First Drive: Aventura specification elevates the Volkswagen Amarok experience
The new Aventura specification brings more equipment to the Amarok than ever. What’s it like to drive though? Jack Evans finds out
What is it?
This is the tip-top Volkswagen Amarok Aventura. It sits at the very top of the model’s line-up, packing all manner of features to make this already quite luxurious pick-up into an even more decadent affair. Though it may sit at the top of the tree in terms of price as well (our test car crunches in at close to £48,000), it’s there for people who want to have their cake and eat it.
And with a powerful 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine under the bonnet, this pick-up should have more than enough punch to match its imposing looks. Let’s see what it’s like.
The Amarok has been around for a little while now, but despite that it still looks fresh. Commercial vehicle-wise it ticks the boxes, capable of taking over a tonne in payload, and able to tow up to 3.1 tonnes. Though this latter figure is somewhat behind the industry standard (most can pull along up to 3.5 tonnes), it’s likely to be more than enough for most.
This Aventura model also benefits from a wealth of standard equipment, as well as plenty of badges unique to this specification.
What’s under the bonnet?
The Amarok Aventura uses the same 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that you’ll find powering the rest of the range but here things are turned up even further. It pushes out an impressive 254bhp and 580Nm of torque, meaning this big pick-up can crack 0-60mph in just 7.2 seconds and has a top speed of 127mph. It means that the Aventura claims the title as the fastest-accelerating pick-up on sale in the UK, eclipsing the Mercedes X-Class in the pace race.
Drive is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and though the front suspension uses McPherson-type struts, the rear remains good old-fashioned leaf springs – which the majority of pick-ups use because of their sturdiness and off-road orientation.
Economy is decent enough, given the vehicle’s size. Volkswagen claims that it’ll return 33.6mpg combined, while emitting 220g/km CO2.
What’s it like to drive?
Driving an Amarok has always been a pleasantly car-like experience, and this continues in the Aventura. The seating position is high, of course, but it’s far closer in driving style to a large SUV than an all-out pick-up. Low-speed ride quality is a touch fidgety, but at speed it feels remarkably refined and easy to drive. The steering at town speeds is helpfully light too, meaning driving it in urban areas is far easier than you’d think.
Of course, the sheer size of the thing takes some getting used to. Parking – despite the factory-fitted reversing camera and parking sensors – requires both concentration and a well-sized space; so you may find yourself leaving the truck far away from your destination, just in order to park easily.
How does it look?
The Amarok has never been a truck for shrinking violets, and the Aventura only plays up to this even further. You get 20-inch alloy wheels thrown in as part of the specification, along with plenty of bespoke Aventura badges. You even get large ‘4Motion’ (referring to the four-wheel-drive system the Amarok utilises) stickers slapped on the car’s flanks – a feature which may not be to everyone’s tastes.
It’s a square, boxy design but one which works very well. Our truck, finished in ‘Ravenna Blue’ looked particularly good. The bright daytime running lights give it even more presence, too.
What’s it like inside?
If you were expecting a typically rough-and-ready pick-up truck interior inside the Aventura, think again. You get a full leather cabin, with front seats that are both electrically adjustable and heated, too. It’s a very well-made place to be, and is – for the most part – absent of the scratchy plastics that you’d usually find inside a pick-up. The build quality is spot-on too, with no squeaks or rattles to be found.
Space-wise, there’s a decent amount of room with plenty of cubbies and a useful storage tray atop the dashboard. Things are a little tighter for those in the rear, with a reasonable amount of head and legroom available to people sat in the back.
What’s the spec like?
Given that the Aventura tops the list of Amaroks, it’ll come as no surprise that it’s accompanied by a wealth of standard equipment. You get cruise control, a leather multifunction steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system thrown in as part of the car’s price, as well as Volkswagen’s full Discover Navigation system. Though this latter featured is a touch behind passenger car systems (the unit’s screen seems very small compared to the ultra-wide displays a lot of cars are adopting now) it’s easy to operate and intuitive to use.
You also get front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view parking camera as standard. All three are incredibly useful in a car of this size – parking the Amarok can be a challenge at the best of times, given its sheer size.
Make no bones about it, £47,891 is a lot of money for a pick-up. The Amarok Aventura makes a sensible justification for itself with regards to that price tag, owing to its extensive list of standard equipment and surprisingly brisk performance. Does it offer enough over the previously tip-top Highline specification? Only just. But in terms of a go everywhere, do everything pick-up truck, the Amarok Aventura is hard to beat.
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