SOMETIMES you get to drive a car that is so completely inappropriate and unfit for purpose that you fall head-over-heels in love with it.
Take myself and my latest ‘car crush’ for example.
I am someone who lives in the suburbs, works in a leafy area of Dublin 4, and has very few occasions to transport anything that would exceed the capacity of a good-sized saloon – but the only vehicle I want to own right now is the Volkswagen Amarok.
And I love this truck for all the wrong reasons, or, more accurately, I don’t love this truck for any of the right reasons.
It is unbelievably capable off the road, where I would almost certainly never take it if I owned one. It has incredible ground clearance, which I would never need as I would mount little more than the kerb. It has a rock-solid tail gate that folds down and remains secure enough for serious weight (this comes in handy when the kids want to play in the cargo hold to be fair).
There is a powerful four-wheel-drive setting, I’d never need it; there is an enormous amount of cargo space, the biggest cargo I will ever carry is a Christmas tree; it can handle extreme approach and departure angles as well as a wading depth in water of 500mm for driving through rivers… quite frankly, in water I prefer boats to cars – but it’s nice to know the Amarok is more than capable of carrying my kayak or windsurfer!
And if an 18-wheel articulated truck breaks down and causes the longest tailback in the history of the state – well, who ya gonna call? That’s right, me and my Amarok, that’s who!
For one glorious week I was lucky enough to navigate this behemoth around Dublin, sitting higher off the road than in any other vehicle I have tested.
I was like a little boy playing with the ultimate Tonka toy, and I loved every second.
And I was in good company, as the kids couldn’t get enough of it either.
We brought the Amarok to Dollymount Strand on a cold but gloriously bright Saturday afternoon earlier this month.
We cooked sausages in the boot and made hot chocolate in between walks up and down the beach and jumping in puddles – the Amarok was just the perfect companion and base station for the job, providing a ready-made, open shelter in the boot where we stuck some garden furniture cushions and blankets to keep five excitable kids warm and cosy.
So, maybe I did get filthy looks as I clogged up the narrow streets of Clontarf, maybe I’ll never carry anything bigger than a flat-packed chest of drawers from IKEA, and maybe the chances of me having to navigate a river in a truck are slim… but that doesn’t mean a vehicle like the Volkswagen Amarok can’t find its place for a suburban Dublin family. And who knows?
During the summer it might even be used for carrying all that outdoor sports gear the family got for Christmas!