So far we have failed. Since the Sixties, the continent has been dominated by, first, the FJ - Japan’s bare-bones answer to the Series 1 Land Rover, as driven by Hammond in Bolivia - and latterly the Hilux. The cambered surface shifts second by second, deeper sand dragging the wheels off the road, hard ruts bouncing the tyres from the ground. Strategy Two is to drive as fast as possible and hope you’re past the kudu before it decides to bolt across the road. You’re on your own out here. No idea, sorry. On these roads, the factor limiting your speed isn’t avoiding licence points, but a desire for self-preservation. Volkswagen Amarok Aventura 2019 UK review Most luxurious VW pick-up is also the UK's fastest twin-cab, but SUV-rivalling price gives pause for thought Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 2018 review VW hasn’t released prices or trim details for the Amarok auto yet, but if they are competitive with the Hilux, L200 and Navara, Volkswagen is sure to … Even so, a smattering of wild horses, springbok and zebra wander the canyons, and however peaceable the stripy-pyjama-wearing horses might look, I’ve a sneaking suspicion that, faced with the choice of crunching through a sand dune of desiccated spiny shrubs or a plump, juicy Englishman, they’d rapidly ditch their long-held vegetarianism. The eight-speeder is familiar but for this application low gear is lower and top gear higher and the six in the middle spaced a little further apart, the whole thing taking advantage of the big (165 kilowatts) power output and much bigger (550 Newton metres) torque numbers. As it slithers up a long, dusty incline, it occurs to me how very good cars are at… surviving. It’s quiet and passably sophisticated, holding pace on motorways without reducing your ears to pulp. “Stresses the engine,” replied Hamface authoritatively. BMW M340d Touring xDrive review: secretly the best car BMW makes? I’ve no idea what adrenaline and skill is required to wrestle an F1 car on a Q3 hot lap, but I can’t imagine it’s a patch on piloting a sensible diesel pickup down a straight African road. The Ford Ranger might have the same limitations as all pick-up... A worthy contender in the pickup class, but no front-runner. This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Well, here’s the mission statement: “Delta4x4 builds cars for men who have no problem connecting with their inner child. This morning, I dropped the VW 500 feet down a near-vertical sand dune and squealed like a trapped pig all the way to the bottom. Stick a pickup in 50° heat or -20° cold, and it’ll soldier on regardless. This Amarok has been boosted with a 100mm lift kit, and heavy-duty Bilstein suspension. Breaking down now would definitely equal lightly browned, charbroiled death. And the Volkswagen Amarok is one of the very best – in fact it's so good we voted it our 2020 Pickup of the Year. Speed Week 2020: nine reasons you need a baby Porsche 917. If you want to conquer the toughest of the inhabited continents, this is what your vehicles have to survive. Badly. Much better than humans, certainly. Land Rover gives Bowler permission to use Defender shape for rally-raid racers. They are quite literally lifelines. Feel the grip shifting from tyre to tyre, gently coax the truck back into line, don’t jerk the wheel. Sure as hell no chance of a human finding us before we reached perfectly seared, pink-centred edibleness. This gnarly VW Amarok truck is ‘built for your inner child’, GTO Engineering's ‘Moderna’ will be a '60s inspired V12 sports car, The new VW Golf R has 316bhp, will drift*, The new VW Golf R has a different ‘R’ on its a*se, Top Gear’s Top 9: now that’s what I call breadvans, Ford Fiesta Ecoboost Hybrid review: the best small car money can buy. Most importantly, don’t crash. You don’t have to spec the whole ‘Beast’, oddly enough. The Amarok, hopes Wolfsburg, can bring a soupçon of car-like sophistication to a sector that regards digital clocks and electric windows as a bit nouveau. The kudu is a large, well-built deer with twisted, razor-tipped horns a metre and a half in length. Short of tipping it off a cliff or getting dictatorial on it with a Kalashnikov, we have done everything in our power to break this pickup. Because they simply refuse to break. It’s a great, gruff rhino of a thing, roaring lustily on the move, its utilitarian cabin designed to be wipe-clean in the event of, say, having to bludgeon a bloodthirsty leopard to death against the steering wheel. Bowler is building a new-old Defender with 567bhp, City, slicker: Honda City Turbo vs Honda e, Video: drifting the all-electric 1,400bhp Ford Mach-E. On the road, no pickup truck can match the best conventional SUVs for driving enjoyment or ride comfort. Just to make things interesting, a 50mph crosswind whips sand across the road and batters the Amarok’s bluff body. But how does the Amarok compare with rival pickups, such as the Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi L200? You’d never mistake it for a silky BMW six, but by the standards of ute engines, it’s a muted, smooth thing - and, most importantly, seemingly unflustered by its 50°C roasting. The first is which of the two 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines you'd like under the bonnet – one with 201bhp or one with a mighty 254bhp. No, it doesn’t mean ‘People’s Car’, it means ‘Properly Built Alternatives To Contemporary Brit Tat’. More specifically? At least you’re unlikely to be savaged by lions or leopards out here. Seven electric motors and a taste for drifting - the Mach-E 1400 likes to smoke. Out here, reliability and indestructibility are all. America, be afraid. A human will rapidly become cooked/frozen. “Aye, and what sort of consumption d’ye get from that?” snorted Afriscotsman. BBC Studios is a commercial company that is owned by the BBC (and just the BBC). Forget traffic alerts or DAB radio. This VW Amarok is the work of German outfit Delta4x4. There are no signs, no noticeboards, no warning you’re about to plummet into one of the world’s natural wonders, or even that it’s there. The Arctic-ready VW Amarok has its own coffee maker. Sand, cliffs, rock fields, the Amarok has devoured the lot, and all on standard, fully inflated road tyres. Bentley Mulliner review: an extra-posh Continental GT. I know this is how his name is spelt, because he wrote it down and ordered me to mention him. On dirt tracks, this means limiting yourself to about 20mph. That’s the problem with you Toyota lot. This is not for want of trying. But will the big VW still be going in the 2030s, clattering along with a seven-figure score on its odometer? Strategy One is to drive very slowly, making sure you have enough time to brake to a complete stop, should a kudu jump out in front of you. And, between the boulder-scrambling and the dune-sliding, thousands of miles of the sort of slippery, bumpy track we’re piling along now, vapour trails of dust billowing a mile behind our truck. If you get it wrong - sneeze and veer off the road, catch a rogue rock - you’ll flip for a few hundred yards, and then you’ll die. Which is why we have spent a week in one of Africa’s harshest corners, diligently trying to smash an Amarok to pieces. Seven electric motors and a taste for drifting - the Mach-E 1400 likes to smoke. Beware, too, the kudu. is part of Haymarket Automotive, a division of Haymarket Media Group © Haymarket Media Group 2019. There’s no mobile phone signal here: even if there were, what would you tell the rescue services? It’s not simply a case of keeping your eyes peeled, because kudu are a) impressively camouflaged, b) very fast and c) easily spooked by cars, meaning they have a nasty habit of bolting from nowhere across the road in front of you. BMW M340d Touring xDrive review: secretly the best car BMW makes? I lower the driver’s window, and am punched hard in the side of the head by a slug of brutal, dry heat, a fan-oven blast that sucks the moisture from my eyeballs and leaves me wheezing. What do you need to know about Delta4x4? The profits we make from it go back to BBC programme-makers to help fund great new BBC programmes. Not a chance. BBC is a trademark of the British Broadcasting Corporation. And watch out for the MurderZebras. What are you gonna do when you run out of fuel in the middle o’ nowhere? Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy. The Amarok seems up to the challenge. Get Top Gear news and reviews in your inbox, Enter your email address to receive regular Top Gear newsletters. Crikey. - two or three thousand tiny reed huts perched against a scorched, dusty hillside. Logos © 1996. A fine one, too: the 8spd ZF - a transmission we’ve already seen and admired in the Touareg, Phaeton and others - is as good as torque-converters get, shifting almost telepathically and refusing to be caught out on even the gnarliest boulder-crawls or dune-blasts. Volkswagen Reviews. You’re wondering what exactly it comprises, besides a literal truckload of attitude, aren’t you? But rural Africa is a rather slower nut to crack. See you in September.”. This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. And I’m not just talking about on the car: the dust finds its way into corners of your body you didn’t think could possibly get dusty. Even the name sounds like it was dreamt up by a nine year old: the VW Amarok ‘Beast Conversion’. Bumping along at, ahem, enthusiastic speeds, coolly cocooned within the Amarok’s air-conditioned cabin, I wonder if its temp gauge might be exaggerating. Want to survive? By clicking below you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. No running water, no sanitation, just basket-huts and few tin-shack shops - including, most interestingly, the ‘LIVING2GETHER BAR AND DRIVING SCHOOL’, unquestionably the most dangerous dual-function establishment since Barry’s Firearm and Magic Mushroom Mart. Most of the trucks on the roads here trickle down through the system over years, even decades. What do people here do if they want, y’know, stuff? Active suspension? “Turbo, eh?”, Before I could answer in the affirmative, the pinker, marginally less ham-like khaki-wearer interjected aggressively. Adding complication to a desert-bashing pickup might seem a recipe for disaster, but VW says the auto ‘box actually adds, er, simplicity: because eight ratios can cover such a wide spread, it negates the need for a low-range ‘box. Stop-start? You’re proud of sh*** consumption. Prove you can take a beating, VW, then we’ll admire your smart leather and dual-zone climate control. Welcome to Africa. Probably a good thing I didn’t mention our Amarok was packing not only a faddish turbodiesel but, even worse, an automatic gearbox. What do you need to know about Delta4x4? team. “And can you fix it when it goes wrong?” He wafted a sausage-like arm at his faded, double-cab Hilux, so dented it made the Defender look showroom-fresh. I am begrudgingly impressed. Progress report: 2020 Skoda Octavia vs 1964 Octavia Super, The Daewoo Bucrane was the budget V6 coupe we never got, Six reasons why the Giulia GTA is the mad Alfa we’ve been waiting for, Ford Fiesta Ecoboost Hybrid review: the best small car money can buy, Ford Transit Custom PHEV review: a plug-in hybrid van. “She’s got a turbo, and she’s gone half a million kilometres, no problems.”. And the second is which of four trim levels best suits your budget and desire for luxuries. I rapidly raise the window and conclude the Amarok is not exaggerating. Stopped for fuel a few days back in Kotzenshoop, right on the South African border, a couple of locals - both pink of face and khaki of attire - wandered over to peruse our pickup.

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