Long-term introduction: Volkswagen Amarok 2,0 BiTDI Highline 4Motion
Having spent a year with an Isuzu KB300 D-TEQ double cab, we are set to repeat the process with an automatic-transmission Volkswagen Amarok.
In our seven-vehicle shoot- out of double-cab 4x4s in May 2013, we chose the Amarok as the best all-rounder of the lot because of its mix of comfort- able on-road manners and full off-road capabilities, allied with a “donkey” first gear and automatic transmission that successfully smoothes out the 2,0-litre engine’s twin-turbo torque thrust.
While the tyres (Pirelli Scorpion) are biased to tar- road use, we look forward to re-acquainting ourselves with the abilities of the double cab Amarok by heading off to various mountain trails. Our test unit arrived in brilliant white and we again are reminded just how large the current double cabs are. Not large by American standards – in fact, a vehicle such as the Volkswagen would be small to them – but in local conditions the outsized proportions might prove challenging throughout the year.
We had a tow bar fitted, plus a Bucco canopy, but unfortunately the latter was damaged due to someone driving under a roof/carport that was not tall enough for the Amarok (it didn’t help that the canopy is higher than the cabin). This scratched and cracked the rear window’s mounting hinges. Everything still works, but there will probably be an insurance claim to repair or replace the canopy. At least the vehicle and canopy is white so respraying may not even be necessary. Engine outputs of 132 kW and 420 N.m are spot-on for stress-free towing and fuel economy should be in the region of 10,0 L/100 km.
I will fit in a similar trip across Tankwa Karoo that we did in the Isuzu to test the fuel- sipping abilities of the Amarok.
The team at VW has fitted an optional Blaupunkt audio system with subwoofer, aux- in, USB and a SD card slot. It incorporates sat-nav, too, so hopefully we won’t get lost while exploring.
After 1 month
Mileage now: 2 015 km
Fuel consumption: 9,81 L/100 km
We like: heated side mirrors that defog in mere minutes
We don’t like: size is challenging in urban driving