Pick-up trucks are big business and, no longer consigned to the ‘works vehicle’ ghetto following a steady shift in consumer habits, there are more of them on the road in the UK than ever.
There’s plenty of choice out there for buyers looking for a tough-looking workhorse and manufacturers are packing increasing levels of kit in their offerings in the hope to tempt buyers away from the competition.
A truck that can tow a large horse box and fit half a tonne of tools in the back no longer means compromising on comfort, with Toyota’s Hilux, Mitsubishi’s L200, Ford’s Ranger et al increasingly car-like and effectively SUVs with big back ends, available with all the bells and whistles that entails.
At close to £40k ,the Volkswagen Amarok is one of the most expensive of the current crop – but it doesn’t come with the most bells and whistles, the L200 Warrior and Ranger Wildtrack both outshining it in bling factor.
VW Amarok Aventura
Engine: 3.0-litre V6, diesel
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic driving all four wheels
0-62mph: 8 seconds
Top speed: 119mph
Fuel economy: 36.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 204g/km
It does come with Volkswagen’s legendary build quality, however, and what it lacks in panache it makes up for in robustness. Sure, you might well be one of the thousands buying a pick-up truck as an alternative to an SUV, but one look at the interior quality and you’ll be in no doubt that this car could withstand the rigours of a building site.
That’s not to say it feels like a white van. The seats are the nicest in class and the responsive, eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system will give you the same features as any current generation Golf or Passat. Dials and switches are also straight lifts from the Volkswagen Group car division, so the interior robustness doesn’t mean a cabin lacking in style.
There are plenty of storage spaces around the cabin and multiple power sockets, USB and aux-in ports for all your gadget needs.
Rear passenger space – as with most in the class – is tight, but the driver and front passenger are spoiled for leg and elbow room. The view of the road is excellent and you feel in a commanding position at the helm.
The Audi-sourced 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine is the smoothest and most refined powerplant we’ve tested in a pick-up and, beats four-cylinder rivals hands down. The top-tuned version of this engine will do nought to 62 in eight seconds flat and puts out 221bhp and 406lb/ft torque – not bad for a truck of its size.
In the trailer, there are plenty of anchor points for tying down loads and the tough surface coating should withstand quite a battering.
Despite the excellent interior and all the poke from the engine you’re unlikely to confuse the Amarok with a city car. Perhaps it’s chunky, squared-off styling, or perhaps it’s the 2,200kg kerb weight, but you are at all times conscious that the Amarok is a BIG vehicle. The relatively soft suspension adds to the sensation, but the speed-sensitive steering means it’s not actually that much of a challenge to manoeuvre at low speeds.
You’d be a braver person than me if you plan to take it to an NCP car park, however.
The steep list price means the Amarok is unlikely to be the most common pick up on British building sites. It’s probably the best one though.