Volkswagen Amarok driven

  • All-new double-cab pick-up
  • Prices from £21,343
  • Strong engine and smooth looks
What is it?
Volkswagen's take on the double-cab pick-up.

By definition, any double-cab pick-up is going to be a bit rough and ready – they are commercial vehicles, after all. Even so, we think Volkswagen's new Amarok is the slickest, smoothest example yet. That starts with the way it looks; an appealing blend of utilitarian toughness and modern VW sophistication.

What's it like to drive?
Every Amarok has a ladder-frame chassis and four-wheel-drive to give it genuine go-anywhere ability, but it's surprisingly refined and comfortable on the road.

The ride – despite leaf spring rear suspension designed to cope with big loads – is generally comfortable. The steering is no more demanding than that of a Golf and, although the gearshift requires a firm hand, you don't need to be a burly builder to swap ratios.

We sampled the higher-powered of the two 2.0-litre diesel engines available; a twin-turbo 161bhp unit that's quiet and remarkably flexible. The entry-level version has a single-turbo 120bhp version.

What's it like inside?
The classy switchgear and styling are – for the most part - on a par with VW's passenger cars. The build quality is just as solid, too, but the hard-as-nails plastics reflect the Amarok's true role as a workhorse. Cabin space – for four – is good and the Amarok's loadbay is suitably large.

Startline trim kicks off the range, but it's far from basic; alloy wheels, four electric windows, electric door mirrors, six airbags and stability control are all included. Prices start at £21,343, but business users can claim back the VAT on all versions with a payload over 1000kg, which means all but the priciest model.

There are certainly more sensible ways to spend this kind of money on a 4x4, but for us the Amarok is the pick of the pick-ups.

The VW Amarok in figures
Price From £21,343
MPG 35.8-37.2
CO2g/km 199-209

What Car? says
The smoothest, smartest pick-up around

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