→ The mission
You see, Volkswagen was gracious enough to provide me with the keys to its top-of-the-range Amarok, for a month, which allowed me to make my way to the Roof of Africa in Lesotho and through to Mozambique for a holiday.
My valiant steed was equipped with a 132kW/420Nm bi-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine as well as 4Motion all-wheel-drive and the superb ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Included with the permanent four-wheel-drive is the Torsen differential, which provides a 40:60 power split.
→ What did I subject it to?
I say that the testing was thorough because I used the vehicle in so many different scenarios. For the first week I used it to commute to work, the following week it went through to Lesotho and tackled some gravel roads and twisty passes; the week after it cruised to the shops and back and the final week it barrelled its way through the thick sand just over the Kosi Bay border post into Mozambique.
It has therefore tackled pretty much anything that the budding Amarok owner could throw at it with me behind the wheel. From rocks to mud, to the concrete jungle and its most challenging task, the coarse beach sand of our northern neighbours.
I’m happy to report that the Amarok literally did not skip a beat. I was seriously impressed with its off-road ability and the way in which it transitions from a comfortable daily commuter into a holiday and lifestyle machine. During my time with the vehicle I managed to tow out stricken bakkies in Mozambique thanks to its three-ton towing prowess, achieve fuel figures of around 8.8-litres/100km and impress some diehard bakkie aficionados in the process.
So what do you get for the R518 700 sticker price? It comes with ESP that includes brake assist and Hill Start/Hill Descent assist, ABS including off-road ABS, driver and front passenger airbag, daytime running lights, Radio/CD with six speakers, Climatronic two-zone air conditioning system, storage drawers under front seats, cruise control and a 12-volt socket in centre console, dashboard and load box.
→ Is it worthwhile?
My test unit also had the sporty 19-inch wheels, the communication package with multi-function steering, Bluetooth, front and rear Park Distance Control and leather seats. It is pricey I know, but there are so many good virtues associated with the Amarok as a package. It rides like an SUV, does the off-road thing, looks muscular, is built like a German barge, is reasonable on fuel and most importantly, it provides you as a driver with a lot of satisfaction when pottering around and that’s what you want from a lifestyle vehicle.
→ Service and Warranty
The Amarok comes standard with three-year/100 000km manufacturer warranty and a five-year/90 000km Automotion Service Plan.