VW Amarok Canyon: Sedan of PickupsFriday, September 20, 2019
By Rory Daley
WHEN the Volkswagen (VW) Amarok came out in 2010, the pickup market was experiencing a paradigm shift. No longer was the pickup a crude tool for commercial operation. The modern pickup had to be just as competent on the job site as it was off it, handling family duties and more personal endeavours with the expected refinement of a sedan or a sport utility vehicle.
The 2019 Volkswagen Amarok Canyon injects even more into the formula that won the vehicle the International Pickup Award for 2018 and the 2019 WhatCar? Pickup Award.
Externally, the VW Amarok Canyon has kicked off its work clothes for some fun, with a wider available colour palette that includes an exclusive sunset orange metallic colour, sure to grab attention. Sporty wheels, black arch extensions and a roll bar give the pickup a more serious off-roader appearance. Canyon graphics along the lower sides emphasise to the world this isn't the standard vehicle, but there's enough style that it won't look out of place wherever it's driven. For those wanting a more reserved look, indium grey as the one we tested, can be had.
The only thing better than the outside of the Amarok, is the inside. There's plenty of space for passengers and a multitude of practical storage solutions. For those with the locking bed cover, it can accommodate even more. Seats are comfortable, while the orange stitching and gloss black elements give the cabin a more car-like feel made more so by the low noise intrusion. Soft-touch elements are at the key contact points. Switchgear is large and easy to operate, while the crystal clear infotainment screen is more advanced than in many premium vehicles. Able to sense and react when fingers are close to its menus, the system pumps out great audio from whatever easily connected source, USB or Bluetooth. It even reminds the driver not to leave their connected phone in the vehicle.
Driving the Amarok can be summed up in two words: Pickup GTI. The company that defined the small performance hatchback has infused that DNA into the pickup. It's fast, with the twin-turbo, 2-litre engine generating 180bhp and 309lb/ft of torque. The power delivery is seamless through the eight-speed DSG gearbox, especially in sport mode. Blessed with a sure-footed suspension, the permanent four-wheel drive traction of VW's 4MOTION system, the combination allows the Amarok to be hustled on the roadway beyond its ride height and weight imply. Driven wisely, up to 40mpg is attainable.
Off road, there's little to worry about. These same elements, the low-end torque, smooth gearing, four-wheel drive grip, and ride height all work to make rough terrain not so rough. For the really difficult areas, a press of the off road button ups the Amarok's ability.
The 2019 Amarok Canyon adds the fun and refinement to an already capable work vehicle. Once free of its commercial obligations, it can be cleaned up for a night on the town, a long family trip, or an off-road adventure.
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