An im­pres­sive per­for­mance of a great all-rounder

LONG-TERM FLEET

Business Day - Motor News - - COMMERCIAL NEWS - Lerato Matebese

Things seem to be shak­ing up in the bakkie seg­ment, what with the Mercedes X-Class ar­riv­ing and the com­pany prepar­ing to in­tro­duce its flag­ship V6 tur­bod­iesel vari­ant by the end of 2018 and the Ford Ranger Roush al­ready avail­able in the mar­ket, it seems as though there is a lot for our beloved Volk­swa­gen V6 Amarok to be wary of. Or is there?

Hop­ping back into our longterm V6 Amarok has once again ce­mented why I still deem it as the leader of the pack in the seg­ment, par­tic­u­larly at the price.

I have raved no end about how the model man­ages to strad­dle the fine line be­tween be­ing a com­mer­cial bakkie on one hand and how it man­ages to ride as well as some lux­ury SUVs on the other. Even with the ex­cel­lent Mit­subishi Tri­ton Ath­lete vari­ant we drove a few weeks ago con­tin­u­ing to im­press with its ride qual­ity, I reckon the Amarok — even eight years into its life cy­cle, mak­ing it one of the oldest of­fer­ings in its seg­ment — can still com­fort­ably hold its own.

While many of the more es­tab­lished bakkies still suf­fer from the dreaded ride shimmy that is ex­hib­ited while driv­ing over un­du­lated ur­ban tar­mac, the Amarok’s steady yet sup­ple ride qual­ity comes as a no­table feather in its cap. The V6 en­gine re­mains a pow­er­house among its less en­dowed com­peti­tors, although our en­gine feels as though it still needs to be prop­erly run in as our odome­ter mileage sug­gests. This is fur­ther em­pha­sised by the 11.8l/100km av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion, which I reckon can eas­ily dip into the sub 10l/100km once the en­gine is prop­erly set­tled.

I have spent the past week­end putting the Amarok’s leisure cre­den­tials to the test by kart­ing kids around the en­tire week­end, with my one-year-old son par­tic­u­larly en­joy­ing the van­tage point views from his child seat, mean­ing watch­ing the scenery go by has man­aged to calm him down in re­cent times as he has up to now re­mained some­what of a rest­less trav­eller.

My seven-year-old daugh­ter, mean­while, has mas­tered the art of hop­ping into the cabin un­aided, a bug­bear that we have winged about in the past since our ve­hi­cle is with­out side steps, which makes ingress into the cabin a bit of a chal­lenge for adults, let alone small chil­dren. I still main­tain that if you are con­sid­er­ing buy­ing this model, tick the op­tion of side steps on the op­tions list and thank me later.

The re­cently fit­ted shiny ton­neau cover has added fur­ther peace of mind to stow items in the load bin that will be free from pry­ing eyes, par­tic­u­larly while sta­tion­ary at a traf­fic light.

Also, the smooth and silky en­gine re­mains the heart of this model, the sin­gle fac­tor why I reckon it is cur­rently the most re­fined and gut­si­est bakkie you can buy on the new mar­ket. The eight-speed gear­box, too, is the sleek­est I have yet ex­pe­ri­enced in a bakkie and I reckon it will be key to the model’s re­duc­tion in fuel con­sump­tion in the forth­com­ing weeks as the en­gine slowly loosens up with more mileage un­der its tyres.

Cur­rently, the ve­hi­cle con­tin­ues to de­liver hand­somely on both its com­mer­cial and leisure fronts and it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how it fares against its other Ger­man com­pa­triot when it launches later in the year.

As we have re­ported pre­vi­ously, the Amarok V6 will soon get a shot in the arm in the form of the up­dated vari­ant of the model that we drove in Oman a few months ago that will have about 190kW (200kW in over­boost mode).

Things are truly shak­ing up in this seg­ment, but I have a dis­tinct feel­ing that the Amarok V6 will con­tinue to hold its own, par­tic­u­larly at its pric­ing point.

THE AMAROK — EVEN EIGHT YEARS INTO ITS LIFE CY­CLE, MAK­ING IT ONE OF THE OLDEST OF­FER­INGS IN ITS SEG­MENT —CAN STILL HOLD ITS OWN

Above: The new se­cure ton­neau cover keeps cargo in the load bin away from pry­ing eyes. The in­te­rior, above right, still pro­vides that great bal­ance be­tween bakkie and car com­fort. The badge that sig­nals the power within, left.

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