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VW Amarok slips under HiLux

Price cut: Volkswagen's Amarok ute range will gain a new entry-level variant, the TDI340.

New Amarok TDI340 dual-cab undercuts HiLux as VW one-tonner gets $2000 cheaper

13 May 2011

VOLKSWAGEN will reduce the admission price of its HiLux-chasing Amarok dual-cab ute to $31,990 (plus on-road costs) by adding a new entry-level variant dubbed the TDI340.

Reducing the Amarok starting price by $2000, the new base model will be $600 cheaper than its most direct rival within Toyota’s top-selling utility range, the 2WD SR dual-cab diesel pick-up ($32,590 plus ORCs).

The Amarok TD340 shares the same specification as the previous range-opener, the Amarok TDI400 2WD manual ($33,990), but is powered by a lower-output version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.

As its name suggests, instead of the TDI400’s 120kW/400Nm peak figures, the TDI340 produces 90kW of power at 3850rpm (150rpm lower the TDI400 engine) and 340Nm of torque.

Matched exclusively with the same six-speed ZF manual transmission, it is unclear whether the TDI340 will be more economical than TDI400 2WD, which returns just 7.7L/100km.

As with other Amarok models, two load configurations will be available for the new TDI340: the standard heavy-duty set-up with 3+2 leaf springs offering a GVM of 3040kg and payload of almost 1200kg the other with a no-cost ‘Comfort’ suspension option with 3+1 leaf springs, a 2820kg GVM and a payload of almost one tonne.

Like all other Amarok twin-cabs, the four-door five-seater TDI340 comes with a braked towing capacity of 2800kg (750kg unbraked).

3 center imageStandard equipment remains the same as the TDI400 2WD, including twin front and side head/thorax airbags, front seatbelt tensioners, five three-point seatbelts and head restraints for all five occupants, plus electronic stability control and ABS brakes.

The TDI340 also offers the 2WD TDI400’s 16-inch steel wheels, ‘Spacer’ cloth trim, power windows/mirrors, air-conditioning, AM/FM/CD audio and reach/rake-adjustable steering wheel.

Launched in Australia in late February but yet to become available nationwide, the Amarok 4x4 has attracted about 250 sales to April this year, while just 10 4x2s have found homes.

Once fully stocked, however, the Amarok will receive a significant sales spike next year via the addition of cheaper two-door single-cab body and 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine versions, plus an eight-speed automatic transmission.

For the first time, that will give Volkswagen full coverage of Australia’s booming ute segment, which will be bolstered within months by locally redesigned versions of Ford’s Ranger and Mazda’s BT-50 and, next year, all-new HiLux and Isuzu D-Max models.

Before the next Amarok reinforcements arrive, however, Volkswagen Group Australia will continue its relentless new-model-a-month product rollout this year.

The Prius-rivalling Golf BlueMotion and facelifted Eos coupe-convertible will be launched next week, followed by the all-new Touareg luxury SUV in July, followed by the redesigned Jetta small sedan in August.

Then will come the facelifted Tiguan compact SUV and limited-run Golf Edition 35 in September, and the new Golf Cabrio in November.

Before VW kicks off 2012 with the belated Australian release of the Scirocco R coupe (for which it is now taking expressions of interest) and then launches the new Beetle and, perhaps, all-new Up city-car, its Czech sister brand will finally fire up with its all-new Yeti compact SUV and Fabia vRS hot hatch and wagon twins mid-year.

Beyond that, Skoda is also talking of producing its own derivative of the Up micro and VW has hinted at a piping-hot Polo R, but has reportedly binned its plan to produce a showroom version of the mid-engined BlueSport roadster concept - and along with it sister models from Audi and Porsche.

VW sales have continued to soar this year in Australia, where Europe's number one auto-maker out-sold Honda for the first time in April to be the nation's eighth most popular brand last month and the ninth best selling so far in 2011.

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