Volkswagen Amarok howls for release

Volkswagen Amarok howls for release

Volkswagen’s latest offering is definitely a wolf in wolf’s clothing. STUART MOIR explores the robust double cab scheduled to debut in South Africa later this year.

Volkswagen’s debut one-ton pick-up series embodies everything demanded by prospective customers in this exacting market segment. Incorporating advanced safety features and top-value fuel efficiency without compromising on driver comfort or current ergonomically-related requirements, the Amarok has positioned Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at a significant advantage in a competitive market boasting annual sales volumes of two million vehicles worldwide.

The Amarok is Volkswagen’s fourth offering in the light-to-medium commercial vehicle sector. Following the Caddy, T5 and Crafter, it is nevertheless the first one-ton class pick-up to be developed in Germany.

Set to launch worldwide as a double-cab model with promise of a single-cab version during the first half of 2011, at 5.25 metres in length the Amarok gives the impression of having just driven off a high-end fashion show catwalk. But it is definitely more than a looker.

The new Volkswagen one-ton pickup was the official support vehicle of choice for the 2010 Dakar Rally, attesting to its capacity to perform well under tough conditions. As the world’s most gruelling cross country marathon at altitudes of up to 4 700 m above sea level, the route taken by the rally offered the Amarok an ideal opportunity in which to prove itself. Although some of the vehicles in the fleet supplied by Volkswagen underwent additional off-road conversions specifically for the rally, in general the vehicle’s suitability as support vehicle of choice was judged on the way it handled each demanding stage of a punishing endurance test.

“The Dakar Rally demanded the highest levels of technical perfection, reliability and endurance, both from its Race Touareg (also a Volkswagen) and from its support vehicles,” explained Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport director. “The Amarok was exactly the right vehicle for the job.”

Most notably, the switchable all-wheel drive variant on the Amarok enables the driver to conquer any terrain. When engaged at the push of a button, this handy feature produces rigid power transfer between the axles, making it easy to take on and triumph over the most challenging off-road conditions – including 100% gradient – with full cargo loading.

Amarok means “wolf” in a language spoken by the Inuit, indigenous Eskimo people inhabiting the icy wastelands of Northern Canada and Greenland, where wolves thrive under extremely hostile conditions. It is hardly surprising then, that Volkswagen’s new pick-up will take on any scuffle.

Production will take place at Volkswagen’s Pacheco plant in Bueno Aires, Argentina. “South America is one of the Amarok’s potentially most important markets,” says Stephan Schaller, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. “Participating in the 2010 Dakar Rally was an absolute must for us.”

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