Canada is miss­ing one fine ex­am­ple of a mid­size 4WD truck

4WDrive - - Contentsissue - Words by Budd Stan­ley, pho­tos cour­tesy of Volkswagen

While the main­stream me­dia cries bloody mur­der over spilt diesel, we at 4WDrive think there is a Volkswagen con­tro­versy even more dis­turb­ing – they build one of the best mid-size pick­ups go­ing and we can’t have it. The Volkswagen Amarok has been a suc­cess story for VW ever since it was launched in 2010 and can be seen in just about ev­ery coun­try but our own, and that’s a damn shame, be­cause it’s one sweet truck.

While the ru­mour of the Amarok mak­ing its way to Cana­dian shores seems to be heat­ing up once again, the of­fi­cial word from VW is that there is new in­ter­est, but any new pick­ups would likely be larger in stature and placed in the ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive full-size half-ton seg­ment cur­rently dom­i­nated by the big three (Ford, Ram and GM). And that’s an even greater shame, be­cause I re­cently had the chance to get to know the VW Amarok, and the fact VW are not bring­ing this truck to North Amer­ica to do bat­tle with the likes of the Colorado, Ta­coma and Fron­tier de­fies logic… well at least if they built them here to by­pass the Chicken Tax.

As a fan of the mid-size seg­ment, the ad­di­tion of any man­u­fac­turer into this mar­ket gets me ex­cited. While that may not hap­pen for quite some time, I did have the chance to drive the 2016 VW Amarok down in New Zealand, and I found five very good rea­sons why VW should bring this truck to Canada.

It’s a Real Truck

Don’t be fooled, this is a proper truck. I made the mis­take of not tak­ing a VW pickup se­ri­ously when the Amarok was born back in 2010, not sure if it was built on a body-on-frame or mono­coque ar­chi­tec­ture. This is a tra­di­tional body-on-frame pickup avail­able in sin­gle, ex­tended and dou­ble cap con­fig­u­ra­tions. The solid rear axle is held up with leaf springs and like ev­ery mid-size pickup, sports an in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion.

In pho­tos I no­ticed that it had a very car-like look, but trust me, this is a truck when you get up close and per­sonal. It is built to be rugged and han­dle any­thing a mid-size should be able to han­dle.

One Gem of an En­gine

While the TDI brand has taken a pretty vis­cous hit with this whole Diesel­gate sham, thank­fully the Amarok has kept its nose clean through­out these dark days back in Wolfs­berg. The Amarok only comes equipped with three dif­fer­ent flavours of the 2.0L four­cylin­der TDI, but don’t for a sec­ond con­sider the lit­tle 2.0L to be the Amarok’s Achilles Heal. It may only be rated at 132 hp, but this lit­tle beauty is pack­ing 310 lb-ft worth of torque, more than the North Amer­i­can com­pe­ti­tion, save for the diesel pow­ered Colorado.

Just be­cause it has a small en­gine doesn’t mean it can’t pull its own weight ei­ther, lit­er­ally. VW rate the Amarok to haul a pay­load of 969 kg, or tow 3,000 kg. Like­wise, that beats most of the Cana­dian

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