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Amarok fit for work and play 

THERE are times of the year when the test car that arrives isn’t particularly suited to that season.

You don’t get the chance to enjoy a cabriolet with its top down when it arrives during winter in Scotland for instance.

But sometimes the timing of a model for testing is perfect for the occasion.

That was the case earlier this month when I took delivery of a Volkswagen Amarok.

It’s not too often that I get the chance to sample a pick-up but this wasn’t a run-of-the-mill one you would just see on building sites.

The Amarok is listed as a commercial vehicle but it is very much a model that is up for a bit of work and play.

I discovered it has lots of load lugging capabilities and doesn’t fall short when it comes to luxury either.

My shining fork-truck, in a standout Ravenna Blue Metallic colour – was a top-of-the-range Amarok Aventura 3.0 V6 TDI 224ps 4 Motion.

I was looking for a load lugger at the time as I had taken on the task of delivering a huge amount of heavy tools in boxes plus golf clubs and bag to my wife’s cousin Vivienne.

It wasn’t just a journey along the motorway though – the destination was Breda in The Netherlands where she and her partner Marc live.

Loading up was a fairly easy job and my cargo came nowhere near to filling the 2.5 square metres area – it’s so wide it can house a Euro pallet sideways I’m informed.

The tailgate flips down easily and the four lashing rings allowed me to make sure the goods were all securely packed.

Up front, there was premier car luxury with stacks of elbow and headroom.

Being a double cab, there was room in the back for three passengers so we had that area well stacked as well with case and several boxes.

Standard features in this quality interior included Vienna leather upholstery, climatronic air con, heated front seats, leather gearshift cover and leather multi-function steering wheel.

Our North Shields ferry port address was tapped into the simple to use Media satnav with its 6.33-inch touchscreen, and Jackie and I set off for the drive of just over two and a half hours.

It proved to be a no-fuss journey as we travelled south, taking in the scenery with excellent all-round vision thanks to the high seating position.

The Amarok comes with lots of safety and security equipment even on lead-in models and this includes post-collision braking system that reduces the chance or severity of a secondary accident after a collision.

The model has permanent four-wheel drive and has plenty of off-road ability but my drive was solely on the tarmac.

The V6 engine has power aplenty and that was evident right from the start.

This big pick-can can sprint from standstill to 62mph in eight seconds and with a top speed of 119mph, was ever so smooth at maximum motorway speeds.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox worked perfectly with it and it also allowed manual shifts if required.

Driving along some minor country roads, the Amarok was perfectly capable of handling the bends with excellent grip when cor-nering.

It’s a big vehicle but parked up easily on the ferry.

There’s also front and rear distance control and rear view camera to help mano-euvre the pick-up into tighter spaces.

After a restful overnight sleep we arrived at the Ijmuiden port and set our destination in the satnav – a journey of around one and a half hours.

This part of the drive was equally as smooth on the mainly flat roads with little wind, road or engine noise coming through to the cabin.

We hadn’t said what vehicle we were arriving in and Vivienne and Marc were hugely impressed as we drove into their driveway.

They loved the muscular looks of the Amarok with its exterior highlights including 19-inch Cantera alloys, stainless steel side bars, bi-xenon headlamps, LED daytime running lights, front fog lamps with cornering lights, and LED licence plate lighting.

The visit was all too short, as we set off the following day for our return journey.

Once again there were no hiccups coming back although the ferry was not as smooth a ride as the Amarok on the return trip to Newcastle.

The V6 engine was always up to the task when I wanted instant acceleration and I thought the average fuel consumption of just under 30mpg was pretty impressive.

It is capable of 36.2mpg according to VW so you could probably get a bit closer with more economical driving, thanks to the fuel-saving BlueMotion modifications that include stop/start and energy recuperation systems.

Prices start at £26,517 and there is a four-model line-up – Startline, Trendline, Highline and this range-topping special edition Aventura that costs £39,381.

With its massive loading area, the Amarok could easily be used as a leisure vehicle with lots of room in the cabin for a family to travel in comfort with bikes and whatever else in the back.