Formidable and highly capable Amarok V6 TDI won our hearts
Ihave in the past logged many hours and kilometres behind the wheel of a variety of Volkswagen Amarok pick-ups.
For those who may not have been acquainted with the other Business Day Motoring News long-term test vehicle, meet HB 89 XJ GP a luxurious, grey hulk of Volkswagen bakkie.
I have driven both the 3.0l and 2.0l versions the latter while taking part in the Spirit of Amarok (SOA) competition twice. This is a time-trial type of race for civilians held annually in some of the most beautiful and remote parts of this country.
Anyone can sign up for the local contest which is held in April and again in August where local winners battle it out with international guests. It’ sa lifestyle activity that blends the excitement of road-tripping with the joys of camping.
Add a fleet of VW Amaroks and a competitive edge and you have a truly unique recipe where strangers meet, greet, network and challenge one another on obstacles that range from speed trials, reverse driving and sand-dune climbing.
It’s a riveting experience and participants can purchase the vehicles they competed in after the event. It’s also now elevated to a global competition, with applicants coming from as far as Denmark and Australia in search of fun and honours.
When I recently joined Business Day Motor News I reacquainted myself with the Amarok V6 TDI.
It’s an astonishing performer of an engine and apart from its gutsy nature it also has low fuel consumption, with our test vehicle averaging 9.4l/100km on the urban-freeway cycle.
Next year is the first time the 3.0l Amarok will be used in the Spirit of Amarok competition, which could change the complexion of the contest.
With 165kW and 550Nm on tap, faster times will be set and climbing sand dunes should be a walk in the park.
SOA curator and racing legend Sarel van der Merwe says use of the V6 TDI for the competition will result in the forming of even tighter corners and curves to counter higher speeds.
Either way, this is our last log in our Amarok V6 TDI diary as it goes back to VW SA this week.
The vehicle never failed to impress me and my team of colleagues over the last six months. The level of accomplishments in the quest for ease of drive underpinned by light steering responses, good low-speed tractability and a smooth eightspeed automatic gearbox are matched by very few alternatives in the segment.
As a package, it’s geared for multipurpose applications as a luxurious family vehicle with power-on-demand and a more comfortable ride quality than the average one-ton bakkie. But when you want it can be used as a strong mule for towing very large things indeed, with a 3.3ton towing capacity and electronic trailer stabilisation.
Until the arrival of the brand new 190kW/550Nm Mercedes X-Class V6, the Amarok V6 comfortably ruled the roost as SA’s most powerful pick-up. However, the Merc won’t stay on top for too long as the Amarok will arrive in a gutsier 190kW/580Nm derivative in 2020.
Then this Volkswagen will add off-road racer to an already impressive CV. We will miss it hugely. The Amarok double-cab V6 sells in three guises: the Highline 4Motion for R720,600, the Highline Plus 4Motion for R775,400 and the Extreme 4Motion for R810,100.
Gutsy power and grippy all-wheel-drive traction from the 4Motion system. Above right: A plush bakkie environment with leather seats, modern dash and user-friendly touchscreen audio system.