Volkswagen Amarok

Aventura 3.0 V6 TDI

4MOTION

Volkswagen Amarok, side
Volkswagen Amarok, front
Volkswagen Amarok, front
Volkswagen Amarok, side
Volkswagen Amarok, rear
Volkswagen Amarok, detail
Volkswagen Amarok, rear
Volkswagen Amarok, interior

AS many auto manufacturers have been steadily down-sizing engines, it came as a bit of a surprise when the latest iteration of Volkswagen's Amarok double cab pick-up was revealed in June 2016 as its 2.0-litre 180ps turbodiesel was replaced by a meaty new 3.0-litre V6.

In the limited edition Amarok Aventura guise, it delivers 224ps and a stonking 550Nm of torque channelled through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Yet the behemoth - it weighs well over three tonnes - officially returns 36.2mpg. Impressively, in the week I spent with it, the return was almost 29mpg. A lower-powered version of the V6 TDI generating 204ps and 500Nm of torque is available.

Though the exterior has been ‘refreshed' you'll need to be an Amarok anorak to notice. It distinguishes itself from its predecessor through a slightly different front bumper and radiator grille design including front fog lights, new alloys and a third brake light with LED technology.

Priced from £32,539 on-the-road, including VAT, UK specifications remain familiar to buyers of Volkswagen's other commercial vehicles ranging from Startline, through Trendline to Highline.

Aimed mainly at commercial customers, the entry-level Startline comes with electric windows, central locking and electrically adjustable heated wing mirrors as standard, as well as height-adjustable seats, rear window heating and the ‘Composition Audio' radio with four loudspeakers.

Leap to the Aventura edition and you get a host of special features including 19-inch alloy wheels, arch extensions, bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights, and chrome sill bars with integrated LED lighting to illuminate the exit area.

If the new Amarok's external changes seem subtle, inside the cab the updates are more noticeable. A new dash panel design incorporates Volkswagen's MIB infotainment system with touchscreen, radio, navigation and new technology including all sorts of 21 Century ‘connectivity' only your teenager will understand.

There's still masses of headroom and legroom and the height and reach-adjustable front seats feature sporty contoured and comfortable side bolsters. That space and comfort extends to the rear bench which provides ample space for three adults.

Everything in the cockpit is in just the right place and the instruments are clearly laid-out and easy-to-read. It's an extremely practical, comfortable and pleasant place to be.

Under the skin, the Amarok's running gear has not been fundamentally changed from that of the previous generation.

All come with six-speed manual transmission as standard with selectable 4MOTION four-wheel drive or an eight-speed automatic with permanent 4MOTION. Selectable 4MOTION provides the choice of rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or a low-range all-wheel drive. It's designed to be simple to use via push buttons beside the gear lever, and is best for customers who need their Amarok to be able to cope with more demanding use.

Permanent 4MOTION-equipped models are designed to provide more comfort. As its name suggests, the all-wheel drive system is always engaged. Power is mostly distributed on a 40:60 split between the front and rear, but as much as 100 per cent can be transferred to the rear wheels if necessary. The permanent system has the added security of being able to instantly pass power to the wheels with greatest grip, on or off-road.

The new model is the same size as its predecessor so is big enough to carry a full-size Euro pallet sideways. Maximum payload is 1,154kg and - depending on configuration - it can also tow loads of up to 3.1 tonnes.

Standard safety equipment includes four airbags, an Electronic Stabilisation Programme and Volkswagen's award-winning Automatic Post-Collision Braking System which can reduce the chance or severity of a secondary accident in the event of a collision.

As many pick-up owners use their vehicles for towing, they will appreciate the Amarok's trailer stabilisation function, which uses the vehicle's anti-skid and ABS brake system to maintain control if whatever you're towing decides to go its own way.

Despite its dimensions, the Amarok is deceptively simple to drive. There's loads of grip, little body roll and, like most cars, goes where you point it. The 3.0-litre diesel is refined and smooth though a little rumbly under sudden acceleration. At cruising speed, it's very muted which makes the wind noise much more noticeable.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Amarok Aventura 3.0 V6 TDI 4MOTION

Price: £39,381

Mechanical: 221bhp, 2,998cc, 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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