Volkswagen have launched the Tarok concept in Sao Paulo, an all-new pick-up truck set to hit the Brazilian market sooner rather than later. Allegedly with minimal changes to be made in becoming a production vehicle.

Set to match the tech content in their current SUV-offensive, the Tarok concept possesses a predominantly digital design. The interior also features a colour-keyed crossbar across the dashboard, surrounding the glass covered infotainment set-up with a digital cockpit.

The Tarok concept runs on a 1.4-litre 148bhp four-cylinder TSI unit that can be driven in Brazil as a TotalFlex Fuel Unit – running on either pure ethanol or a gasoline-ethanol mixture, utilising permanent four-wheel drive. This differs from the unit that will be used in the series version of the Tarok – a 2.0-litre turbo diesel TDI with the same power output that would be more appropriate for other global markets.

Real interest in the Tarok, though, comes around the back, with a variable load space. The design allows the load space to be extended by both opening the tailgate and then into the cabin. A system is in place so that it is possible to fold the lower rear section of the cabin, and the three rear seats, thusly extended the load space. In its smallest, most standard form, the bed measures 1206mm from back to front. Then extend it into the cabin and you’re looking at a figure of 1861mm and with the truck bed down it rises to 2775mm.

This could be of interest to those wondering about the lineage of the next-generation Amarok, as it itself grew from a concept before Volkswagen set it into production in 2010. One thing is for sure, the Tarok has potential to become a very versatile pick-up.

The VW one-tonner is already one of the more luxurious offerings within the current pick-up market, but with the new Aventura special edition, it just got a bit fancier.

Powered by the most powerful 254bhp V6 in the range, the Aventura runs with the eight-speed DSG gearbox, permanent all-wheel drive and features an overboost function which temporarily ups power to 268bhp.

The interior features the Discover Media Navigation system, and the Aventura is fitted with other extra gadgets to make the driver’s life easier. The Lights and Vision package installs automatic headlights and separate daytime running lights that feature a coming home function along with automatic windscreen wipers.

Seating comes in the form of Volkswagen’s ErgoComfort seats. These come wrapped in Nappa leather and are 14-way adjustable. The same leather also adorns the steering wheel which boasts controls for the multimedia system and houses paddle shifts to manually control the transmission.

Paint options are either Ravenna Blue or Indium Grey – both of which can be specified in a matte finish. If you do choose to go matte, the Aventura comes with a 24% saving on the usual price for the procedure, at £2,335 pre VAT. The wheels are 20″ Talca alloys and the exterior is fitted with a body-coloured sports bar, chrome plated side bars, under-body cladding, power folding mirrors and a protective coating for the truck bed – to which you can add Mountain top roll covers for £1387.50 plus VAT.

The Aventura Amarok is on sale now, with pre tax prices starting at £39,960 at your nearest VW CV centre.

To celebrate three decades of the California nomenclature, Volkswagen have released released the most exclusive special edition to date.

The creatively named California 30 Years will see a production run of 999 examples – just 30 of which will be coming to the UK. Based on the range-topping California Ocean model, all models will come with LED headlights, removable tow bar and contrasting roof and wing mirrors. In addition to this, the 30 Years will have an exclusive body colour option – Tumeric Yellow – along with a numbered plaque on the B-pillar.

Inside, the special edition has VW’s Discover multimedia system, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors plus side scan and cruise control. All 30 Years models can make the most of the VW app, to control various vehicle features, too, such as the music, navigation and other apps in the Discover setup.

Three powertrains are available – all 2.0-litre TDI units. The options include 148bhp or 192bhp, with the third option being the more powerful unit equipped with all-wheel drive – all of which use a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

Pricing kicks off at £64,307 OTR for the least powerful variant, £67,097 for more power and rise to £70,629 for the range-topper.

It’s an exclusive model, so if you’re looking to get in on the act it’s best to act fast.

Volkswagen’s first small SUV, the T-Cross, has been launched around the world at ceremonies in Amsterdam, Shanghai and Sao Paolo.

The urban crossover aims to merge style, practicality and versatile functionality in a city-centric package. Front to back the T-Cross only measure 4.11-metres, and the wheelbase of 2.56-metres aids an interior than can reasonably seat five. Depending on the position of the rear seating, the boot will hold between 385 and 455-litres of cargo and 1,281-litres when the rear seats are dropped.

The power will come from a trio of petrol units and a singular diesel option – all turbocharged. Of the petrols, there are two sizes. The two 1.0-litre options offer up 95 or 115bhp, with the 1.5-litre gasoline option kicks out a full 150 horses. The solitary diesel option is a 1.4-litre TDI worth 95bhp.

