Wednesday 9 November 2011

Road - More Off-Road

I’ve been driving around in the new Volkswagen Amarok over the past week and it generated a bit of interest when I took it to last weekend’s Land Rover ‘do’ at Kelso. Comparing it to the Land Rover Defender Double Cab is like comparing champagne to Irn-Bru – made from girders.

But don’t be fooled by the svelte looks and chrome trim, or by the glib talk of sales professionals and PR puffery. This is a pickup. In other words, it has tough springs and soft shock absorbers, so ‘ride quality’ is an acquired taste. Having said that, it is just about the best of the bunch at the present time. And if you do have a tender behind, a word to the wise, always carry at least half a tonne in the loadbed. That really does sort out the ride quality – in any pickup.

So apart from the four/five seats up front, it will carry just over a tonne in the back and has the capacity to tow up to 2.7 tonnes.

Under the bonnet is yet another version of Volkswagen’s latest 2.2 litre diesel engine with 163 bhp, and although there is a 120 bhp version, there is no talk of importing it into the UK at present. At just over 2 tonnes in weight, some might question the cubic capacity, but the engine generates a mighty impressive 400 Nm of torque.

And here’s the trick, that’s down to two turbochargers which operate sequentially. The larger turbo provides the required grunt at low speeds while the secondary smaller unit pitches in at higher speeds.

A six speed gearbox controls the 4Motion system which is surprisingly capable, easily descending a 35 degree grassy slope which would have the Bad Ass TV eedjits thinking twice about skiting down it on their bums.

Prices start from £17,995 (+VAT) for the Startline model going up to £21,000 plus for the Highline and despite what I said about ride quality, I could easily live with one of these.

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