Volkswagen now has an Amarok with serious torque. Picture: QUICKPIC
Volkswagen now has an Amarok with serious torque. Picture: QUICKPIC

It is no surprise that the Volkswagen Amarok won the coveted International Pick-up (bakkie) of the Year Award.

Scoring 56 points — beating the Mercedes-X-Class on 50 and Toyota Hilux on 41 — the Amarok was crowned the 2018 bakkie of the year in the annual competition by a 25-member jury comprising transport journalists from various countries.

The announcement was made at a gala dinner in France at the end of 2017. Yes, it might be a while ago, but the relevance of the award still stands.

The jury members voted the Amarok V6 as the best all-rounder in a closely contested competition, jury chairman Jarlath Sweeney said.

Eckhard Scholz, chairman of the brand board of management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, at the presentation of the International Pick-up Award 2018. Picture: VOLKSWAGEN COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
Eckhard Scholz, chairman of the brand board of management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, at the presentation of the International Pick-up Award 2018. Picture: VOLKSWAGEN COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

"Marks were awarded based on powertrain efficiencies, load volume and capability, driver and passenger comfort and safety aspects, as well as low total cost of operation from a business point of view," Sweeney said.

It is not the first time the Amarok has won the coveted title with the model having bagged it in 2010 shortly after its market debut.

The latest award undoubtedly hinged much on the new V6 powerplant, which transforms the character and capability of the bakkie compared to the 2.0l BiTDI variant. Praises were also heaped on the vehicle’s exemplary fit and finish, comfort levels, modern exterior design and smooth-shifting gearbox.

With the team having lived with the model for just more than six months, we agree with Sweeney and the rest of the jury on the Amarok V6’s merits. In fact, while I have praised the Mercedes-Benz X-Class on its ride quality elsewhere on this page, I immediately hopped back into our Amarok V6 and was pleasantly surprised at how pliant its ride quality is, which defies its slightly inferior rear leaf spring setup (the X-Class has coil springs).

When you put your foot down in the Amarok the elasticity of its engine remains something to behold. The X-Class might have a better chance at deposing the Amarok when it launches its V6 turbodiesel at the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019 but an updated Amarok V6 is also on its way.

For now, the Amarok continues to reign supreme in the muscle department particularly and our fuel consumption continues to tumble slowly. We are averaging 10.8l/100km, a significant improvement from June’s 11.8l/100km. This is due to driving a bit more conservatively instead of mashing the throttle to the floorboards at the earliest opportunity. It will be interesting to see if we can better that figure in the next few months.

We also plan to do some off-road excursions to see how it fares off the beaten track and whether its abundance of torque will be sufficient to pull it out of relatively sticky situations without breaking a sweat.

All will be revealed in due course, but meanwhile we continue to sing the praises of this award-winning bakkie.

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