THE HUMBLE CANOPY JUST GOT HIGH-TECH
Ute canopies have always been fairly basic affairs. A fibreglass, plastic or metal shell encloses your tray and keeps the elements and unwanted attention away from your gear. Maybe they incorporated a couple of sliding windows and an extra brake light if you were lucky, but they were generally fairly low-tech – until now that is.
ARB has turned the canopy game on its head with the release of its new Ascent range of canopies constructed from sturdy and lightweight ABS plastic. Now the company has incorporated a bunch of clever additions to bring the technology into line with modern vehicles; and after fitting one up to Pat’s V6 Amarok, we have to say we’re impressed.
Given the Amarok’s wide body, the engineering team had to go back to the drawing board and design the product to fit securely over the ute tub. In fact the Vanishing Edge mounting has been specifically designed to fit almost seamlessly over the tray – which should work well at keeping the dust out. There’s even a slimline canopy vent to provide positive pressure inside the canopy to further keep the red powder from getting everywhere.
Two gullwing side windows allow easy access to either side of the tray, and even the front window can be lifted up for cleaning access and unobstructed rearward vision. An E-marked (road legal) LED brake light is integrated into the rear spoiler. The glass is even curved to match the vehicle’s shape, and the window locks are wired via a plug-n-play loom to operate off the vehicle’s central locking key fob… but that’s not even the coolest part. There are no handles on this bad boy. “But how do you get the thing open then?” I hear you ask. There’s a hidden switch on the leading edge of the canopy. Simply reach in and press a button and the windows and door electronically unlatch. Now that’s a handy thing in our book.
No mucking around with keys or catching fingers in manual latching mechanisms. Hit the button and your gear is instantly accessible! With a few trips already under the new canopy’s belt, this feature alone has proven its worth. To round it off, the roof can be optioned with integrated supports for a roof rack – something that a lot of canopies don’t offer – and the internal load supports barely affect the amount of internal space available. We’re not saying that ARB has re-invented the wheel here, but this canopy is like comparing a bling 17in bead-locked alloy with a factory steel rim. It not only looks the goods, but is functional too. Can’t argue with that.