallic) new pick-up is smoother and softer on the inside than its rugged exterior might suggest. Certainly its Anthracite ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery brought no complaints.
The Highline trim levels makes the Amarok a sophisticated piece of kit that would slot seamlessly into the ‘lifestyle’ segment of the pick-up market – appealing as both a working and leisure vehicle for those with an interest in outdoor pursuits. These days it may appeal more to operators who want their business vehicle to double up as the family car.
It is likely to compete for customers with top of the range pick-ups such as the Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian and Walkinshaw, the Nissan Navara Outlaw and particularly the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
The drive from south east London to the heart of rural Somerset provided a good introduction to the Amarok with its combination of city streets, dual carriageways and motorways followed by winding country lanes.
The eight-speed automatic transmission was particularly impressive, contributing to a comfortable and relaxing drive in all conditions and feeling well matched to the 180hp drivetrain, which certainly does not want for power.
We were content to leave the transmission in drive mode for the most part, where it functions particularly smoothly (much appreciated on the long drive home), but it can also be switched simply into sport or manual modes for a more responsive or engaging driving experience.