The new tonneau cover keeps cargo away from prying eyes. Picture: MARK SMYTH
The new tonneau cover keeps cargo away from prying eyes. Picture: MARK SMYTH

Things seem to be shaking up in the bakkie segment, what with the Mercedes X-Class arriving and the company preparing to introduce its flagship V6 turbodiesel variant by the end of 2018 and the Ford Ranger Roush already available in the market, it seems as though there is a lot for our beloved Volkswagen V6 Amarok to be wary of. Or is there?

Hopping back into our long-term V6 Amarok has once again cemented why I still deem it as the leader of the pack in the segment, particularly at the price.

I have raved no end about how the model manages to straddle the fine line between being a commercial bakkie on one hand and how it manages to ride as well as some luxury SUVs on the other. Even with the excellent Mitsubishi Triton Athlete variant we drove a few weeks ago continuing to impress with its ride quality, I reckon the Amarok — even eight years into its life cycle, making it one of the oldest offerings in its segment — can still comfortably hold its own.

While many of the more established bakkies still suffer from the dreaded ride shimmy that is exhibited while driving over undulated urban tarmac, the Amarok’s steady yet supple ride quality comes as a notable feather in its cap. The V6 engine remains a powerhouse among its less endowed competitors, although our engine feels as though it still needs to be properly run in as our odometer mileage suggests.

The Extreme model gets a few interior enhancements. Picture: QUICKPIC
The Extreme model gets a few interior enhancements. Picture: QUICKPIC

This is further emphasised by the 11.8l/100km average fuel consumption, which I reckon can easily dip into the sub 10l/100km once the engine is properly settled.

I have spent the past weekend putting the Amarok’s leisure credentials to the test by karting kids around the entire weekend, with my one-year-old son particularly enjoying the vantage point views from his child seat, meaning watching the scenery go by has managed to calm him down in recent times as he has up to now remained somewhat of a restless traveller.

THE AMAROK — EVEN EIGHT YEARS INTO ITS LIFE CYCLE, MAKING IT ONE OF THE OLDEST OFFERINGS IN ITS SEGMENT — CAN STILL HOLD ITS OWN.

My seven-year-old daughter, meanwhile, has mastered the art of hopping into the cabin unaided, a bugbear that we have winged about in the past since our vehicle is without side steps, which makes ingress into the cabin a bit of a challenge for adults, let alone small children. I still maintain that if you are considering buying this model, tick the option of side steps on the options list and thank me later.

The recently fitted shiny tonneau cover has added further peace of mind to stow items in the load bin that will be free from prying eyes, particularly while stationary at a traffic light.

Also, the smooth and silky engine remains the heart of this model, the single factor why I reckon it is currently the most refined and gutsiest bakkie you can buy on the new market.

The badge that signals the power within. Picture: QUICKPIC
The badge that signals the power within. Picture: QUICKPIC

The eight-speed gearbox, too, is the sleekest I have yet experienced in a bakkie and I reckon it will be key to the model’s reduction in fuel consumption in the forthcoming weeks as the engine slowly loosens up with more mileage under its tyres.

Currently, the vehicle continues to deliver handsomely on both its commercial and leisure fronts and it will be interesting to see how it fares against its other German compatriot when it launches later in the year.

As we have reported previously, the Amarok V6 will soon get a shot in the arm in the form of the updated variant of the model that we drove in Oman a few months ago that will have about 190kW (200kW in overboost mode).

Things are truly shaking up in this segment, but I have a distinct feeling that the Amarok V6 will continue to hold its own, particularly at its pricing point.

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