By: Charles Molefe
The bakkie segment continues to grow at a frantic rate, day in day out manufacturers are introducing a plethora of different models that are aimed at cementing their position as top trumps. Volkswagen South Africa has offered me many unique opportunities to sample several of their AMAROK iterations, the latest offering being the 190kW version that far outperforms even its closest competitor, the 165kW Amarok Canyon V6.
Visually, the 190kW V6 has gone unedited, somehow, that manages to work very well for this brute, Volkswagen has kept it stylish, simple and user friendly and paired with its versatility they have managed to pull off the workhorse look with a tinge of urban pizzazz. The interior is often mocked by rivals, frankly, I can’t fathom why. The Amarok is not the most premium of the utility vehicles out there, however, it manages to hold a candle to its competitors.
The test mule came equipped with dual-zone climate control, heated seats and a powerful 6 speaker audio system. Volkswagen has spared no change, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Voice control are all standard features including no less than four 12-volt sockets and one USB type-B charging port.
The front passenger and driver are treated to heated seats and secondly, they provide ample support and comfort, which is an attribute that Volkswagen continues to maintain across the products lifecycle. Rear passenger comfort and space have not been neglected, the 3-seater bench will comfortably accommodate sizeable adults and double up as a storage facility which in turn complements, the ample space the rear bin has.
Very often headlines that highlight 190kW’s are reserved for hot hatches that rip away at the tar and manage to carve up apex’s like no other. However, in this instance, we are talking about a fully-fledged bakkie that can easily tow up to 3000kg’s and climb at a 45-degree gradient whilst towing a tonne of mass. The AMAROK ticks all the performance boxes and more, nonetheless, is the claimed figure just an all show and no go? Volkswagen’s bold ambition claims a sprint time to the 100 km/h mark in a blistering 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 207 km/h.
Thanks to the additional 10kW power gain for a limited period of 10 seconds the V6 generates a total of 200kW that is sent through to all four wheels via its intelligent 4MOTION drivetrain and it does impress, the jolts of g-force are second to none and the non-stop acceleration never gets old and weirdly it has managed to be one of the highlights of my 2021.
A bakkie this big should not be as agile, this is all due to how the 4MOTION system works, never at any time did I feel that I am in a leary situation, or I am about to lose control, the AMAROK manages to put its power down without any hiccups, irrespective of the terrain and that furnishes the driver with a sense of great confidence.
Take off tends to host an air of great anticipation, however, as you sit in wonder waiting for the power to come, little do you know of the dramatic experience that follows. The performance is strong, constant and readily available, irrespective of any of the 8 cogs you are in. Overtaking is one of the V6’s prowess, a tiny prod of the throttle spurs the AMAROK to gather speed in bucketloads, what is even more impressive is the sprint from 100-130km/h, this happens in the blink of an eye and will often leave other road users in its wake and awe of the brutes performance.
The AMAROK is a go-anywhere vehicle that is comfortable in any setting, whether it be the highways and byways or the concrete jungle that is often cursed with dreaded potholes which the AMAROK gracefully smoothers and irons out. My greatest challenge when testing a vehicle of such stature is the majestic aura it possesses, it’s not often where I feel that hot hatches, sedans and even the odd sports car can take a back seat, but when you look at how much car you get for your money, that AMAROK V6 190kW makes more than sense.
Not only did it impress me, but it also managed to lay down a huge impression on several optimistic road users, how Volkswagen manages to hit the nail on the head with each iteration, baffles me. Many people asked if this power is really necessary? The short answer is, yes, and not only is it necessary it is what we have been missing in this segment.