REVIEW | Why the Volkswagen Amarok Canyon is more than just a special edition bakkie

2020 Volkswagen Amarok Canyon. Image: Quickpic
2020 Volkswagen Amarok Canyon. Image: Quickpic

As news of the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok surfaces via a teaser image, and with the end of production of the current vehicle set for 2022, here's a look back at the special edition version I drove earlier this year. 

The automaker released two limited edition models to spur on sales in bakkie-mad South Africa late in 2019. 

The Canyon costs R799 900, and for that chunk of change, you get a new 'Honey Orange' hue, Canyon decals, and impressive-looking 17-inch Aragua wheels. Those are the items that make the Canyon unique before you drop me an email laden with 'F-bombs'. 

FIRST LOOK | VW reveals teaser-image of its new Amarok double-cab bakkie 

Inside, the 'Honey Orange' theme continues with Canyon-edition partial leather seats with coloured stitching, seatbelts with orange-coloured seams, along with the steering wheel.

On the bakkie's floor, you'll find 'Canyon' embroidered mats, pedal cap in stainless steel, and an automatic dimming interior mirror.In terms of looks, it's hot. Bar the Ford Ranger Raptor; this bakkie has attracted the most attention. 

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                                                Image: Quickpic

With the styling on point, Volkswagen has fitted the Canyon with its 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine, the 'big daddy' in the range.Outputs are quoted at 165kW and 550Nm, and there is an overboost function that increases power to 180kW and torque to 580Nm for about 10 seconds. 

It feels helluva swift in the application and surprised me that a bakkie can move off the line this rapidly. 

VW reckons this particular model has a 0 to 100km/h sprint time of in eight seconds and a top speed of 193km/h.

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Having driven the Amarok on many occasions, it continues to offer the closest driving experience to that of a car. Don't get me wrong that isn't a bad thing.

It's easy to manoeuvre around city streets with the steering rack perfectly weighted for some spirited driving when the occasion arises. The eight-speed automatic torque converter adds to the classy driving experience and feels like it should be at home in a premium SUV. 

I'm well aware of the Amarok's impressive off-roading credentials having competed in numerous Spirit of Amarok competitions and driven close to a thousand kilometres in the Oman desert in 2018.. 

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                       Image: Quickpic

What I like most about the Amarok, and I'm sure many owners echo my sentiments, is how easy it is to live with. Volkswagen has kitted the Canyon model out with standard features like xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, front and rear parking distance control, and a nifty rear-view camera, radio composition media, and Apple CarPlay connectivity with voice control.

It has all the main features covered, and with the Canyon, Volkswagen has added a unique model to a range that has aged well (8 years in fact). The perceived build quality is good, and with the demise of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Volkswagen can rightfully claim the title as the only premium bakkie. I'm sure some Japanese and North American manufacturers may have something to say about that. 

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