The Polo-sized SUv will house a decent amount of standard tech, with a list that includes a host of driver aids. Front collision assist, pedestrian monitoring, city emergency braking, lane keep and hill start assist, blind spot detection and rear traffic alert all come as standard. Additionally, a driver alert system, park assist and adaptive cruise can be optioned.

At the time of launch there was no word on pricing or official release date for the T-Cross.

There was a lot of hype surrounding the arrival of the new Amarok at the start of this year. VW’s double-cab had already gained a lot of admirers despite having the smallest engine on the market (a 2.0 TDI), but now here it was being reinvented with a 3.0 V6 TDI that was one of the biggest.

The engine was always going to be the biggest talking point with the revised Amarok. It’s available with three different power outputs… or at least it will be once the launch process is fully complete.

That’s because you can currently get it in 224 and 204bhp form, in each case with an eight-speed auto box as standard. Later this year, VW   says, the 204bhp unit will gain a manual gearbox as standard. 

At the same time, there’ll also be a 163bhp version of the engine; this too will be manual as standard. The range will also be expanded to include a Startline model specced with fleet and business customers in mind.

 

For now, however, we have a range of three. The Trendline is comfortably specced, while the Highline adds some bling and luxury. You might also still get one of the Aventura launch models, but the 224 Highline tested here is the range-topper going forward.

Our test vehicle had optional brown leather, but even without this the feeling of quality in its cabin is obvious from the word go. The dash is all hard plastic, but the standard of build is very good and the centre console is rock solid.

The seats don’t have lumbar adjustment, however. We found ourselves shuffling around in them after an hour behind the wheel when we first drove the Amarok last winter; this time, long journeys on the motorway proved that it’s a comfortable enough place to sit, but we still found ourselves reaching in vain for a lumbar lever after a while on board.

The Amarok is not alone in lacking this apparently obvious feature, but a more surprising black mark is the lack of decently proportioned stowage space up front. The cubby, glovebox and door pockets are all small and awkward to get into, so you’re likely to end up leaving things like your shades, keys and wallet in the bin and cup holders in the centre console.

Most seriously, however, we were disappointed by the lack of knee room in the back seats. We commented last time that you’d struggle to get four tall adults on board without at least one or two of them having something to grumble about; this time, we found that a five-year-old couldn’t get into his car seat without the driver (who stands at 6’1”) having to slide forward and hunch up.

The back of the rear bench does at least drop forward to create a flat platform. Whether this is really better in practice than just putting things on the seats is open to question, but it’s there.

Also there are hidden stowage bins under the front seats, which might help save you from having to take small items with you when you leave the vehicle parked up. But when it comes to practicality, obviously in a pick-up it’s all about the rear bed, and this has a tough plastic liner with four lashing rings proud of it, as well as a 12-volt socket in the side of the bed.

Thus provisioned, the Amarok is well equipped for a duty of work, and our test vehicle also had a rigid flat deck to keep things secure. The tailgate locks, too (using a key, rather than as part of the central locking circuit), and you can spec the vehicle without a rear bumper to let it drop fully down and sit vertically, allowing you to reverse right up to loading bays.

As is often the case with pick-ups, there are areas in which the Amarok frustrates us. Its dash looks outstanding, and it’s as well made as it is thought out – but if you have any sort of need for proper rear seat space, you’ll come up against a serious obstacle.

A car would need to be pretty heavy to have 224bhp and not feel at least reasonably fast. The Amarok is indeed pretty heavy, but it does still feel usefully brisk by pick-up standards – even if the gearbox takes a fair bit of winding up when left in auto mode.

It does change gear smartly when you start working the paddles behind the steering wheel, however. All the same, with so many ratios to deal with it’s a lot more relaxing to leave it in auto and just live with the rise and fall of the revs.

While the auto unit is genuinely sophisticated, we do find ourselves looking forward to the day when the Amarok gains a manual. Even though it will be limited to less powerful versions of the same engine, we have little doubt that they’ll be more enjoyable to drive and quicker from A to B in the hands of a typical pick-up driver.

Talking of A-to-B pace, the Amarok’s steering takes a lot of getting used to before you can handle it with confidence. It’s nice and light around town, but gains more weight than is necessary at speed – so much so that at first, you might find yourself thinking something is jamming it. We really did find it that unnatural. The extra weight seems to be trying to make up for a lack of feel, too.

Our previous experience with the Amarok was in a version with 19” alloys and 255/55 tyres, so we were hoping the 225/60R18s on this model would allow a gentler ride. Not that we found it harsh previously, but there were some jitters from the suspension which upset its poise at times.

