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...

Volkswagen Amarok long-term
  • 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 9830 Official economy 33.6mpg Test economy 26.8mpg 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 foglights (£90) Retailer-fit accessories Truckman Grand hardtop (£1910), plastic load liner (£311)

24 April 2019 – Cornish endurance

There comes a point in every one of my long-term test cars' lives when they must face the same enormously daunting task – a task that only the bravest of cars can come through unscathed. Yes, they must travel to deepest, darkest south-west England, to a place called 'Cornwall'.

This annual trip enables me to thoroughly test cars in challenging terrain, on tight and twisty roads, usually in awful weather.

I’m pleased to report that the VW Amarok was massively impressive in pretty much every respect. On the long drive down, it was surprisingly relaxing; I am still madly in love with the engine, which is disarmingly quick. It has so much torque, there’s always plenty in reserve, and it was great for powering through the motorway miles.

And in this brave new automotive era where the definition of 'SUV' is being stretched to the limit, the Amarok is a properly big car with a commanding driving position that offers a great view out the front.

Plus, it managed to swallow a substantial amount of holiday luggage. There were two bikes in the back, which were strapped widthways across the back of the hardtop with the front wheels taken off, along with various suitcases.

Loaded to the brim, the ride was greatly improved, too. The extra weight really takes the edge off things, meaning there’s less shuddering and bangs going over road imperfections and it generally feels better tied down.

But I really should’ve gone for adjustable lumbar support for the driver's seat; for £156, you’d be daft not to have it. The seats themselves aren’t that uncomfortable, but there isn’t much lower back support as standard. I resorted to getting one of those lumbar support cushions made for office chairs.

VW Amarok

The lanes down in Cornwall are really tight and small, but the VW Amarok coped fine. I soon realised that this is actually its natural habitat, trundling along through farmland. The sheer number of pick-ups on the road would have you thinking Cornwall is a mini-America, in automotive taste at least; it felt like everyone had one. And rightly so.

I’m still smitten – even if it does get through quite a lot of AdBlue (three top-ups and counting) – and with this engine, I’m beginning to think I could seriously see myself considering one over an SUV.

Next: more from our long-term Volkswagen Amarok >

See more long-term test reports >

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