What is it?
It has been a busy 18 months for the commercial arm of Volkswagen, with its Caddy and Transporter both getting a mid-life refresh and a new Crafter due next year. The fourth vehicle to get a light going over is its Amarok pick-up.
The Volkswagen Amarok has been on our roads since 2011, having originally been designed for the South American market and built in Argentina. However, the German manufacturer saw some mileage in having a pick-up in its European line-up and duly brought it over. Since then, 14,800 Volkswagen Amaroks have been sold in the UK, with Volkswagen hoping this facelifted model will bolster its position in a congested segment.
Not only does the latest Amarok have to keep at bay the new and improved Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux, but also newer rivals – including the Fiat Fullback and the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
The new Amarok looks largely the same as the original, with its underpinnings remaining unaltered. Exterior changes have been limited to a redesigned front bumper, front grille and alloy wheels, while inside there is a new dashboard and an improved infotainment system complete with Bluetooth and DAB radio as standard.
The highlight, however, is the new 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, which replaces the outgoing 2.0-litre oil-burner. Two outputs are currently available at launch – 201bhp and 220bhp, both driven through an eight-speed automatic gearbox – while a 160bhp version will join the range in 2017, as will a six-speed manual for the lower-powered models.
Despite the larger capacity, there is no penalty to pay on the fuel economy and CO2 fronts, as Volkswagen has gone to great lengths to ensure it matches the outgoing 2.0-litre unit’s output.
As for trims, they remain very much the same, with three core levels – Startline, Trendline and Highline - while various special-edition models will be released throughout its lifecycle. Here we are testing the limited-edition Aventura Amarok with the most powerful diesel engine.