Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles on Tuesday revealed full details of the long-awaited Amarok double cab pickup truck, the unit's fourth model line and the first mid-size, one-tonne pickup to be developed in Germany. The vehicle will soon go into production at the automaker's Pacheco plant in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is not VW's first foray into a sector that now accounts for an annual market volume of 2m vehicles worldwide - for several years in the 1990s it built versions of the Hilux truck under licence in Germany for Toyota to sell in European markets, and sold VW Taro-badged versions through its own commercial vehicle network.

"The new model unifies the robustness demanded of a pickup with innovative technology, high safety standards and top values in fuel efficiency, comfort and ergonomics," VW said.

The Amarok will initially be launched worldwide (apart from North America) in double-cab, four-door form while two door, single-cab versions will follow in the first half of 2011.

The launch engine is a 120kW/163PS version of VW's proven 2.0TDI turbodiesel with two-stage bi-turbo turbocharging and peak torque of 400Nm at 1,500 rpm. A 90kW/122PS I4 Tdi will follow in mid-2010. It has a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry and develops maximum torque of 340Nm from 2,000 rpm. Both engines will have a six-speed manual transmission as standard.

The four-wheel drive 122PS models uses as little as 7.6 litres per 100km (about 37mpg) and emits 199g CO2/km. The 163PS engine uses 7.8 litres/100km and emits 206g/km of CO2.

VW claims it is the first all wheel drive truck in its class with CO2 emissions under 200g/km. The 80-litre fuel tank gives the new pickup a theoretical range of over 1,000km (620 miles). All models will have an upshift indicator to aid economical driving.

Initial driveline choices will be full time, all wheel drive, switchable '4Motion' all wheel drive and rear wheel drive.

The full time all wheel drive version is rare in its class, VW said. Its Torsen differential distributes drive forces at a 40:60 ratio to the front and rear axles. Selective braking interventions in tough terrain to ensure that the most power goes to the wheel with the best traction.

A rear differential lock is optional on all versions.

Three equipment levels will be offered. The base version has manual windows, door locks and mirror adjustment, plain front bumper, door handles and mirrors for heavy duty use, 16-inch steel wheels, height-adjustable front seats, variable folding rear bench seat, locking glove compartment and cargo platform lighting. The antennas are integrated into the door mirrors.

The Trendline version has body colour front bumper, door handles and mirror housings, electric windows, locks and mirror adjustment, radio with CD player, semi automatic climate control ('Climatic'), multi-function dash display, cruise control, front fog lights and 16 inch aluminium wheels.

The Highline adds part chrome mirror housings, various exterior and interior chrome trim accents, body colour fender skirt extensions, 17-inch aluminium wheels, automatic climate control (Climatronic), leather trim inserts, an upgraded audio system and fabric seat covers.

A wide range of dealer fit accessories will include running boards and a cargo cover.

On a truck bed height of 525mm, the cargo area measures 2.52 sq m (1,555mm long, 1,620mm wide). VW is claiming a best in class 1,222mm width between wheel wells and said the Amarok is the first mid size pick up that can carry standardised 'Euro pallets' sideways, saving space. Payload capacity is up to 1.15t and the optional trailer hitch can handle up to 2.8t trailer load.

Standard or optional safety equipment includes four airbags, ESP, ASR, ABS and various other assistance systems such as an off road, antilock brake setting, electronic differential lock and hill descent assist.

For the first time in this vehicle class, when driving under 30km/h (about 20mph), the driver can individually set the driving speed for the given descent conditions by braking and accelerating.

The ESP system includes hill hold assist, which holds the vehicle in place while driving uphill until the driver presses the accelerator pedal enough to prevent rolling back.

The new truck line will be launched next year, first in South America, followed by Australia, South Africa and Europe.

VW expects the key markets will be South America, South Africa and Australia due to the popularity of pick-ups for both recreational and commercial use in those countries.

A VW spokesman indicated that North American sales were unlikely as the company did not have a commercial vehicle sales and service network in the US or Canada.

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