Group test: Double-cab pick-ups


However, once up to normal road speeds the Steed lopes along nicely and the suspension is set up so that it won’t shake your fillings out.

Seats in the front and the back are big and comfortable and even on bumpy roads, the Steed provides a smooth ride.

The Steed’s rough edges really showed themselves up when we swapped into the Amarok.

VW was aiming for a true car-like experience on road – and that’s exactly what the manufacturer has achieved.

Despite the Amarok owing 21 horses to the Steed, it has more torque and felt more powerful.

The engine is whisper quiet, while steering is pin-sharp and gear changes slick and smooth.

Even on rough B-roads, this truck felt exactly like a car and absorbed all the bumps and dips.

The Ranger’s ride and handling have improved in leaps and bounds over the old model, but we did feel that it wasn’t quite up to that of the Amarok.

Gear changes were annoyingly clunky on our test model compared to the German rival and, on some of the rougher roads, not quite as many lumps were soaked up, although once underway the engine thrums away quietly and smoothly.

The D-Max, too, suffered from an annoyingly notchy gear change and a slight last-generation vagueness in the steering department.

However, there was no lack of power and drivers certainly won’t get left behind in traffic.

Off the road

Despite not having driver aids such as hill-hold control like the Amarok, our off-road test at the Steed’s launch saw it act in a very competent manner in the rough.

The D-Max, too, lacks all this techno wizardry, but we put the vehicle through its paces on a demanding off-road course recently and our nerve gave out long before the truck’s ability ran out.

Both the Ranger and Amarok have a variety of self-help items as standard, so if serious off-road use is anticipated and drivers lack experience in the rough, then these are the vehicles to choose.

Fuel and CO2

The D-Max rules the roost on fuel economy and CO2. It has the most powerful engine on test, but it nudges ahead of the Amarok on the combined cycle at 38.2mpg against 37.2mpg.

It puffs out the least CO2 as well, at 194g/km against the second-placed Amarok’s 199g/km.

The Ranger trails on 224g/km (although the 125bhp version matches the Amarok).

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.