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The launch of the Volkswagen Amarok early in 2011 changed the landscape of the 4×4 and 4×2 pickup segments in Australia. Volkswagen became the first European manufacturer to attempt a shakeup of the largely Japanese dominated sector for a slice of the 150,000+ unit/year categories.

Nonetheless, despite a great deal of hype and pre-launch promotions, Volkswagen sold just 2,649 Amaroks in 2011 (301 4x2s and 2,348 4x4s). Compared to 36,124 Toyota HiLux models and 21,675 Nissan Navaras, the Amarok wasn’t as successful as some had predicted.

This year the competition is hotter than before, with new challengers such as the highly acclaimed new Ford Ranger and its sibling, the Mazda BT-50, taking away more sales than ever before.

It’s fair to point out that the limited sales of the Amarok were mainly due to a lack of an automatic transmission option and limited drivetrain choice. The Volkswagen Amarok has only been available in a manual TDI400 diesel, until now.

2012 sees Volkswagen launch two new entry models to sit below the TDI400: Amarok TDI340 4×2 diesel and Amarok TSI340 4×2 petrol. The new diesel variant uses a slightly less powerful version of the TDI400’s 2.0-litre diesel which now develops 103 kW and 340 Nm of torque. Petrol lovers will feel at home with the 2.0-litre turbo powering the TSI300 (118kW and 300Nm).

The 4×2 TDI340 also takes the mantle of the most economical model in the lineup, sipping just 7.4L/100km on the combined city/highway cycle. The TSI300 does the same run using 9.6L/100km. Both variants can be had with either comfort or heavy duty suspension and are available with a Cab Chassis setup. The model’s biggest disadvantage – lack of an automatic transmission – will still be an issue until Volkswagen launches the eight-speed automatic Amarok in the second half of the year.

2012 Amarok Highline and Ultimate variants will also gain a multifunction steering wheel (one of our complaints when we reviewed the Amarok) whilst the Ultimate enjoys newly added heated seats. All variants will also gain daytime running lights as standard equipement.

Volkswagen Amarok TDI340 starts from $29,990 and Amarok TSI300 from $30,590.

 




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