Happily, there was no sign of that this time. The Amarok still feels heavy over speed bumps and so on, but while the impacts certainly come through they do so without upsetting its composure, and its suspension settles straight back down – even when running unladen.

We also noticed a complete lack of vibration through the vehicle’s drivetrain and pedal box. That’s a particular boost to its refinement, which is generally as high (by pick-up standards) as its cabin quality would have you expect.

All the same, the entry-level Amarok will come on 16” rims – and we can’t help thinking about how much fun it would be with a manual box and a set of 265/75R16s. That’s a reference to the tarmac, but it also rings every bit as true off-road – not least because manual models have low box, but autos do not.

For many (and we’d be among them), this would be an absolute deal-breaker on the Amarok tested here. While you can’t yet get one with the correct equipment for proper all-round use, however, models with the auto box do have an Off-Road button which brings hill descent control into play and modifies the behaviour of the ABS to suit loose ground.

This is certainly necessary with no low range, but to be fair on the Amarok it’s almost unbelievably agile, and tractable, in really tight conditions. The auto box works well enough when used manually, and at these speeds the steering is lovely and light, so the physical effort required to drive it is low, but we found it quite mentally tiring to be constantly working the paddles on terrain where we’d being leaving a manual in low first or second and letting it find its way.

Once again, then, we think the arrival of the manual box will be the making of this Amarok. It does great things with big alloys, low-profile road tyres and a gearbox we wouldn’t choose – so with proper tyres and a manual with low box behind it, we expect the vehicle to demonstrate just how good this engine is capable of making it.

Volkswagen’s options list includes a locking rear diff, too, as well as heavy-duty underbody protection. And of course the aftermarket is right across the sort of accessories it takes to bring out the best in a good truck. Wait a little longer, then, and the Amarok has the potential to become the best off-roader in the one-tonne market. For now, while it’s very good, that’s despite itself – this is a tale of massive potential waiting to be realised.

The Amarok tested here lists at £30,495 – that’s £37,627 on the road if you pay your VAT, and the options on this truck would kick the latter figure up to £39,805. We were critical of the vehicle’s high price when we drove the Aventura model at launch; to be fair, VW is not alone in flirting with the £40k barrier for its top trucks, but it still concerns us that at that sort of money, flaws like the lack of rear knee room become harder to forgive.

You do of course get plenty of kit for your money. And the Amarok has a level of build quality that instils great confidence in it as a product – though we’d expect it to have a warranty which at least matches the best on the market, and 36 months or 60,000 miles is trounced by the 60 months and 100,000 miles for which Nissan will look after you if you buy a Navara.

The good news is that once the Amarok range is complete, you’ll be able to buy one for a lot less than this. And, in our view, it will be the right one. Combine a manual box with a more modest spec level and, having worked the discount game, you should be in the best model for less than £30k. At which point, we think the pick-up market may well have its first five-star truck.

First featured in 4×4, December 2017 issue.

Volkswagen have added another diesel powerplant to sit below the 282bhp unit available at launch.

The new 228bhp V6 TDI offers 369lbf.ft 1,750rpm through to 3,000rpm. In pairing the new engine with SEL trim, the Touareg also has a new entry price of £48,995 OTR. It will still come with the eight-speed tiptronic transmission, four-wheel drive and a limited slip-diff. The new unit matches the more muscular engine economically – 173g/km CO2 – and with the 3,500kg towing capacity.

SEL Touaregs come with Vienna Black leather interior with white LED lighting. The 9.2″ touchscreen dominates the dash and houses the controls for much of the cabin’s functions, plus a subscription to Guide and Inform – a program that has live traffic updates, fuel pricing information and radio that selects the strongest signal from FM or DAB.

19″ alloys are standard, as are full LED headlights, tail lights and fog lamps.

The new engine is available with R-Line and R-Line Tech models too, from £52,495 and £55,595 respectively.

Click here to recap more details on the new Touareg’s specs.

Last year VW showed a concept Amarok with a 254bhp, 427lbf.ft version of the 3.0-litre V6 currently present in the range. Well, now they’ve announced that the tuned version will be entering production for Highline and Aventura trim Amaroks.

The newest Tdi poses 34bhp more than the previous chart topper, along with 22 more torques. It promises to be eager as well as strong, with an overboost function bumping power up to 268bhp and maximum torque available at 1,400 through 3,000rpm.

Visual upgrades accompanying the newfound brunt include a rooftop liner and pillar trim in a metallic black finish on Aventura models. Other features on the top trim include 20″ graphite wheels and Nappa upholstery in the cabin, plus aluminium finish bed cover and underbody plating.

