VW’s first foray into the one ton bakkie market is the Amarok. First up was the double cab followed now by the single cab and petrol engine. The bakkie is available with either a 90kW or a 120kw version of their 2 litre turbo diesel engine. It is a big vehicle, capable of carrying in single cab format 1.25 tons, two euro pallets (1 200 x 800mm) and rated to tow a 2.8 ton trailer, with the more powerful engine option. A 2.0 TSI petrol version is also available. There are two trim levels, basic and trendline.
The Amarok is a pleasure to drive. The cabin is spacious, well laid out and everything works well, even the normally sticky VW 2nd gear is smooth. The steering wheel is height and reach adjustable. Flooring is rubber, but the noise levels are low. Unladen and with a light load the road manners and dynamics of the Amarok are car like and much better than the market leading Toyota Hilux. In spite of its size, its easy to drive with one proviso. The clutch takes immediately. This means that you will probably stall a few times before you get used to it, and tricky situations can become a bit more tricky. Passing takes a bit of planning and work with the gear lever.
Fuel consumption, space in both the cabin and the loadbay, the extra carrying capacity and the class leading cabin are all strong points. The top models have traction control and a rear diff lock. There is a rear facing light for the loadbay, which we unfortunately could not get to work.
Possible negatives include the actual size (she is wide and long), the narrow torque band and the uncertainty about the possible long term serviceability issues such a small block working very hard may cause. The Amarok will not fit into all garages and parking spaces. The only attachment points are on the floor and the loadbay does not come with a tough lining, it’s an optional extra, like the radio, ESP (stability programme) and electric interface. The clutch is a bit of an issue as it takes some getting used to.
If you plan on towing anything but the smallest Venter trailer we recommend you get the 120kW version as the 90kW engine will struggle and your fuel consumption will be high. You can in any case expect higher fuel consumption with the smaller engine in real world conditions although VW claims otherwise.
Amarok’s come with a 5 year/ 90 000km service plan and 3 year/100 000km warranty.
2.0 BiTDI (120kW) R335 000, 2.0 TDI (90kw) R313 700
Competitors are the Nissan NP300 R251 000 and Toyota Hilux R323 600. The Isuzu KB250 Fleetside 4×4 lwb is R217 000.
Drivetrain: 1 968cc, 6 speed manual producing 120kW@4 000 rpm and 400Nm@1 500 – 2 000 rpm.
Performance: 0 – 100km/h in 10.8sec, top speed 180km/h, combined fuel consumption 7.9litres/100km, fuel tank 80 litres.
As Tested: Price R338 500, includes metallic paint, radio and running step.
The petrol engine is now available. https://wheelswrite.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/vw-amarok-petrol/