The Amarok V6 TDI has been involved in a household decluttering exercise. Picture: MARK SMYTH
The Amarok V6 TDI has been involved in a household decluttering exercise. Picture: MARK SMYTH

So I finally get my hands on our long-term Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI and Lerato comes back from Oman saying there’s a more powerful version coming later this year.

Fortunately the changes to the looks both inside and out appear to be minimal, but that jump from 165kW to 190kW is rather significant.

I will have to wait to experience for myself just how significant it feels but in the meantime, my first drive with the V6 Highline showed just what VW has done with this model.

Leaving the office and sitting in traffic, it was all the usual high level of comfort. Honestly, if you haven’t compared an Amarok to other bakkies then you should, just so you understand what people say when they use the cliche of "car-like ride comfort". It is very comfortable and, for that matter, rather car-like, albeit clearly from the driving position of a bakkie.

But it is what it does when you need to pull out and overtake that muppet sitting in the middle lane that changes all perceptions of the Amarok. Yes, the first models were a bit down on power, at least for those who wanted them to work hard or to tow a fully laden trailer or caravan, but there seems to be no shortage of power in the V6.

Actually that’s not quiet true, because there is a typically annoying VW turbo lag when you first put foot, but then the thing just launches, putting all 165kW and 540Nm of torque down on to the tarmac so you sprint past that middle-lane hogger as though you are in a sports car.

The infotainment system is easy to use and provides good features. Picture: MARK SMYTH
The infotainment system is easy to use and provides good features. Picture: MARK SMYTH

I know it’s a little childish but the grin factor when you are stopped at the traffic lights and a hatchback or executive sedan comes up behind you and then goes into the empty lane next to you planning to leave you behind is superb. Sit quietly and then gun it as the lights go green and they will wonder whether the salesperson had lied to them about the power under their bonnet. It’s not really childish, just a simple pleasure perhaps.

There really is a lot of power available, especially when the thing is unladen. And we have been loading it because we are going through one of those big decluttering exercises at home, the one where you open the shed and wonder how you have accumulated so much stuff.

None of it has proved taxing for the Amarok, of course. We are gradually ploughing through it and chucking everything in the load bay to take to the tip.

We have had to tie the stuff down though because what we don’t have is a tonneau cover, but that is being remedied this week. The Amarok has gone in for one to be fitted and soon it will be sporting a brand new cover over its load bed.

Another area of that car-like experience is the infotainment system. VW has grabbed one from the parts shelf that features a decent touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming. It’s a nice system and while it is not quite as graphical as the one in a Ford Ranger, it helps alleviate the mundanity of the commute.

My first experience with the Amarok V6 has allowed it to prove that it has another quiver in its bow in the form of performance capabilities. It really is a pity about that lag but it’s a VW and Audi TDI thing no matter how much power it has. Ignore that though and the Amarok V6 really answers its critics.

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