Volkswagen Amarok Canyon review

5 Jun, 2014 3:45pm Jonathan Burn

New Volkswagen Amarok Canyon adds 19-inch alloys, extra body cladding and optional spotlights


If you’re after an alternative to a large SUV, don’t choose the Volkswagen Amarok Canyon. It may be a luxurious and stylish pick-up, but it’s still a commercial vehicle and feels unrefined compared to something like a Hyundai Santa Fe. If you’re buying it as a workhorse then we’d definitely recommend it – it’s nice to have creature comforts in a practical and rugged package.

The Volkswagen Amarok was introduced in 2011 as a pick-up that felt more car-like any other. This new Canyon version – limited to just 350 units – is designed to bring even more style and luxury to the class.

A mid-spec Trendline Amarok is used as a starting point for the Canyon, which is then packed with £8,500 worth of extras, like 19-inch alloys, all-round parking sensors, privacy glass, leather interior, heated front seats and rugged body cladding. If you want those four spotlights mounted on the roof, you’ll have to pay £1,134.

The only engine on offer is a 178bhp 2.0-litre BiTDI with permanent all-wheel drive. A six-speed manual is standard, but for £2,000 extra you can get an eight-speed auto, like in this car. It also ups the towing capacity from 3,000kg to 3,200kg.

We never expected blistering performance, but the acceleration is impressive nonetheless. The Canyon takes 11.3 seconds to get from 0-62mph and it does a good job of disguising just how big and heavy this car is. It’s a bit gruff when you turn the key and it continues to make its presence known while you’re accelerating. Add the less-than-aerodynamic shape and huge wing mirrors and it’s not the most refined motorway cruiser.

Volkswagen Amarok Canyon rear

Yet, what remains most impressive about the Amarok, given its size, is its car-like manners from behind the wheel. That’s not to say it’s as sophisticated as a modern day SUV, but the light controls make it easy to drive, plus a cabin which mimics those of conventional VW passenger cars makes you feel at home inside. In turn, it gives the impression that you’re driving a much smaller car. The ride is also a lot more forgiving in the Amarok than in other pick-ups.

Another area where the Amarok scores highly is practicality. In the UK it’s only available as a double cab, meaning you can carry five adults with little fuss. The Canyon’s load bed is larger than the one offered in both the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux, and it’s wide enough to carry a euro-sized pallet. There’s space in the back seats for adults, too.

Disqus - noscript

Toyota Hilux please!

Neither please! (Incidentally this is yet another VW review where the VW "plug link" is found in the review itself rather than as part of an advert where it would be fine. Subliminal advertising like this needs to be removed)

Looks lika a Playmobil toy! Is it bad that I quite like that fact!?

and for me as well thanks! The only pick-up the world has ever needed, I think. That said always liked the Mitsubishi L200 also.

For these types of vehicles, reliability is key, and since Japanese are the kings of reliability, you can't go wrong with a Hilux.

Ahem, the adlink in my text body reveals a Ford! I've driven the Amarok and the review seems reasonably fair, though whether it's any better or worse than the rest of the pickup brigade is moot. I think it's a case of pick your badge and take your choice.

No - a designer once said that all you had to do was look at the current Tonka Toy range to see what next year's vehicles would look like.

Top Gear sold more HiLux pickups than any advertising campaign ever did.

Key specs

  • Price: £36,864
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl Biturbo
  • Power: 178bhp
  • Transmission: Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 11.3 seconds
  • Top speed: 108mph
  • Economy/CO2: 34.4mpg/215g/km
  • On sale: Now