VOLKSWAGEN HAS OFFICIALLY joined the mid-range pick-up segment this week, with the unveiling of the 2010 Volkswagen Amarok.
Today's unveiling of the production Amarok follows an announcement last month that the Amarok will act as the official support vehicle for the 2010 Dakar Rally, ahead of its market launch in South America.
Importantly, Australia is considered a key market for the Amarok.
Forming the fourth model series in the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand, the Amarok is the first one-tonne class pick-up to be developed in Germany.
The Amarok will launch with a four-door double-cab layout, and a single-cab model will arrive in the first half of 2011.
Power will be provided by two turbo-diesel engines, the first a bi-turbo 2.0 TDI diesel engine developing 120kW and 400Nm of torque, and the second a smaller diesel producing 90kW and 250Nm of torque.
Fuel consumption for the 2.0 litre is listed at just 7.8 l/100km, the smaller diesel achieving a similar 7.6 l/100km fuel economy.
CO2 emissions are listed at 206g/km and 199g/km respectively - the first time an all-wheel-drive in this class has achieved an emissions rating below 200g/km.
With an 80 litre fuel tank, Volkswagen claims the Amarok will be good for distances over 1000km, and an 'upshift' indicator features in the dash of each Amarok to suggest the ideal time to change gear.
Three drive variants will be offered; full-time all-wheel-drive, switchable all-wheel-drive and, in the case of the entry-level model, rear-wheel-drive.
The all-wheel-drive models make use of Volkswagen's 4MOTION system. The switchable AWD models wear a red "4" badge, and the full-time AWD models a black "4".
All three drive types will be offered with the option of a rear differential lock.
Three equipment levels will be available on the Amarok. The base version is a strictly no-frills affair, with manual operation of the windows, door locks and mirror adjustment (whether this bare-bones model will be offered in Australia remains to be seen).
The base version wears an unpainted front bumper, door handles and mirrors, which Volkswagen says makes it ideal for heavy duty work. The base Amarok also wears 16-inch steel wheels.
While a largely no-frills package, the base Amarok does get height-adjustable seats, variable folding rear bench seat, locking glove compartment and cargo platform lighting. The outside mirrors also feature integrated antennas.
Next up in the range is the Amarok Trendline, featuring body-coloured front bumper, door handles and mirror housings.
Window lifts, door locking and mirror adjustment are all electrically operated, and a CD radio, climate control, multi-function display, cruise control and front foglights are all standard.
The Trendline sits on 16-inch aluminium wheels.
The range-topping Amarok Highline builds on the Trendline with chrome-trimmed mirror housings, chrome accents inside and out, body-coloured fender skirt extensions and 17-inch aluminium wheels.
Depending on vehicle configuration, a colour contrasting instrument panel is available with the Highline, along with automatic climate control, leather detailing, high-end stereo sound and fabric seat trim.
Accessories for the Amarok range include a styling bar, running boards, cargo cover, Multi-Connect load securing system (standard on Trendline and Highline) and a selection of alloy wheels.
Volkswagen says the Amarok's interior space is the greatest in its class, with full seating for five and ample legroom for passengers on the rear bench.
The Amarok's cargo area is 2.52 square metres (1555mm long, 1620mm wide), including a "best in class" 1222mm wide space between the wheel wells, making it possible to load European palettes sideways.
The Amarok will carry a payload up to 1.15 tonne, and tow up to 2.8 tonnes on a braked load.
For safety, the Amarok features ABS and Off-Road ABS, ASR and Electronic Differential Lock as standard. All Amarok models are fitted with ESP plus Hill Hold Assist.
Height-adjustable head restrains and seatbelts are featured at all five seating positions, and pretensioners are featured on the front seats.
A full complement of airbags are featured, including side and curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger.
The Amarok will launch first in South America, followed by Australia, South Africa and Europe.
Volkswagen says Australia is a key market for the Amarok, with the pick-up being one of the most sought-after recreational and commercial vehicles in the country.
Pricing and launch details have yet to be revealed, but more details will likely be available closer to the Amarok's launch.