By Patrick James on 2017-07-07 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Aventura 3.0 V6 TDI
DRIVING Volkswagen's imposing Amarok pick-up for the second time, just a few months after its UK launch proved an even better experience than the first.
Yes it is a workhorse, if you wish to describe it that way, given the Aventura model here will set you back around £40,000 inclusive of VAT.
But it is better than ever with the new 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel replacing the old 2.0-litre unit, with little effect on economy or CO2 emissions, while delivering loads of torque.
The EU6-compliant unit is the only six-cylinder model in the segment and has three power outputs.
The range topper has 224ps and 550Nm of torque channelled through its standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, giving a top speed of 119mph and a 0 to 62mph time of 8.0 seconds.
There is also a 204ps version mated with the automatic gearbox which will also be available with a six-speed manual gearbox, as will a 165ps engine later this year.
The fuel-saving BlueMotion Technology modifications includes a stop/start system and an energy recuperation system.
Claimed economy is decent with 36.2mpg combined run and CO2 emissions of 204g/km.
Add to this the driving characteristics of a car, performance in hot-hatch territory, five seat practicality, a road presence up there with the best in that class and an upmarket, almost executive feel.
It also delivers close to the claimed 36mpg, even when high-speed motorway driving is taken into account.
With its 4MOTION all wheel drive, it goes virtually anywhere you want to take it and a tough, muddy, forest off-road route on the original drive proved little problem as as the four-wheel drive high-tech wizardry, descent control and hill hold dealt with tricky forest conditions.
All models have an electronic differential lock (EDL) by automatic application of the brake, which prevents the wheels spinning on one side. Thanks to the EDL, the power from the drive system is always delivered to the wheel with the best traction.For the really rough stuff a rear wheel diff lock is also available.
The Amarok looks good, very good as it virtually always attracted attention wherever it was parked.
It has a real lifestyle feel to it, with the only drawback a lack of boot space, unless you are prepared to secure your shopping bags, suitcases or pushchairs onto the four lashing rings on the cargo bed.
A sturdy net or secured box could provide the answer, with the rolltop providing security.
The latest version has a more angular design and features new front bumper and radiator grille design including front fog lights, new alloy wheels and a third brake light with LED technology.
The Aventura features 19-inch alloy wheels with 255/55 wide tyres and arch extensions, bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights, and chrome sill bars with integrated LED lighting to illuminate the exit area.
The interior has also been revamped with new dash panel, centrepiece MIB infotainment system with touchscreen, radio, navigation and new technology including the option of Guide & Inform, Car-Net and App-Connect systems. Bluetooth and DAB digital radio are also now standard features.
A real bonus is the park pilot aid which is a real aid when parking such a big vehicle.
The only thing lacking from a true executive feel is soft touch plastics to dash and doors, an unnecessary luxury for a vehicle of this nature, where harder wearing finish is more practical. The solid fit and finish however is pure VW.
There is plenty of room for five adults with masses of head and legroom. In addition there are cubby holes and storage bins for extra practicality and grab handles for helping smaller people climb aboard.
At 5.25m long, 2.23m wide and 1.83m high it is a big vehicle and its load area means it can still accommodate a Euro pallet sideways and its payload ranges from 1,112 to 1,154kg, with a gross vehicle weight from 3,080 to 3,290kg.
Despite its off-road and carrying capability, the VW is a remarkably refined vehicle on the road, where it is likely to spend a lot of its time.
The V6 purrs along and delivers hard acceleration when required, hitting 60mph in just eight seconds. Slow down again an the engine is barely audible on tickover.
The cab is remarkably quiet with less wind noise than a premium SUV is was driving,
Volkswagen Amarok Aventura 3.0 V6 TDI 4MOTION
Mechanical: 224ps, 2,967cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 119mph
0-62mph: 8 seconds
Combined MPG: 36.2
Insurance Group: 43
C02 emissions: 204g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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