GRR Garage: VW Amarok – 4 little niggles
Every car has its foibles. Even owning a Rolls-Royce is bound to come with some drawbacks. But if it's a good car then these minor issues won't ruin the overall owning experience. Thankfully for us our long-term Volkswagen Amarok has more than enough going for it that the below can't put us off. But, in the spirit of openness, what are the small annoyances of our big blue pick-up?
No keyless entry
You've spent over £40,000 on a car, you might expect that it would come with keyless entry? Sadly our Amarok hasn't been furnished with such luxury. Yes, it's a very minor quibble, but the old-fashioned VAG flip key does feel weird in 2019. The action in the ignition is quite weird too. Rather than the normal turn through and hold, turning the key acts like pushing a starter button. Hit a certain spot and the engine goes through the full start-up process, even if you release it straight away. It makes you wonder why there isn't just a button?
No rear-drive mode
The fun you can have in rear-wheel-drive mode, with the loadbay empty and a little bit of wet weather... Yeah, okay we're finding a real small issue here, but with that 3.0-litre V6 up front, imagine the slightly naughty time you could have if you could tell the car to send all that torque to just the rear wheels. Not that it would be particularly useful for lugging stuff around or going off road, the things that the Amarok was actually made for…
Load bay length
The Amarok has a very big load bay by area and the widest gap between the rear wheels of any car in its class, but as it's a double cab it's not that long. In our recent Christmas episode we had to fit our tree diagonally across the bay. Not the biggest issue in the world, but if you have ladders to transport, for example, then you'll be needing those bars for support. Then again, that's pretty much why those bars are there – problem solved.
Paddles only an option
A 3.0-litre V6, oodles of torque and a rather splendid torque-converter gearbox. It's a fantastic mix. But there's always that one time that you want to kick down three gears and you juuuust have to wait a few seconds before you can access any of the performance. Stick a couple of paddles on the wheel and you'll solve the issue. And you can, but they're an extra. If you always wonder why non-performance cars would come with wheel-mounted paddles, this is why: once you're used to that little bit of easy control then you miss it when it's gone. All is not lost though, as with all VAG boxes like this, you can slip the stick to the right and manually drop a couple of cogs. Problem solved, again.
There you go, the four biggest problems with 'our' Volkswagen Amarok are barely even issues. The sign of a good car?
MPG this week: 33.1
Photography by Tom Shaxson