With decent handling, comfort levels and build quality, the VW Amarok is a cut above its rivals
We loved the Volkswagen Amarok when it made its debut in 2011, and we still do – which is why it’s won its second Best Pick-up prize this year.
Why? Simple. It sets the standard in a class that’s now more competitive than ever. If you need a commercial vehicle for work, the Amarok’s combination of practicality and quality is compelling.
Its huge load bed will take a standard Euro pallet, and the cabin is free from the low-grade plastics and flimsy controls that blight many of its rivals.
Away from the building site, the Amarok also drives impressively. It has enough power to haul big loads, but maintains a smooth ride and keen responses. For buyers looking at a double-cab pick-up as an alternative to an SUV, civilised surroundings and the prestige appeal of a VW badge make it the default purchase.
While most of the competition promise an unforgiving ride, the Amarok offers an unusual degree of comfort for this type of vehicle. It’s never going to rival a proper SUV for handling or ride quality, but it does a good impression of a traditional 4x4.
It even looks the part, so whether you need a rugged family runabout, or a dependable and uncomplaining work tool, we think the VW Amarok is the best pick-up around.
Our choice: 2.0 BiTDI 4MOTION Highline BlueMotion Tech (£29,802). Buyers wanting a versatile pick-up with all the upmarket car trimmings should go for a Highline-spec Amarok.
Practical, rugged and affordable, the Ranger also runs rings around its rivals when it comes to driver enjoyment. Sadly, its ride is uncompromisingly firm compared with the class leader, so it has to settle for a Commended award.
SsangYong Korando Sport
Price is critical at this end of the market, because these vehicles are, more often than not, a purchase driven by necessity rather than desire. The Korando Sport has price on its side, but it’s also practical, loaded with kit and thoroughly decent to drive.
- 1Introduction18 class winners, 36 commended cars, 8 Special Awards and the 2013 Auto Express Car of the Year – it's all here
- 2Car of the YearThe most coveted accolade in the world of motoring goes to the SEAT Leon
- 3Best City CarThe Skoda Citigo retains its Best City Car crown thanks to a combination of comfort, low running costs and superb on-road ability
- 4Best SuperminiThe Ford Fiesta wrestles its way back onto the top of the podium after last year's loss to the 208
- 5Best Compact Family CarThe SEAT Leon fights off its fellow VW Group rivals to take the gold medal in one of the most competitive classes around
- 6Best Family CarThe new Mazda 6 sees of all-comers to take family car class honours
- 7Best Estate CarOffering peerless practicality, huge value for money and attractive lines, the Skoda Octavia is the best Estate on the market
- 8Best Five-Seat MPVFord's innovative small MPV pips its big brother – the C-MAX – to the Best Five-seat MPV award
- 9Best MPVFor the third year in a row, the SEAT Alhambra wins the Auto Express Best MPV award
- 10Best CrossoverThe Mazda CX-5 is a talented all-rounder that offers everything you could want from a crossover
- 11Best Compact SUVThe Range Rover Evoque is one of the most striking cars on the road – but it's also more than just a pretty face
- 12Best Large SUVThe talented Santa Fe is one of the best models Hyundai has ever produced
- 13Best Hot HatchThe Ford Fiesta ST is in a class of its own – and better value for money than its key rivals
- 14Best CoupeThe brilliant Porsche Cayman pips its big brother - the 911 – and three-time winner the Peugeot RCZ to the Best Coupe prize
- 15Best RoadsterThe new Porsche Boxster is so good it makes you question why anyone would every buy a 911