By Khulekani Dumisa
There is no denying that the leisure bakkie segment is on the rise. Just a little more than 8 years ago, the notion of a VW bakkie would have seem so inconceivable yet today, it is hard to imagine the segment without the Volkswagen Amarok. The single cab did not do well but the double cab has been an enduring success, and nothing says that more than the confidence of the VW brand to make the V6 model. We had it on test recently and we were really impressed by how much well it delivers its power but still manages to cope well with being an everyday car.
The Amarok is large and imposing bakkie with a unique boxy shape. The large frame and wheelbase benefits the occupants as there is ample legroom in the cabin of the Amarok. The Highline model we had on test stands out with chrome mirror housings, chrome strips on radiator grille and around the fog lights, chrome rear bumper bar and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights are an option I would tick as they make the bakkie look extra harming.
True to VW form, the interior of the Amarok V6 is solid, well-built and beautifully designed. The interior is laid out well and everything is within reach of the driver. The infotainment touch screen works well although looks a bit small on the large dash but that is balanced out by the cluster instrument with a 3D trip computer. The sound system is decent and the cabin is well insulated as there is minimal noise intrusion from outside. The diesel engine doesn’t rattle thus the sound produced just reminds you of the workhorse you’re in. The overall cabin space is comfortable and user-friendly for all occupants. There are even two shallow cup holders at the back. This may be a basic feature but the height and reach adjustable steering-wheel is a big plus in driver comfort.
The Amarok V6 is powered by a meaty 3.0 litre V6 TDI engine that produces 165kW of power and 550 Nm of torque. The six-cylinder Amarok bakkie was the quickest bakkie in South Africa until recently. This throne may be reclaimed by the next generation Amarok V6 (which will not take long to be available in South Africa). The Amarok is quick at off the mark doing the 0 to 100km/h sprint in just in 8.0 seconds, and the ride is smooth. The 8-speed automatic transmission labours dutifully with no complain, shifting up and down like clockwork. Notwithstanding the immense power (an over-boost function will actually increases power to 180kW for 10 seconds when your foot is flat down on the accelerator), and permanent all-wheel drive, the Amarok V6 is not fuel thirsty. VW claims a combined fuel consumption average of 9,0l/100km and I found myself usually around 9,6l/100km as my route included driving in the city and on open highways. This is somewhere in between the claimed urban fuel consumption of 10,6l/100km and extra-urban fuel consumption of 8,1l/100km. I also had the opportunity to drive the Amarok V6 on an off-road course and apart from doing well, the off-road’ button made things easier. I did not have to stress about ensuring that low-range was engaged properly, something that might seem reassuring to a novice off-roader. Overall, the Amarok V6 is a quality offering that execute on and off-road driving well.
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