VW AMAROK: set to be pick of the pick-ups

IF ever there was a domain that was dominated by the Japanese, it’s that of the trusty pick-up.

With the exception of the odd open-backed Land Rover there have been just three names synonymous with the breed: Toyota’s Hilux, Mitsubishi’s L200 and Nissan’s Navara.

Now there’s a new kid in town and when the might of the Volkswagen Audi Group muscles into a previously unexplored area, there’s usually cause for its rivals to worry...even if this German-badged rival is actually made in Argentina.

Here’s my quick five-star guide to the new Amarok.

Volkswagen Amarok Trendline BiTDI

Engine: 1,968cc, two-litre twin turbo-diesel

Power: 161bhp and 295lb.ft. of torque

Acceleration (0-62mph): 11.1 seconds

Top Speed: 112mph

Economy: 35.8mpg

Price: £21,794

Overall rating: * * * * (out of five).

Style: * * *

“The designers in Wolfsburg are clearly aiming their debut pick-up at the ‘lifestyle’ crowd as well as the more established commercial audience courted by the pick-up.

“Benefitting from the fact that few of its rivals have been subject to recent updates, the Amarok looks pumped-up and modern.

“A VW-badged pick-up is likely to find favour amongst surfers, mountainbikers and other adrenaline-chasing wearers of blonde highlights and over-sized shorts.”

Specification and Value: * * * *

“In mid-priced Trendline form there’s 17-inch alloys, dual-zone air conditioning, cruise control and electric windows and door mirrors.

“More pertinent to business users is likely to be a ultiitarian ladder chassis, hill descent control and switchable four-wheel-drive.

“A well-rounded package boasting high quality but still on a par, price-wise, with the Hilux and L200.”

Performance: * * * *

“The Amarok’s two-litre, twin-turbocharged BiTDI diesel engine enjoys the lowest CO2 emissions and highest miles-per-gallon figures in its class.

“Its on-road manners impressed most, with no signs of the transmission bogging down during tight manoeuvres as some four-wheel-drive vehicles can, the clutch and steering were light and accurate and the gearbox was no more challenging than that of the average saloon car.”