Volkswagen rocks the boat

Firstly, because we love and flock to Volkswagen products: every second car on the road is a Polo, Golf or Jetta. And secondly, because we’re a bakkie-buying nation – our fondness for these miniature trucks is well documented.

So it’s a Volkswagen bakkie – enough said. The Amarok will probably sell in large numbers based on these merits alone.

It is certainly a handsome looking beast: those chunky, yet muscular proportions give the impression of solidity and the imposing, sqaure-looking front-end is likely to make crawling behind drivers who hog the fast lane a thing of the past. Even though it is a bakkie intended for intensive, heavy-duty use, the designers have managed to endow the Amarok with that particular Volkswagen sense of elegance and style.

 Just as you would find with most of the other vehicles in the Volkswagen stable, the Amarok is available in two specification levels. The Trendline is the entry-level model, but it comes with all the essentials you would need: electric windows, radio with CD player, a climate control system, colour coded bumpers and door handles and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Highline model has all this – but it brings additional sophistication to the party, with exterior chrome accents, 17-inch wheels and a “higher performance sound system” that promises to pump harder.

Bakkie buyers in South Africa tend to use their vehicles not only in work applications, but for family transport too. If you’re interested in a bakkie for this dual-role, you’ll be happy to know that the Amarok is big on safety – which is assuring when you’re transporting your precious cargo. In addition to driver and passenger front passenger airbags, the Amarok offers airbags for the head and thorax too. Then there’s Off-Road Mode, which gets the Electronic Stabilisation Program, Electronic Differential Locks, Anti-Slip Regulation and Anti-Lock Braking system mechanisms ready to make mincemeat of treacherous conditions on those roads less travelled.

You can choose between a two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive Amarok. The 4X2 model has its power driven to the rear wheels, and the four-wheel drive version is denoted by Volkswagen’s 4MOTION nomenclature. Available with the Amarok are two variants of the same TDI engine: one produces 120-kilowatts and the other has an output of 90-kilowatts.  The 120-kilowatt derivative is equipped with two turbochargers, getting the catchy name BiTDI. The other model is just known as the good ol’ TDI – which is the acronym we are more used to when dealing with diesel Volkswagen products.

One can have a bit of fun when choosing the colour of their Amarok – because there are quite a few on the pallete to choose from: Candy White, Ontario Green, Sand Beige Metallic, Reflex Silver Metallic, Natural Grey Metallic, Starlight Blue Metallic, Mendoza Brown Metallic and Deep Black Pearl Effect.

If you’re going to use the Amarok as a dedicated workhorse, you can order a special Heavy Duty package from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The package allows a maximum payload of as much as 1137 kilograms. Also available is also a range of accessories like running boards and cargo covers. The Amarok is available in Double Cab guise, although the press release says a Single Cab version will follow this year.

Prices range between R316 800 for the Amarok Double Cab 2.0 TDI Trendline 4×2 90 kW and R390 000 for the Amarok Double Cab 2.0 BiTDI Highline 4Motion 120 kW.  The Amarok comes with a 3 year/100 000 km manufacturer warranty, a 5 year/90 000 km Automotion Service Plan and a 6 year anti-corrosion warranty.

I predict that motorists can expect to see quite a few Amarok bakkies on the roads. Volkswagen seems to be on a roll, especially since their Polo recently took the Wesbank/SAGMJ Car of the Year award, together with BMW’s 530d.

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