First Drive: Volkswagen’s pickup is as chunky as it is comfortable
First testThe Volkswagen pickup is as tough as it is comfortable
The massive Amarok is not only all-terrain, but also has a lot to convince on the road.
A giant wolf that kills and devours anyone foolish enough to dare to approach it: this is how the natives of northern Canada and Alaska describe the amazing creature Amarok. It is said to be significantly larger than an ordinary wolf and does not hunt in packs, but always alone. Like the giant wolf Waheela, found in Alaska, the Amarok is said to have front legs that are longer than the hind legs. These two creatures appear respectively in the stories of the Inuit and the Yupik, but their existence, until now, has not been proven.
History does not say why Volkswagen chose the name of a terrifying mythical creature for its pick-up, although it is possible to draw some parallels: the vehicle is also very large, at least in Switzerland, where it exceeds on most other cars with its 5.35. meters long. And like the giant wolf, the pick-up rarely appears in packages, although it is not a fringe phenomenon, with more than 830,000 copies of the first generation of models sold worldwide. In Europe, flatbed vehicles however remain a niche product, despite the growing popularity of “lifestyle” pick-ups.
Technology from Ford
Under its shell, the new Amarok is a Ford Ranger – the car no longer comes from the production line in Hanover, but from Ford, in South Africa. “But the design is 100% Volkswagen,” emphasized spokesman Andreas Gottwald. The pickup has a stronger presence; it is not only more modern, but also bigger – a nod to the giant wolf. The interior, on the other hand, is elegant and comfortable. The large portrait-format touchscreen, which controls the infotainment system, as well as the digital speedometer are characteristic of Ford, while others are specific to Volkswagen.
It is no wonder that the new Amarok easily bury itself with the slow four-wheel drive system, good angle of attack and high ground clearance. What is surprising, on the other hand, is the comfort of driving on the road – the rusticity of a utility vehicle is not felt. Just like in a luxury sedan, you will hardly hear any engine, wind or chassis noise in the cabin. Irregularities in the road are almost damp and even fast, tight turns do not cause the pickup to shake.
However, the range of engines of the new Amarok is less rich than the passenger compartment and the behavior of the vehicle on the road. At its commercial launch in the spring, the models available will be exclusively equipped with internal combustion engines. In Switzerland, only the diesel variants will be offered: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 125 kW/170 hp or 150 kW/204 hp as well as a 3.0-liter six-cylinder with 177 kW/240 hp. All-wheel drive and a ten-speed automatic are standard; prices will be announced soon. It is not known, at the moment, if the manufacturer will stick with these variants. The Ranger platform allows for electrification: a plug-in hybrid or 100% electric propulsion would be entirely feasible. Such a solution makes the giant wolf less scary. At least to some extent.