First Drive: Volkswagen Amarok Canyon

Date: Monday, June 09, 2014   |   Author: James Dallas

Having resolved some early teething problems with supply, Volkswagen’s Amarok is making steady progress in the pick-up sector and becoming a more common site on the UK’s roads.

The brand sold 2549 units in 2013, up from 1749 the previous year. From January to March it says sales were up by another 42% to 939 compared to the same period last year.

In order to keep the spotlight on its truck, VW has introduced a couple of limited editions. Last July it released the Amarok Edition and sold all 300 within four weeks and in April this year it added the Canyon in a production run of 350.

The flagship is distinguished from the rest of the Amarok line-up by features such as its optional high-shine styling bar and colour-keyed under-ride guard.

Based on the Trendline trim the Canyon carries over £8,500 worth of extra equipment, including satellite navigation with a six-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth, 19-inch Cantera alloy wheels and heated leather seats.  

It also gets front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, a protective coating for the load area, a matt black roll cover, interior floor mats and high-gloss black side styling bars and rear bumper. 

VW has eschewed its familiar conservative styling in the cabin, which is adorned with two-tone leather upholstery, including a leather-covered steering wheel and gear knob with orange stitching. Our test vehicle was copper orange with air vent surrounds matched to the exterior colour. The audio system can be controlled by steering wheel-mounted buttons but surprisingly there is no DAB radio – just AM and FM.

Our vehicle also got the none too subtle roof light bar, which lights up with the main beam, a £945 option, excluding VAT.

The Canyon comes with Volkswagen’s top of the range 2.0-litre BiTDI 180hp engine, offering up to 420 Nm of torque and a maximum towing capacity of up to 3,200 kg. 

Customers wanting the Canyon with the six-speed manual ‘box with selectable 4Motion will have to be quick off the mark – VW has made just 50 available – but we drove the consummately smooth eight-speed auto with permanent 4MOTION that is fitted to the remaining 300. Drive, handling and refinement are all as good as it gets in the sector - it’s like driving a powerful premium SUV, and you certainly won’t go unnoticed.

Verdict

The VW Amarok eight-speed auto is the most refined pick-up on the market and if you want to stand out from the crowd, this is the one for you.

 



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