WANNABE-SUV

Eight years is a long wait, but the Amarok fi­nally has the en­gine to si­lence even its harsh­est crit­ics

Car (South Africa) - - DRIVE -

THE bakkie crowd hasn’t ex­actly made it easy for Wolfs­burg’s leisure pickup, has it? When the Amarok was un­veiled eight years ago with a 2,0-litre tur­bod­iesel un­der the bon­net, the khaki set cried foul. Where was the 3,0-litre oil-burner to match the en­gine sizes of its ri­vals?

Global sales have been mid­dling; VW’S peo­ple can­didly ad­mit­ted as much when we vis­ited the com­pany’s head­quar­ters to sam­ple its new­est prod­uct. In South Africa, like­wise, dou­ble­cab ver­sions of the Hilux and Ranger have re­sound­ingly out­sold the Amarok.

And I find that per­plex­ing. Where leisure bakkies see the most use – on-road and in ur­ban set­tings – the Volk­swa­gen is the most com­fort­able ve­hi­cle of the lot, es­pe­cially when hooked up to the slick-shift­ing eight-speed torque-con­verter au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Con­cerns about the re­li­a­bil­ity of the 2,0 BITDI en­gine have proven largely un­founded, too. We’ve heard of iso­lated is­sues, but we’ve also been in­formed of Rangers, Hiluxes and KBS ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the odd hic­cup.

What­ever the rea­son might be why lo­cal buy­ers take a sho’t

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