Volkswagen Amarok long-term test

Are pick-ups the new SUVs? Our senior photographer is running our favourite truck, the Volkswagen Amarok, to find out if it could be a left-field alternative for new car buyers...

VW Amarok
  • The car: Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI 258 Highline auto
  • Run by: Will Williams, senior photographer
  • Why it’s here: To find out if living with a pick-up can truly be as easy as a mainstream rival
  • Needs to: Be comfortable, smooth-riding and economical on a colossal commute, with plenty of space for photography equipment

Price £42,857 Price as tested £47,040 Miles 7500 Official economy 33.6mpg Test economy 26.3mpg Options fitted Palladium Grey/Titanium Black Vienna leather (no cost); Ravenna Blue metallic paint (£660); Discover Media navigation system (£684); Lights & Vision Pack (£222); Differential lock (£306); Front fog lights (£90) Retailer fit accessories Truckman Grand hardtop (£1910); Plastic load liner (£311)

6 March 2019 – Load bay luxury

As a What Car? photographer, I always carry around loads of gear in the boot of whatever I’m driving. So if anyone is going to be able to judge how practical, or not, the VW Amarok is, it’s me.

Well, it’s certainly not lacking in size. However, you can have too much of a good thing and, after my first few journeys in it, I did think it was perhaps a little too big.

You see, there’s so much space in the load bay that, if you turn around a corner enthusiastically, your luggage is sent flying around like a roller-disco in the back of a van. However, I’ve come up with an ingenious remedy: I’ve put a euro pallet in the bed.

Amarok loadbay

Yes, you’ve read that right. Shoving one of those towards the back of the cab leaves enough space for me to stack my bags securely up against the tailgate, preventing them becoming airborne on the course of a journey. Problem solved.

During our recent pick-up megatest, we got the trusty What Car? tape measure out and confirmed that the Amarok has the widest load bay of any pickup on sale. What's more, the tailgate can support 100kg of weight when you fold it down: just about enough that I can to sit on it and eat my lunch.

The hardtop is a brilliant addition that keeps everything dry and adds some much-needed security. There's a bright LED light to help unloading in the dark, too. I've missed being able to access the front of the bay from the side, though, instead having to clamber in to drag things out. But that’s to be expected.

Amarok boot key

It's also a bit annoying that the tailgate has to be unlocked manually, and separately from the rest of the car. In this modern world of keyless entry, surely there could be a way to enable it to open via the remote central locking?


Anyway, for a truly professional opinion of the Amarok’s load bay, I enlisted the help of neighbours at the industrial estate that What Car? HQ calls home. I’m not sure exactly what their business is, but they spend a lot of time using forklift trucks to load and unload pallets from lorries. After giving the Amarok’s load bay a look over, they loaded a pallet on and seemed very impressed. So, whether you're thinking of getting a VW Amarok for business or pleasure, it's official that it delivers on loadspace.

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