Volkswagen has updated its Amarok, but rather than focusing on what makes it rugged and tough, the changes are all about refinement. With a more powerful V6 diesel engine, more precise steering and shiny exterior highlights, the updated truck should offer a more car-like drive.
At the heart of the updated Amarok is a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine, tuned to provide prodigious pulling power from low revs. In the range-topping model, the new engine punches out 164 kW (221 hp) and there's 550 Nm (406 lb.ft) of torque on tap from just 1,500 rpm.
It seems low-down torque is a focus in the motoring world at the moment. Ford's fastidiously engineered EcoBlue diesel and VW's latest 1.5-liter Miller Cycle engine are both designed to offer peak torque from just above idle, and the Amarok's diesel gains 130 Nm (96 lb.ft) over its predecessor.
In spite of its improved performance, the range-topping V6 is expected to use around 7.6 L/100km (37 mpg) on the New European Drive Cycle and emit just 199 g/km of CO2. The impressive fuel economy figure is also, in part, down to the tall-geared 8-speed automatic gearbox, which allows the car to sit just above idle at freeway speeds and sip diesel parsimoniously.
Low-rev cruising also contributes to the sense of refinement in the cabin. Although there's no mention of an interior redesign from VW, the vehicle has been fitted with variable power steering for improved low-speed precision and better high-speed stability.
To set the new Amarok apart from its predecessor, VW has made a few very subtle tweaks to the exterior, including LED daytime running lights and optional 20-inch alloy wheels. On the range-topping model, there's also 17-inch brake discs at the front and 16-inch discs at the rear, as well as a post-collision braking system to stop you cannoning into the traffic in front after a rear-ender.
If you're worried about load capacity, there's still room for a Euro-pallet in the 2.52 m2 (27.13 ft2) load bay, and Volkswagen promises future models will have a 3.5 tonne (3.86 ton) towing capacity.
The updated Amarok will go on sale before the end of September 2016 in the UK. For buyers who can't stretch to the top of the range, the new engine will also be available in 120 kW (161 hp) and 150 kW (201 hp) tune.