WHEN WE tested VW’s excellent new pick-up, the Amarok, we had one particular criticism – that there wasn’t an automatic gearbox option. It seems that VW felt the same as news arrived as we closed for press of a new eight-speed automatic version. The new Highline model with BlueMotion Technology and permanent 4MOTION is now available at £25,105 (plus VAT), putting it firmly head-to-head with Ford’s automatic version of the Ranger. Besides the new auto gearbox, the Amarok gets a welcome power boost to its 2.0-litre BiTDI engine, up from 160bhp to 178bhp. More significantly, this all means the maximum towing ability is increased from 2800kg to 3000kg for the manual and 3200kg for the automatic; once again, matching what Ford has on offer with the Ranger. The new engine tweaks see CO2 figures dropping 10 g/km, to 199 g/km. Our final criticism of the Amarok was availability… production for the UK has now started at the Hanover plant, and VW believes this will much improve supply. Demand will also increase, that’s for sure!