Another Amarok First Drive

Some how I missed this article posted back in June on Canada MSN Autos.

Nice write up overall, the author hits on the major point stopping it from arriving in Canada, the much dreaded chicken tax. There were a couple of complaints that the author mentioned. The fact that it isn’t available in Canada was at the top of his list, he suggested calling all of our American friends and having them lobby Congress to get rid of the chicken tax. He also mentioned that Canadian competition was available with longer beds, perhaps he hasn’t seen the Amarok XXL, but I’m not certain if it is available in all markets. Finally he had comments on the cabin furnishings not being up to North American standards. The Amarok that I drove in Chile last summer was more than adequate as far as I was concerned, but perhaps not for everyone. However as the author pointed out, the Amarok will most likely see a refresh before we see it here on our shores.

Also notably there were a couple of comments from Thomas Tetzlaff.

VW Canada is “very interested in the vehicle, but the American ‘Chicken Tax’ makes its import Stateside very much a lost cause. Without the volume that could be generated by U.S. sales, the project costs are likely to make this a non-starter for us north of the border.”

Tetzlaff adds that VW Canada continues to evaluate the Amarok, “but I don’t want to create false hope.”

At this point with competition coming to the market, I will take an Amarok full of false hope, up until the day that I need to commit to a new vehicle.

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2015 Chevy Colorado (American Update)

So it looks like the American’s are a little bit ahead of us. If you go to chevrolet.com, you can find the Build Your Own feature for the 2015 Colorado available.

I did a quick check and the base price is $20,120 and a destination charge of $875, so the basic 4 cylinder with a 6 speed manual starts at under $21k. The other end of the scale for a crew cab with a long box, four wheel drive and the Z71 off road package brings the price to just over $35k. The prices for similarly equipped GMC Canyons should be just slightly higher, MRSP with destination charge for the base model is $21,880.

Hopefully we will get MRSP numbers for the Canadian models shortly, along with more information. I’m not going to look too seriously at one until the diesel becomes available in 2016.

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Stop 100

I recently became aware of the fact that the province of British Columbia has introduced a new maximum speed limit of 120 km/h for certain sections of divided highways. My native New Brunswick has had sections of divided highway at 110 km/h for approximately 15 years. So why do places like Ontario still have maximum speed limits of 100 km/h?

The first time I drove on the 401 in 1998, I simply followed along with traffic, everyone else was doing 130 km/h, so I just fell in with everyone else. Over all of my years of driving experience, I find that it is that one lone vehicle doing 85 km/h in a 100 zone that is the most dangerous. Everyone has to slow down, change lanes, move back, whereas if everyone was doing the same speed then there is a better flow.

The vast majority of drivers on highways like the 401 safely drive well above the posted speed limit on a regular basis.

There is an excellent video that Six7Films put together called “Speed Kills Your Pocketbook”, it is well worth the 15 minutes of your time. Available at the end of this post.

There is also another site, called stop100.ca, that is trying to raise awareness that we can safely increase the limits on Ontarian highways and it won’t result in the end of civilization.

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Nissan Frontier Diesel Prototype Drive Review

The writers over at Green Car Reports managed to get behind the wheel of a Nissan Frontier equipped with the same diesel that was in the concept vehicle shown at the 2014 Chicago Autoshow, their write-up can be found here.

The 2.8 litre diesel engine is supposed to have a 35% improvement on fuel economy over the comparable V6 gasoline engine. They noted that there were a few rough edges on truck as it is basically a normal Frontier with the diesel engine stuffed inside. The 2.8 litre diesel is paired up with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

One of the complaints that was noted was that to get the most performance out of the engine that the turbo had to be kept spooled up by driving with a heavier than normal foot, fuel economy would suffer, but more of the power was available. The Volkswagen Amarok avoids this to some degree by having a bi-turbo design. One turbo for the lower portion of the power band and another for the upper range, over all the VW solution does a better job dealing with the problem of turbo lag.

