Driven: VW Amarok Canyon

Canyon. Or as we say in Mzansi, Kloof. I took everyone’s favourite VW bakkie to one of my favourite roads, Dutoitskloof Pass

What is it?
‘Du Toits Kloof’. Literally translated from Dutch it simply means The Tight Canyon. No? Wait let me Google that and… NO. Rather it is named after the 17th Century Huguenot pioneer, Francois Du Toit. That makes more sense, but the pass, the winding stretch of asphalt between Paarl and Worcester really is a pristine jaunt. Similarly, the big orange VW is a pleasure to pilot – powered by the marque’s creamy 3.0litre turbodiesel V6. But more on that later.

How does it look?
Like every other Amarok really, but orange as a sunset of Worcester – detailed with bold CANYON lettering. The actual metallic palette is called Honey Orange and its exclusive to the special edition, as is matte black door handles and a similarly darkened grille and wheel arches. Tucked into each of the latter you’ll encounter 17-inch Aragua rims and then there are the huge chrome-plated rear-view mirrors. In summary, styling is in your face – if somewhat dated.

What about living with it?
Hop aboard and you’ll encounter a typical VW cabin – sedate but stylish. And fairly upmarket for the segment, complete with partially leathered seating, more Honey Orange details littered amongst the seats, helm and seatbelts. There’s also a black-lined ceiling and embroidered floor mats. Fluff. But that’s typical fanfare for limited editions. Spec is copious as per the regular V6 Amarok with Bi-Xenon lamps (with daytime running LEDs), PDCs, parking assistance and more. Multimedia needs are met with an upgraded stereo system and satnav. My heated pews are an optional extra, one I’m glad the fleet manager opted for.

How does it go?
The V6 heart is good for 165kW and 550Nm from the get-go, with a ten second overboost dialing outputs up wot 180kW and 580Nm. What this means is that you’ll be able to roar from standstill to 100kph in a sporty (for a bakkie) 8 seconds. Chucking it around these roads is a top heavy experience, and the compliant (because 4×4) suspension means there’s a fair amount of body-roll but none too severe. There’s more than enough torque to pull cleanly from apex to apex – the V6 barely flexing. The steering is a similar story – a fair deal of feedback but it really has been engineered for a more forgiving dirt road experience. Overall, the Canyon goes well for a burly brute.

Should you buy one?
I mean, I wouldn’t personally buy any sort of bakkie for R852,800 – well, perhaps the Tesla Cybertruck. But judging by my neighbours, it’s a fairly solid investment. Bakkies are beloved in Mzansi, as are Volkswagens – so the Amarok has many fans and who wouldn’t want the marque’s best engine in theirs? Still, it is an 8-year-old luxury bakkie in a world where a similar (newer) Mercedes-Benz couldn’t cut it. Is it special enough? Only you can be the judge.

Quick Stats: VW Amarok Canyon
Price: R852,800*
Powertrain: 3.0l 4Motion 4wd,  165kW, 550Nm, (overboost 180kW, 580Nm) 8-speed auto
Performance: 0-100kph in 8.0 seconds

*Comes standard with a 3 year/ 100 000km manufacturer warranty, 5 year/ 90 000km Service Plan and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. The service interval is 15 000km.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *