Its been ten years since Volkswagen launched the Amarok. I took that bakkie on a trip to the Cederberg. Loved it n the road, not so much offroad. The problem was the typical VW manual gearbox, with the sticky second gear, and the very narrow torque band. Then they gave us the brilliant auto box and it was like chalk and cheese.
The Amarok we drove here is the final iteration of the 2.0 L bi-turbo auto before the new Amarok arrives late next year or in 2022. I must say they have ironed out any issues. Its about as foolproof as a large multi-use vehicle can be.
The cabin of the Amarok has been in a class of its own since launch, although the competition has caught up and arguably the Mercedes is more luxurious and the Ford more funky The cabin of the Amarok is seriously good – spacious, comfortable, ergonomic and apparently well put together using durable materials. I liked it originally and I still like it. There are a few odd or quirky elements, but nothing to complain about.
The seats are very comfortable, even at the back. You can go for an all day game drive and not be tired or stiff at the end of it.
This bakkie really offers SUV-like styling, equipment and finishes. Inside is more car than truck. Outside is satisfyingly more truck than car. The Amarok still looks good and up to date. The shape has not aged at all. And its still very wide. So, before you buy one, check if it will fit in your garage or parking space.
We went up to Velddrif and Aurora on a mixture of highway, regional roads, smooth gravel roads and minor (less maintained) roads and the Amarok once again confirms it is the King of Cruising. This is a really good cruising or touring vehicle.
We drove in a sandy track and on a muddy road. The Amarok never skipped a beat.
Fuel consumption was around 9L/100km. It is possible to bring this down when cruising but you will have to be very gentle with that right foot. Handling is excellent for such a large vehicle and the behaviour of the vehicle is as good as the best in class.
The bigger sister V6 Extreem 3.0 TDI 190 kW is sublime but quite a bit more expensive.
Warranty is three years and the service plan is five years or 90 000 km.
The range starts at R643 600, but the Dark Label starts at R742 600 although the bakkie we tested is R765 000 with all the extras. The fancy Extreem 3.0 TDI 190 kW has a suggested retail price of R907 200.
At around three quarters of a million rand you can also get the Mercedes Benz x250d at R790 281, Ford Wildtrak at R717 400, Toyota HiLux GR Sport at R728 800, Nisan Navarra Stealth at R683 200 and Isuzu D-max at R653 400.