By Malusi Msomi
With the lifestyle bakkie market growing in strides, the new Volkswagen Amarok is also vying for a slice of the pie. Sitting just below the top of the range Aventura and PanAmericana, the Amarok Style is out to capture those who love to work and play.
Arriving in a rather striking Bright Blue Metallic, the VW Amarok Style is a good-looking bakkie. In terms of styling, it comes standard with 18-inch Amadaro wheels, LED headlights/daytime running lights, and side steps. Unlike the PanAmericana that sits above the Style, it gets a chrome sports bar instead of the matte black bar. The sports bar is also styled quite uniquely compared to the rest of the bakkies it competes with. Overall, the Amarok Style is quite a good-looking bakkie.
For those who don’t know, the VW Amarok and Ford Ranger are built in the same plant, so when it comes to some interior bits, they’re basically identical. Whether VW took the design from Ford and vice versa is a story for another day. We can point out, however, that VW has taken a different approach to its cabin. It feels more upmarket, and we must admit it’s a bit less cluttered. Niceties in the cabin include comfy Savona leather seats (electrically adjustable/heated for both driver and passenger), a digital instrument cluster, a touch screen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, and dual-zone climate control. Both the digital instrument cluster and infotainment are high resolution and quite intuitive.
When it comes to practicality, it seats 5 passengers quite comfortably and has plenty of storage for water bottles and smaller items. For convenience, it comes with two USB ports (1 x type A/1 x type C), two twelve-volt sockets, an AC 220V socket, and inductive charging. Unlike other manufacturers who basically build the exact same cars and are only differentiated by just badges, the Amarok has its own style when it comes to interior design (see what I did there). The only thing we’d say we don’t like in the VW Amarok Style is the sound system, which is average at best. Quite possibly the neatest feature in the Amarok has to be the door handles inside. One fluid motion to open the door will have you questioning why all cars don’t come with this feature.
Engine and Power
Powering the Amarok Style is a 2.0 BiTDI engine that produces 154 kW and 500 Nm. It sends its power through a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic. The 2.0 BiTDI propelling the Amarok is a peach of an engine. Power feels good throughout the rev range, and the 10-speed automatic takes care of the shifts, whether cruising or overtaking. It also comes with various drive modes, which include: Eco, Normal, Mud/ruts, Sand, Slippery and Load/trailer. Heading out on the beaten track, the Amarok’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system takes care of business. With a shift-on-the-fly switch by the gear lever, you can switch between 2H, 4H, and 4L. For off-roading use, it also comes with a rear diff-lock and hill descent.
When it comes to ride comfort, the Amarok’s suspension does a pretty good job in ironing out imperfections on the road. In terms of fuel consumption, VW claims 7.5 l/100km, and we were able to beat it on the open road, achieving a best of 7.2 l/100km. Mixed driving, on the other hand, will see you hovering around 8.0 l/100km, which is quite a good figure for such a big bakkie. For the buyer who wants more oomph, VW offers a buttery smooth 3.0L V6 engine for the Amarok Style.
In terms of safety as standard, the Amarok Style gets a rearview camera, front, side, curtain airbags, and a knee airbag for the driver, Park distance control – front and rear sensors, a lockable tailgate via the remote central locking system, and Front Assist: Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Emergency Braking.
Like we said at the beginning, the lifestyle bakkie market is growing in strides, and we feel VW hit the nail on the head with this Amarok DC Style 2.0 BiTDI 4MOTION. Previously only offering a few options and some limited-edition models, the new Amarok model lineup gives buyers more to choose from, which the Amarok range has been lacking. At R922,600, it ticks many boxes without ticking boxes, as you get everything we’ve mentioned as standard with only the colors being a no-cost option. On our side, hats off to VW for a solid product offering.
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