Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 March 2018

A pick-up with pizzazz

VW Amaroc
VW Amaroc

The humble pick-up has been gentrified.

Like the hipsters invading city hotspots, some bearded boffin has decided to give it a bit of pizzazz.

VW's workhorse is now donning a new suit with more than a few trinkets to entice the city slickers.

The top end model is called the Atacama - named after a South American desert - and looks pretty suave.

But the mighty Amarok, the 3t beast at the core of this range, still runs on pure testosterone.

Sitting at over 3m in length, this flat-bed monster is no shrinking violet and is as much at home on the farm as it is in the concrete jungle.

Not content with going after the traditional commercial trade, the Amarok (which means wolf in Inuit) is also targeting the 4x4, the MPV/SUV segment, and may even take a few scalps in the luxury end too.

In short, this hulking machine is all things to all men.

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Being a double cab, there is room for five adults; it also has on-demand all-wheel drive and now comes with the option of an 8-speed automatic gearbox - a first in the pick-up segment.

The load bed is the largest of any with a gargantuan 2.5m sq - enough space to accommodate a euro pallet sideways.

It's twinned with a savagely powerful 2 litre, bi-turbo 180bhp diesel unit, generating 420Nm of torque at 1,750rpm.

In lay man's terms it means that it can tow a 2.8t and has enough low-range power to pull a block of flats down.

And when you're not driving over muddy fields and ripping buildings down, the auto box will give the same cruising experience and fuel efficiency as that of a similar-sized limo -- munching up motorway miles with the same ease.

Inside, the cabin offers all the creature comforts of a mid-range Touareg and the build quality is top notch.

Available in four trims -Amarok, Highline, Canyon and Atacama - and standard kit includes Hill Start, Hill Descent and Off Road ABS.

Top end models get 17-inch alloys, bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime lights, bluetooth, satnav, black side-bars with side-steps and black cargo-coating.

What didn't disappoint either was the fuel economy.

Considering its bulk, the Amarok auto is returning an amazing 35mpg (8.2l/100kms), while emissions are kept to 216g/km - meaning commercial road tax of €333 or private tax of €1,200 a-year.

It drives exceptionally well too, keeping body roll to a minimum and has surprisingly good turning circle.

The only chink in the armour is the launch of the eighth generation Toyota Hilux, but with the unveiling of the 3.0 litre V6 Amarok at the Ploughing Championships with 221bhp will keep VW ahead of the posse for now.

Prices for the basic Amarok start at €35,590, with the full-fat auto version with 180bhp just shy of €60,000.

Sensor guiding for trailers

The term opposite lock may be second nature to most trailer experts, but what about the novice out there?

Well, thanks to some clever gadgetry, backing a load into a tight space has just become do-able for us all.

VW unveiled Trailer Assist on the all-new Passat Estate last year and it's proven a huge hit.

Using similar technology as Parking Assist, the car uses a series of sensors to guide the trailer into place.

As with parallel parking, all you have to do is activate the software by pressing a button on the dash. A message will then flash up telling the driver to put the car into reverse and pointing the load left or right (using the door mirror switch). Release your hands from the wheel and all one has to do is accelerate and brake until both car and cargo are inch perfect.

An optional extra, this system is offered on the Volkswagen's special €162 package on selected models. Also available on Audi, Skoda and SEAT models.

You can see the system in action on YouTube by searching for Volkswagen Passat Trailer Assist.

Indo Farming