Long Term Test: Volkswagen Amarok

Date: Friday, January 31, 2014   |   Author: James Dallas

The big pick-up is proving its worth as a practical load lugger but a couple of minor irritatants have emerged with the hard top cover. James Dallas reports

In recent weeks our long-term Amarok pick-up has paid frequent visits to various council recycling centres in south east London and Essex, helping members of the team dispose of an assortment of obsolete and outmoded household goods, defunct utility and electrical items and garden waste.

None of this stuff has challenged the truck’s payload capability of 1077kg but we have pushed its load volume capacity closer to the limit.

On one occasion, having promised to move a filing cabinet for a colleague, I was embarrassed to find the Amarok’s 1555mm load length was marginally too short to accommodate its bulk. The tie down rails in the load bed took up just enough space to allow the tailgate and the hardtop load bay cover’s rear window to close over the cabinet.

The floor and walls in the load box of our Amarok have been sensibly treated with a protective coating, costing £485 excluding VAT, designed to withstand even chemical damage. This has provided a more than adequate shield against the entirely non-hazardous waste we have loaded it with so far. Four lashing rings have proven useful too in preventing heavier items from bouncing about in transit and potentially damaging the hardtop’s side and rear windows.

The chunky, heavyweight tailgate gives the impression it could support a generous haul of gold bullion but does not drop down further than the horizontal due to the obstacle of the large chrome bumper with integrated step. This can make it hard work when lifting and maneuvering bulky items into the back.

Over the last few months I have been extremely grateful for the addition of the £1945 (exc VAT) body-coloured polycarbonate hardtop load bay cover on many occasions, and so has the dog, but I do have some quibbles about it.

While I can be confident it is keeping everything safe and dry in the back, it quite quickly developed an irritating, squalling squeak, which I now endure through gritted teeth every time I venture on to a less than even road surface.

What’s more, and in common with several similar applications I’ve encountered on other pick-up trucks, the hatch does not always sit flush with the rear pillars of the Truckman cover when closed, unless it is slammed shut. This could not only let water into the load area but also creates a security problem.

Trying to open the hatch with the lock’s small and somewhat flimsy key can be equally frustrating, often requiring several removals and a good deal of wiggling before it works.

Hard top covers are an aftermarket fit but an invaluable accessory for many customers – particularly those requiring a dual use vehicle or those needing to secure valuable sports or leisure equipment in the load box. The Truckman on our Amarok is one of the best examples in terms of style – it fits seamlessly with the base vehicle – but it does not come cheap and customers have a right to expect its various components to be as robust and reliable as the truck itself.

 



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