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.

Following last year’s success for the Skoda Kodiaq, VW has decided to add a new seven-seater to their own line-up – Tiguan Allspace.

Essentially, this is a Tiguan with added flexibility. It’s 215mm longer than the regular Tiguan and the wheelbase has been stretched by 109mm. With your elongated Tiguan you get the privilege of ‘occasional seating’, which thankfully doesn’t mean you can only use them for birthdays and weddings.

What it does mean is that VW hasn’t tried to make out they’ve harnessed technology from the Tardis and applied it to the Allspace’s back row of seats. Instead, they freely admit these two pews are for the petite individual who is likely to be more interested in discussing with you the delights of Peppa Pig rather than available legroom.

There are a few other subtle differences between the Allspace and regular Tiguan, too. At the front, a taller grille and revised bonnet visually helps with raising the front in order to counter the extra bulk at the rear. The rear doors are longer and the shoulder line has been reworked, while off-road versions get amended bumpers and underbody protection. Even with the Tiguan’s growth spurt, it’s not an oversized vehicle and remains attractive.

The model we recently got our hands on was an SE Nav 2.0-litre TDI 4Motion 147bhp variant. Bit of a mouthful, but before we break it down for you, it’s worth knowing that this is the example VW estimates will be its top seller.

The ‘SE Nav’ denotes the starting point as you head up through the Allspace spectrum, past SEL and onto the R-Line derivatives. There’s a focus on providing high spec’d vehicles here, so all versions are generously equipped from the off. This base SE Nav, for instance, has the 8” colour touchscreen and Discover Navigation system.

VW estimates suggest that 95% of Allspace sales will be diesel, emphasising that TDI still pips TSI in this category – for now. You can get the 2.0 TDI unit in more powerful guises, and while initially sceptical about the 147bhp being able to haul the Allspace and seven people around, it will satisfy you completely, with a surprising amount of shove to serve up when prompted. Regarding the petrol units, the 1.4 TSI is only available in 2WD, leaving the thirstier 2.0 TSI. It may have 177bhp, but the TDIs can talk the torque.

There’s a mix of manual and autos on offer, but it’s the latter we’d advise you towards. Family life can tire you out, so why not let the car do the work for you? That is the idea after all. Plus you get paddles and a manual shift setting should you wish to take control and with the DSG ‘boxes being the best in the business, their slickness is difficult to play down.

Inside, it can look a little conservative – but as usual with Volkswagen, it’s all in the detail. The soft-touch plastics give an assuring feel of quality, while the cloth seats look up for a battle with the kids in the war of cleanliness. Controls are positioned well and easy to navigate.

And what of this ‘occasional seating’? A tether either side of the middle row flips them down and the occasional two are simple to put up or down. You can have a very spacious five-seat Tiguan or a seven-seater that will cope with the capability of swallowing a decent shopping trip.

Bigger boot, more seats, and more eventualities covered – what’s not to like. VW has quietly gone on and added that extra flexibility without harming the goodness already established in the Tiguan.

Prices start at £29,370, with the one that impressed us costing £34,905.

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VW have launched a limited edition Amarok with a bad-boy image. The Dark Label pick-up is based on the top of the range Highline trim and, in true Lego Batman style, everything is black – or very, very dark grey.

Most exterior trimmings have been given a gothic makeover, including the 18” alloys and the rear bumper. Three shades of dark paint are on offer, along with three different finishes. Carbon Steel is the metallic option, alongside Deep Black pearl and matte Indium Grey.

It’s inside the Dark Label Amarok where it cements itself as one of the highest spec iterations of the pick-up, with alcantara seats, black headlining and floor mats connoting the design. VW’s Discover Media touchscreen infotainment system comes as standard, as does voice control functionality. Standard driver aids are aplenty, with automatic wipers and headlights, heated mirrors and safety features all fixed on the Dark Label.

Orders are now open, close in April and are limited to 200 units, with prices starting at £33,650.