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On-test: Pimped Amarok brings extra spec


Atacama is VW’s latest edition of its popular Amarok pickup. It sits above the range-topping Highline model, and boasts additional specification to make days at the wheel more enjoyable and perhaps a tad more comfortable. Geoff Ashcroft reports.

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Pearlescent black finish is one of three colours available for the Amarok Atacama.
Pearlescent black finish is one of three colours available for the Amarok Atacama.

Among the interior appointments is the use of leather upholstery, a new style of leather, upholstered multi-function steering wheel and the fitment of Climatronic, VW’s dual zone air conditioning. Heated front seats, electrically heated and adjustable mirrors and an extended multi-function display are also part of the package.


Of greater use to many perhaps, will be the load bay and its revised finish. Covered in a hard-wearing finish designed to protect the working area, this spray coating offers a grippier surface than a lacquered paint finish.


Atacama sits above the range-topping Highline model, and boasts additional specification.

The pickup also gets a black rear styling bar, black foil finish to the B-pillars and a black rear bumper with integrated step, compared to the standard model’s chrome bumper.


Rear privacy glass, 19-inch alloy wheels and model-specific decals complete the package.


Solid white is the default colour, but Atacama models are available in metallic blue and pearlescent black, both available at a cost of £558.


Under the bonnet, the Amarok Atacama sticks with VW’s twin-turbo 180hp engine. There is a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed auto transmissions - the latter is by far the best choice, and was fitted to our test model.


A ZF unit, the gearbox glides effortlessly through the first half of its ratios without using much throttle, hinting at the potential for fuel economy.


Lockable hard tonneau cover is a £1,502 option.

To make the most of its 180hp, pulling back on the gear level puts the gearbox into S mode, and lights up the Amarok. You won’t get anywhere near the claimed 35.3mpg though, if you do.


While the autobox costs £2,200 over the manual, it transforms the way the Amarok drives, and it packs a higher towing capacity too – up to 3,200kg compared to the manual version’s 3,000kg.


While this is a truck that neither excites nor disappoints, the arrival of this special edition package continues to push the price tag ever closer to thirty grand, for business users able to reclaim VAT. And that’s a lot of cash for a double cab pickup.


Need to know

  • Model: Amarok Atacama
  • Price: £25,105+vat (£27,173+vat as tested)
  • Engine: 1,968cc, four-cylinder twin turbo diesel, 180hp @ 4,000rpm, 420Nm @ 1,750rpm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed auto
  • Performance: 11.3sec 0-62mph, 108mph, 35.3mpg combined, 211g/km
  • Towing capacity: 3,200kgs
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