New Car Awards 2014: best pick-up truck

The Volkswagen Amarok is the 2014 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and SsangYong Korando Sport commended

In the rough-and-tumble world of pick-up trucks, the rugged Volkswagen Amarok still stands head and shoulders above its rivals. For the third year in a row, the versatile Volkswagen has squared up to the competition and carried off a coveted Auto Express New Car Award.

How has it achieved this impressive feat? It’s simple, really: by combining the relentless work ethic of a commercial vehicle with the kerb appeal of a desirable SUV, the Volkswagen is essentially two cars rolled into one.

Best pick-up trucks

For instance, the wide load bay will comfortably swallow a Euro pallet, plus it’s lined with a no-nonsense hose-down floor material. There’s also the option of a 4MOTION all-wheel-drive transmission, meaning you’ll never get stuck on a muddy building site. Yet for buyers wanting a little more luxury, the Amarok’s classy cabin and civilised driving experience will be the real clincher.

Unlike its competitors, the spacious double-cab interior is packed with top-notch materials, while the switchgear is carried over from the brand’s Polo and Golf. Better still, the major controls are no more demanding to use than those of a standard family hatchback.

Sure, the 2.0-litre diesel isn’t the last word in refinement, but it delivers decent performance and economy, while the optional eight-speed auto box serves up smooth shifts – the standard six-speed manual has a meaty and precise change. The truck rides well, too, soaking up bumps that would send a shudder through less talented rivals.

Positive steering and composed handling complete the high-riding Volkswagen’s list of towering talents, and confirm its place at the top of the pick-up tree.

Our choice

Volkswagen Amarok 2.0 BiTDI 4MOTION Highline BM Tech (£30,869)

Upmarket Highline trim gives the Amarok a real SUV feel, as does grippy 4MOTION all-wheel drive. Twin-turbo diesel is gruff, but provides strong pace and decent economy.

Commended pick-up trucks

Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi XLT

Ford Ranger front

Tough, great value and good to drive, the Ford Ranger is still a top truck choice. It also benefits from a vast load bay, a spacious cabin and plenty of equipment fitted as standard.

Only a firm ride and vocal diesel engine prevent it taking the title in this year’s New Car Awards.

SsangYong Korando Sports

Ssangyong Korando Sports EX front

In the hard-fought commercial class, vehicles have to make financial sense to succeed, so it’s hard not to be impressed by the SsangYong’s rock-bottom price. Yet a decent drive, long kit list and huge load bay mean the Korando Sports is so much more than a bargain-basement special.

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