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by Tim Beissmann

Volkswagen has released the first official pictures of its production-ready Amarok ute before its global launch early next year.

The images show a vehicle stylistically very similar to the Search and Rescue Robust Pick Up concept that VW has been parading around on beaches since September 2008.

Small chrome details near the front fog lights lead the changes to the exterior, with the Amarok still sharing its strong family resemblance with the new Transporter and Golf ranges.

Shots of the cabin reveal a more refined, car-like arrangement of the instruments and centre console, abandoning the bland, plastic appearance of the concept and embracing the famed high-quality fit-and-finish of its VW siblings.

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Production of the four-door double cab version will begin in Buenos Aires, Argentina, early next year and the single cab model will follow in 2011.

Drive comes from two 2.0-litre diesel engines and a six-speed manual transmission.

The entry-level Amarok produces 90kW and 340Nm, while the higher-spec model increases performance to 120kW, with 400Nm of torque available from 1500 rpm.

A direct-injection petrol engine is also in the works.

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Emissions from the 120kW version are 206 g/km CO2 and the 90kW unit sneaks in at 199 g/km, making VW’s new ute the first all-wheel drive pick-up in its class to pump out less than 200 g/km.

Permanent four-wheel drive is an option and the Amarok can also be driven in rear-wheel drive and switchable modes.

It features a Torsen differential to distribute drive at a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles, and electronic differential lock (EDL) and off-road ABS are also offered.

ESP, Hill Decent and Hill Hold Assist – which prevents the vehicle from rolling back by holding it in place on inclines until the driver presses the accelerator pedal – round out the list of technical gear, while four airbags also come as standard.

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Payload capacity tops out at 1.15 tonnes with a maximum towing limit of 2.8 tonnes, and its 1555 mm long and 1620 mm wide cargo area (2.52 m²) is also class leading.

Pricing details and range specifications will be announced closer to the Amarok’s Australian launch in late 2010.




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