Like its competitors, Volkswagen commercial vehicles also creates limited-edition models to boost sales of its double-cab Amarok Ute, hence the canyon nameplate has reappeared for the second time locally.
The first Amarok Canyon models graced New Zealand shores in 2015 and these vehicles were distinguished not only a uniquely lurid metallic Copper Orange paint job but also by the roof bar adorned with four spotlights which could only be used in conjunction with high beam.
Thankfully the second round of Amarok Canyon limited edition models for 2018 a bit more subtle with Honey Orange metallic paint, and these are based on the Highline/Sportline 4Motion variants with for an additional $4K over their asking price.
Externally, the limited edition Amarok ute wears a black Sport bar, unique 19-inch Milford alloy wheels, Canyon graphics on the doors and tailgate, and black plastic overriders on the four wheel arches for that extra tough-truck look. But there’s no roof bar with spotlights this time.
Inside the orange theme continues with the Canyon receiving its own unique cloth/leather upholstery as well as a unique dashboard, matching orange seatbelts, and orange top stitching on the seats, gearshift lever gaiter, and multifunction steering wheel.
To complete the package, there are Canyon embroidered floor mats, and it also comes with the top of the line Audio/Navigation system, as well as front and rear PDC in addition to a rear view camera. Bi-Xenon headlamps with cornering light function are also fitted which is a god send for people who live in rural areas with no street lighting.
Our test vehicle was fitted with an optional roller cover which looked smart and provided secure storage but unfortunately robbed the tray of some load space, which wasn’t ideal, but we still managed to slide a single mattress and base into the load bed without it overhanging the open tailgate.
The Amarok Canyon comes with Volkswagens twin-turbocharged 132kW / 430Nm 2-litre four-cylinder inline diesel engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is also fitted with the brand’s permanent 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
The eight-speed automatic is the jewel in the Amarok’s crown, making good of spreading the engine’s power and torque across the gears and making the truck more responsive to the pedal, and even more so when sport mode is selected.
While the four-cylinder Canyon turbo diesel engine may not have the off-the-line grunt of the units found in the Ford Ranger or the Holden Colorado, it doesn’t disgrace itself once on the move, and we never found ourselves wishing for more power.
It’s also reasonably frugal too, we managed to achieve 7.8l/100km during a long weekend with the vehicle pictured here.
Up until the arrival of the new X-Class ute from Mercedes-Benz this month, the Amarok was the class-leading ute when it came to steering response, unladen ride quality and high levels of refinement and low levels of noise, vibration and harshness.
We had the opportunity to drive the two vehicles back-to-back on the same roads some four days apart and while the new Benz ute is a quiet and composed premium vehicle with high levels of refinement, we feel the older Amarok still brings greater confidence to the party, particularly when hustling in and out of tight corners thanks to that 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
On tarmac and smooth asphalt roads the Amarok rides well and feels composed, although there is the occasional jittery ride quality when unladen on rougher surfaces and over corrugations in the road, which is a characteristic quality of most utes with a leaf-sprung rear suspension system.
As an urban or rural daily driver the Amarok Canyon is a comfortable and enjoyable proposition, with a commanding view from the driver’s seat. The doors close with a solid Germanic “thunk” and it has an air of European precision and quality even though the beast is put together in a Volkswagen assembly plant in Argentina.
The cabin design and architecture is generic Volkswagen, and while the plastics around the dashboard and doors might be hard to the touch, you know they will durable, easily cleaned, and won’t rattle after 200,000km of hard yakka.
Despite the introduction of the competitor X-Class from Mercedes-Benz, the Volkswagen Amarok still holds its own in terms of comfort, refinement, and handling. The limited edition Canyon variant just adds a more individual look and feel for those buyers who don’t want to buy the usual run-of-the-mill black, grey, white or silver coloured ute.
|Model||2018 Volkswagen Amarok Canyon 4Motion||Price||$69,990|
|Engine||1968cc, 4-Cylinder, 132kW/420Nm||Drivetrain||6-speed manual|
|Fuel Use||8L/100km||C02 Output||0g/km|
|0-100km/h||0.00 sec||Weight||1999kg kerb weight|
|Service||20,000km intervals, 3 year / 100,000km warranty||Load|
|Vitals||3040kg GVM, 1041kg payload||Vitals||3200kg towing capacity|