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Has Volkswagen Corporate Stepped Up Their Monitoring?

When I run a group of IP addresses through the stats engine of my blog, I find that VW Corporate have visited my blog on the following dates:

2012 – 24 October (There are other (non-VW) records back to 26 July 2012)

2013 – 9 January, 28 May, 4 June, 7 June, 29 August, 18 October, 21 November, 29 November

2014 – 10 January, 10 February, 21 February, 24 March, 10 April, 23 April, 5 May, 5 June, 6 June, 12 June, 16 June, 20 June, 27 June, 3 July

Not sure what this means, could be nothing more then a couple of different people within VW that have bookmarked my site and they are periodically checking for updates. The other possibility is that something is coming and VW is watching any blogs to see if anyone gets leaks before an official announcement.

Does anyone out there know anything? Is anyone sitting on some secret piece of information. Do tell, I will conceal my sources. :)

Steve

Note: After the initial posting they also visited on the dates listed below, but it doesn’t appear that they hit this page.

2014 – 8 July, 10 July

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Ram EcoDiesel Sales Numbers

There is an article over on PickupTrucks.com talking about the sales numbers for the optional 3.0 litre EcoDiesel in the Ram half-ton pickup.

Some of the interesting facts:

  • Initial orders totaled more than 10,000 units.
  • Currently a truck with the EcoDiesel sits on the lot for 13 days or less.
  • Cost for the diesel option is $2,850.
  • Engine often paired with higher trim packages that push the cost north of $50k USD.
  • This engine offers the best half-ton fuel economy 28 mpg.

Will the strong sales continue and what will happen when the Canyon/Colorado arrive with the Diesel option in a little over a years time.

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Amarok Ultimate

It appears that VW is making a small number of Amaroks available with the Ultimate brand.

“The Amorok Ultimate stakes out a higher level of poshness over plebian Amaroks with standard bi-xenon headlamps, a unique LED running lamp design, silver door mirror caps, and darkened taillights. The polished 19-inch “Aragonit” wheels, silver skid plate, and chrome side steps add more flash” – Car and Driver

For the moment it stands as another Amarok that we can’t have here in Canada. There isn’t any other news on the Amarok front as it relates to Canada, but rest assured that I will pass along anything that I hear.

2015-Volkswagen-Amarok-101

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More on the 2014 Wörthersee Amarok

So last year we had an Amarok completely kitted out for a day at the go-kart track with a mobile work shop and a go-kart mounted to the bed. This year the “Amarok Power”, as it has been named, is bringing the music. The Motor Report out of Austrailia is reporting that this years version will come complete with a 5000 watt sound system.

I few more pictures and details over on their article.

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Wörthersee 2014 Amarok

Pictures of this years Wörthersee Amarok have leaked to the internet. Complete gallery over at worldcarfans.com.

Not much information about the actual truck yet, but as I here more I will make another post.

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My American Readers, Would you buy a Canadian Amarok?

So I had a thought and I followed it up with a bit of quick research. It appears that it is relatively easy for an American to import a Canadian spec’d vehicle from Canada to the US. The website that I looked at basically broke the process down into four cases, the first case was that the vehicle met American specs as well, should be easy to import, the worst case was that the vehicle did not meet American emissions standards and would have to be specially imported. Assuming that the Amarok met American emission standards and the cost to modify the vehicle to meet other American standards were not huge would you import one?

Despite recent talks the chicken tax has not gone away, yet, so you would be looking at a 25% tariff on the cost of the vehicle, making it rather more expensive. However some people like what they like and have enough disposable income to justify to themselves the cost of expensive toys.

Note: Sorry about the link above, I couldn’t resist being a bit evil.

48 Hour update: So I posted a link to this post to a couple of Facebook groups that are dedicated to the Amarok coming to the US. At least a few people have indicated that they would buy a Canadian Amarok. Not scientific and not enough for real market research, but interesting none the less.

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