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Long-term review

Volkswagen Amarok - long-term review

£55,440 / as tested £57,231 / PCM £599
Published: 30 May 2024

How do you prevent your pick-up luggage getting wet and/or stolen?

If you’re planning on using your double-cab pick-up to transport family-car-stuff rather than, say, livestock and girders, you’re probably going to need some kind of load cover. Unless, that is, you’re OK with all your family-car-stuff getting (a) wet, (b) dusty, (c) blown away, (d) stolen or (e) all of the above.

Our Amarok’s been fitted with VW’s official ‘RollTrac’ electric roll top (around £3,100 including VAT and fitting), which is, as roll tops go, a good one. Doesn’t take up too much space when furled, offers plenty of protection to whatever you’ve got stored under there, and retracts at the press of a button or the double-press of the key fob, the latter of which is handy right until you do so inadvertently, and only discover the cover’s unfurled itself when you spot your possessions flying merrily out the flatbed at 70mph on the M25.

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But, despite the additional fitment of the dirt and water defence kit (£360), just be warned the cover’s still not utterly, totally watertight. In full monsoon conditions, I’ve still found a bit of rain pooling on the flatbed with the top in place. That’s not a flaw specific to this roll top – or even to this Amarok – just a general challenge with trying to seal a big, flat area against the elements: a big, flat area that often travels at speed in bad weather.

So what’s the solution? Well, if you want to go Maximum SUV with your Amarok, instead of the roll top you could opt for a full hard-top (£3,500 including fitting and VAT for VW’s trade version, £4,000 for their snazzier ‘premium’ version), which on the upside gives you a vast watertight boot, but on the downside means you can no longer transport giraffes on your flatbed, at least not in one piece.

Or you could keep the roll cover and invest in one of the many, many bespoke storage solutions available. Dig around online and you’ll discover vendors prepared to offer you every imaginable configuration of tray, box and compartment for your Amarok’s rear, in exchange for large amounts of your hard-earned.

Or you could opt for my innovative waterproofing solution: stick with the roll cover, and store anything that really shouldn’t get wet (bedding, souffles, Gremlins) inside a big plastic bag.

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It’s hardly the most onerous compromise: for me, the convenience of having a vehicle into which I can fling muddy bikes or the contents of a shed clearance outweighs the inconvenience of remembering to keep a few bin bags on board. But it’s a reminder that the Amarok was, first and foremost, built to transport heavy, mucky, slimy things, not delicate breakable things that don’t like getting wet.

And if you’re thinking of adding a double-cab pick-up to your life, here’s another additional expense you’ll need to consider: buying a dog. Or, if you’ve already got a dog, upgrading it to a dog that looks the business hanging out on a flatbed. I don’t have a dog, but the more time I spend with the Amarok, the more I realise it really needs to be accessorised with a big farm mutt – Rhodesian Ridgeback, Bernese Mountain Dog, Unidentifiable But Enormous Mongrel – to ride in its bed around the country lanes.

Not just because it’d really complete the ‘functional rural’ look, but also: who needs a load cover to protect your luggage when you’ve got 45 kilos of sharp-toothed, hairy security detail in the back?

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