Does VW Amarok has what it takes to be a perfect road trip vehicle?
Finnish version of this article was published in 2016 so some information on that story might sound funny and old. My view on this particular vehicle still remains the same and I’ve also tried the newer ones. After some thought, I decided I should add my experiences on the newer Amarok V6 version too so this article would be as fresh as possible.
I wrote my last article about our little training road trip with Volkswagen Amarok Canyon in 2014. That article was focusing on the route and scenery so this time I will tell a bit about how Amarok can fill your needs as a road trip vehicle.
After that trip, VW announced a new version of Amarok and in 2017 I was able to test the V6 version of this pick-up truck. The old version had pretty oldish dashboard and that would have been a negative thing these days. Then it was more of a work equipment while the new one would work as a lifestyle vehicle too. The new version has pretty much similar dashboard with big screens and all that the regular Volkswagens have. This is a big plus on the comfortability during longer trips.
The engine on the 2014 Canyon version was a two liter turbo-diesel producing 180 horsepower and 420Nm of torque. It wasn’t fast but good enough for the purpose it was made for, be it driving off road or on the highways. Now this new V6 version has a 3.0 liter turbo-diesel engine producing 225 horsepower. That’s not a lot more but it makes a huge difference on how this car feels. Amarok V6 accelerates like a powerful vehicle and that along with the performance on worse conditions make it as one of the best road trip vehicles I can think of at this moment.
When you are thinking of getting (or renting) a pick-up truck, you have to take in to consideration that they come with two kinds of cabins. There is one that can only fit two persons (and bigger cargo space) and the other that can fit 5 persons (and takes up space from the cargo). 2-person model is a bit cheaper to buy since it’s considered as a van while on the other one you need to pay all the taxes like in regular cars. If you consider Amarok as a lifestyle vehicle or something to do a road trip with, I highly recommend the 5-person model. You can’t really fit any of your stuff inside on that Van-version but with 5-person model you’ll get some bags on the rear seats or you might take more friends or family members with you.
One more important thing about Amarok as a road trip vehicle is what you decide to do to the cargo bed. It is wide open by default and with the Aventura model in V6 you’ll get pretty roll bars there. That’s not optimal considering traveling. You should either consider a cover for it or get full sized body for it (like we had on Canyon). If I had to choose, I’d take the full sized version. It’s so big you could maybe even sleep there plus your stuff stay dry and clean.
So to answer to the question I made at the beginning – yes it has and easily too. You can take a lot of stuff with you be it camera gear, camping gear or whatever it is you might need on your journey. You also sit higher so you’ll see better all the signs and can follow the traffic flow more easily. With this newest version, the seats are very comfortable and you can adjust those leather seats to 14 different positions. Air condition keeps the temperature inside the cabin as you like it and the heater is powerful enough to keep it warm in winter. Amarok also has the latest safety features you’ve used to have in the regular cars.
If you happen to get lost to a terrain or road that is in bad condition, it’s no problem for an Amarok. The worse the conditions go, the better this vehicle feels like.
Now Amarok is not a cheap vehicle, quite far from it actually. The Canyon version we had 2014 had a price tag of 75 500 euros and this new V6 Aventura costs 79 000 euros. If you think about the regular cars you can buy with that amount of money, there’s plenty (even luxury) to choose from. But how many of those can give you so much freedom to go anywhere you want? I just leave it here and say this is something I would gladly choose for my road trips.