For­mi­da­ble and highly ca­pa­ble Amarok V6 TDI won our hearts

LONG-TERM FLEET

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Phuti Mpyane

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.

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