Orders are now open in Germany and will open in the UK in June, with pricing expected to start at £37,000 and £42,000 for Highline and Aventura models respectively. We’ll bring more on UK prices when they’re confirmed.

The offer of £500 deposit contribution on a 5.2% APR Personal Contract Plan is now available on Design and R-Line spec T-Rocs, and now covers the whole T-Roc lineup.

Basic equipment across the T-Roc range includes an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, CD player and DAB radio, plus mobile connectivity. Dual zone climate control is also standard.

The compact SUV boasts a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, with six airbags and advanced driver assists.

VW launched the Design trim specifically for the T-Roc, championing personalisation with the SUV. The two-tone paintwork differentiates the roof, A-pillar and door mirrors from the lower bodywork, accentuating the sporty styling. It also gets tinted rear windows and 17-inch alloy wheels. There’s a host of vibrant interior options, with upholstery available in orange, blue and yellow swatches. Prices for T-Roc Design models start at £26,450.

The R-Line is the sportiest and range-topping trim, and was recently added to the T-Roc and Tiguan Allspace families. It sees the T-Roc get 19-inch alloy wheels, low rolling resistance tyres, a roof spoiler, R-Line badging and a sports suspension. R-Line pricing kicks off at £26,450.

Volkswagen’s sporty and top of the range R-Line trim has been added to it’s two newest SUVs.

The compact T-Roc and the family orientated seven seat Tiguan Allspace receive the R-Line treatment, that adds sporty styling cues and equipment upgrades to their rosters.

On the T-Roc R-Line, 19″ alloys along with a sports suspension setup. The exterior visuals are enhanced with R-Line front and rear bumpers, a roof spoiler, black wheel arch extensions and body coloured side skirts.

Inside, the interior is bolstered by a new black roof lining, decorative inserts in the dash and door panels, aluminium pedals along with LED reading lights plus R-Line floor mats and flat-bottomed steering wheel.

The four-wheel drive T-Rocs available in R-line will be the 2.0-litre auto petrol and the 2.0-litre diesel with a six-speed manual, with R-line prices starting at £26,450.

In the Tiguan Allspace, the R-Line additions also include bigger alloys – this time 20″ – and a sports suspension. With the optional Dynamic Chassis Control this can be tailored via sport, comfort or normal settings.

Aluminium dash inserts liven up the R-Line Allspace interior, where a leather three-spoke steering wheel sits before Race cloth seats in a cabin littered with R-Line logos in the upholstery and trimmings.

The 4Motion powerplants available with R-Line trim are all 2.0-litre diesel units, with the 150bhp version available in both six-speed manual and seven-speed auto – a gearbox also on offer with the 190bhp variant. R-Line Tiguan Allspace pricing begins at £35,755.

The addition of the T-Roc and the Tiguan Allspace to VW’s SUV range is part of their ongoing expansion in the sector, with a new Touareg on the way this summer and the smallest of the family, the T-Cross, due for reveal later in the year.

This morning saw the launch of the third-generation Volkswagen Touareg, at a global reveal held in China.

It’s the first model from the German marque  to feature the new Innovision cockpit – the latest generation of infotainment that consists of 12″and 15″ digital screens. The footer is a digital cockpit behind the steering wheel, combining sat-nav and driving data, whilst the bigger screen sits centrally on the dash and on the whole removes the necessity of buttons. The touchscreen controls everything from on-board entertainment to the comfort settings and makes personalisation easy.

With a wide breadth of driver assistance and safety features, the new Touareg pushes the boat out. One of the new additions is a night vision system that detects people, animals and obstacles in the dark using thermal imaging. More conventional inclusions are lane assist, front cross traffic assist and four-wheel steering. Electronically manned anti-roll bars add stability to the ride, whilst it has VW’s signature windscreen head-up display and also gets automatic LED headlights. All of these features can be controlled via the central touchscreen.

The new Touareg is bigger than its predecessor – in both width and length – affording for more interior space – rear storage capacity is increased by 113-litres when the rear seats are upright. But despite it’s bigger size the new SUV is lighter thanks to construction consisting of 48% aluminium.

V6 engines accompany the new Touareg from launch – diesels with 231bhp or 286bhp. In certain markets these will be followed by a petrol version (340bhp) and a powerful diesel V8 good for 421bhp. A plug-in hybrid will be released in China, with a European launch date for the green option still undecided.

The Touareg was launched alongside a trio of SUVs exclusive to China – VW’s biggest global market – and as yet there are no specifics on pricing or general release.