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Volkswagen Amarok Trendline Double-Cab 2.0 BiTDI 163PS 4MOTION

Click to view picture gallery“Volkswagen’s all-new Amarok pick-
  up has arrived, but only 900 units
  are available to UK customers this
  year and most have already been
  snapped up...”


VOLKSWAGEN ALREADY DOES RATHER WELL with 4x4 SUVs (the large Touareg and not-so-large Tiguan), but the new Amarok double-cab pick-up crosses effortlessly between the German brand's commercial and passenger car line-ups. For the record, the new Amarok will only be sold through Volkswagen's UK Van Centre dealer network.

The Amarok is priced from 16,995 to 21,575 but being technically a commercial vehicle these prices exclude VAT and on-the-road-costs. Retail prices where the bulk of the Amaroks are heading are 21,343 to 26,829 (that's including VAT and on-the-road charges).

There's more to the Amarok
[In Inuit mythology, Amarok is the name of a gigantic wolf Ed] than meets the eye in addition to its bold and muscular looks and wide stance, the Amarok measures up in a number of other ways.

“Off-road, the drivetrain
technologies proved
to be excellent and very
easy to use. Such is
the sophistication
of these technologies
that the Amarok
is the only 4x4 I’ve ever
driven where it is
possible to drive down
a very steep hill off-road
in neutral gear
as the off-road ABS
brakes take over and
allow the vehicle to just
trickle down the hill
...”
For instance: it was voted the inaugural International Pick-Up of the year by the Van of the Year jury; it's the only pick-up with a choice of permanent or selectable 4MOTION all-wheel drive; it has the largest load space in its class (2.5 square metres); can accommodate a Euro pallet sideways!); is the first pick-up to offer CO2 emissions below 200g/km; the first pick-up range to offer smaller 2.0-litre, common rail TDI turbodiesel engines with outputs of 120bhp and 160bhp but without any loss of performance; and its braked towing limit is a hefty 2,690Kg.

Other than that, the Amarok is a four-door, five-seater double-cab and there are three trim levels: Startline, which is more workhorse than leisure; the likely best-selling Trendline (ideal for lifestyle and leisure use); and the executive Highline version.

Under the Amarok's skin there's a purpose-built ladder-frame chassis for strength and durability making it easily repairable anywhere in the world. Furthermore, this is not a chassis adapted from some other SUV model it has to be strong and tough so it is purpose-built and, for added durability, tough leafsprings supported by shock absorbers are used.

The running gear has ESP (electronic stability control) incorporating anti-lock braking and off-road ABS, traction control, electronic differential lock, hill hold assist, hill descent control, trailer stability control and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. The drive mode (for two- and four-wheel drive and low ratio gears) is selected by a single push button. A six-speed manual gearbox is fitted and an automatic transmission option will shortly be available.

The 2.0-litre TDI engine is available with two power outputs. The 120bhp TDI turbodiesel unit has 250lb ft of torque from 1,750 to 2,250rpm, a 0-62mph time of 13.7 seconds, and a 100mph top speed along with emissions of 199g/km. The most popular engine, however, will be the 160bhp Bi-Turbo TDI with 295lb ft of torque from 1,500 to 2,000rpm. This gets from zero to 62mph in 11.1 seconds and has a maximum speed of 112mph. Tailpipe emissions are 209 g/km. The commercial rate road tax for both versions is 210 per year.

Inside the Amarok's cab you'll enjoy car-like refinement and design. Specification is good with power windows and air conditioning included. The interior has similar styling and indeed quality 'feel' straight from VW's premium Touareg SUV.

In the most popular Trendline guise, standard kit includes air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, fog lights, multifunction computer, three-seat rear bench seat, central locking, alarm, a full array of airbags, carpeting in the cabin, leather steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake, daytime running lights, stereo sound system, front centre armrest, 17-inch alloy road wheels, full-size spare wheel, an integrated step in the rear bumper and four load lashing rings.

“As to fuel consumption,
the 160bhp unit officially
returns 35.8mpg
in the Combined Cycle —
on test my driving
saw 35.2mpg; and that
was impressive.
Equally impressive was
the great build quality
inside and out, the strong
and fuel-frugal engine
and the clever off-road
driving technology
...”
In a brief outing, both driving on- and off-road, the Amarok proved to be as impressive to drive as it is to look at. The most popular 160bhp unit, despite being only 2.0-litres in capacity, is unique in this sector and felt strong.

It wasn't as quick through the gears as larger 2.5 or the more common 3.0-litre units in this sector, but in these fuel-frugal and CO2-taxing days its performance is more than adequate.

The six-speed 'box has commercial vehicle roots so the gearchange was on the heavy side; notchy and not as precise as I had expected. The ride was on the lively side due to the rugged rear leafsprings and my test vehicle was unladen but it wasn't uncomfortable; and the ride will be better once the vehicle is loaded or when towing.

Off-road the drivetrain technologies proved to be excellent and very easy to use. Such is the sophistication of these technologies that the Amarok is the only 4x4 I've ever driven where it is possible to drive down a very steep hill off-road in neutral gear as the off-road ABS brakes take over and allow the vehicle to just trickle down the hill.

Once the off-road and low-ratio transmission modes have been engaged, the electronic 'brain' takes over and applies the brakes when appropriate. Not a recommended way of driving, but this extreme situation was used to demonstrate just how capable and safe an off-roader the Amarok actually is.

As to fuel consumption, the 160bhp unit officially returns 35.8mpg in the Combined Cycle on test my driving saw 35.2mpg; and that was impressive. Equally impressive is the great build quality inside and out, the strong and fuel-frugal engine and the very clever off-road driving technology. Another plus is the nicely butch styling the Amarok performs as well as it looks. My only gripe was the heavy and notchy long-throw gearchange.

VW's double-cab newcomer is sure to satisfy a wide range of customer requirements for domestic, social or work use, so don't be surprised that demand is already outstripping supply just get your order in quickly! — David Miles

VW Amarok Trendline Double-Cab 2.0 BiTDI 163PS 4MOTION | 23,743
Maximum speed: 123mph | 0-62mph: 11.1 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 35.2mpg
Power: 160bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2 209g/km