It felt like some form of desecration to fill the loadspace of the new VW Amarok pick-up with a pile of filthy old junk.
Neil Lyndon looks to use pick-up for what its best at, but maybe not the Volkswagen Amarok
At the back of our dustbins, a heap of cardboard boxes had grown shamefully along with filthy lengths of broken plastic drainage pipes, cracked flower pots, rusty refrigerator shelves, cushions and assorted rubbish. Having the Amarok at home for a week seemed to present an ideal opportunity to clear up all that crap and cart it to the local dump.
But the back of the Amarok was so pristine and so perfect that it seemed like an act of vandalism to start chucking lengths of sodden cardboard on that nifty, hard, ridged floor that looks like expensive carbon fibre. A pretty little picnic basket and a kiddie’s trike would have been more fitting.
What has the pick-up come to, you might wonder, when such reservations arise? If a pick-up isn’t made for lugging around half a ton of sand, some bags of cement and a wheelbarrow, what on earth is the point of it?
The new double-cab Amarok is full of such contradictions and questions. This is one of those new generation pick-ups that is light-years away from the ratty old Toyota with paint bleached in the sun that you see soon after dawn all around the world carrying six illegal immigrants to work in the fields. It’s more like the active surburban couple’s recreation vehicle for transporting tents and surfboards. The Ravenna Blue metallic paint job on our test car was so lustrous and radiant that the Amarok could be parked with pride beside the couple’s BMW 3 Series outside their townhouse on the executive estate and all the neighbours would be gawping with envy rather than derision.
Here we have not just comfortable leather seats but bum-warmers, too. Not just a six and a half inch screen for media and satnav but also reversing cameras and distance sensors. Not just 19” alloy wheels but McPherson-type strut front suspension and 17” brake discs. Not just a 224PS V6 TDI but eight-speed automatic transmission and permanent four-wheel drive. With 0-60 mph acceleration in eight seconds and a top speed over 120 mph, this pick-up is as fast in a straight line as the original Volkswagen Golf GTi and it even hangs on to a certain degree through corners (though you’d have to be in a desperate state of mind to push it).
If you only experience a pick-up once in a blue moon, as I do, it always comes as a revelation to find how much they have improved and as a pleasure to be reminded how handy they can be. The new Amarok, however, lifted these perceptions onto a previously unexplored plateau, especially for its price. My jaw genuinely did drop at the £39391 Volkswagen would be charging for this vehicle if you didn’t qualify for the VAT rebate for business use.
Holy smokes! What happened? It seems like only yesterday that you could get a top-of-the-line pick up for £15000.
And you wouldn’t have felt the least inhibition about getting it mucky with a load of rubbish for the tip, either.
Car reviewed: Volkswagen Amarok Aventura 3.0 V6 TDI 224PS 8-speed automatic 4MOTION – Total Price On the road £39,391 0-62mph 8.0 secs Top speed 119mph limited Fuel Economy combined 36.2mpg CO2 emissions 204g/km Engine 3.0-litre TDI V6, 24 valves, common rail diesel Max Power 224PS@4500rpm Torque 550Nm@2750rpm Transmission 8-speed auto with permanent four wheel drive
An Active recreation vehicle
Spacious, refined and comfortable
Powerful V6 workhorse Diesel
The priciest of pick-ups
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