Volkswagen Amarok Dark Label
The Amarok has been a success for the Volkswagen brand, particularly locally where it has established itself as a proper alternative for well-established players such as the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, and Isuzu D-Max which top the sales charts every month.
With a new Amarok due in 2022 and the current model celebrating a decade within the local market, it is expected that special edition models are introduced to infuse some vigour into the lineup which received some updates in 2019. We recently spent some time in the Amarok Dark Label, a cosmetically enhanced model based upon the Comfortline 2.0BiTDI variant.
The exterior of the Dark Label, as its name suggests, features a variety of darkened additions such as a matte black MAXE styling bar, matte black door handles, exterior mirrors, a grille with matte black edges and darkened chrome ledges, black B-pillars, black side sills, ‘Dark label’ stickers, smoked taillights and 18-inch alloy wheels in the ‘Rawson’ design.
The overall effect is a stealthy looking Amarok and a far more visually appealing package as a lifestyle bakkie than a standard Comfortline variant. Providing the budding lifestyle bakkie owner with Volkswagen's take on other successful special edition bakkies such as the Isuzu D-Max X-Rider Black and Nissan's Navara Stealth.
The changes to the interior of the Dark Label are less drastic with a darkened headliner, leather seats and floor mats with the ‘Dark Label’ insignia. Much like all Comfortline models the Dark Label comes with xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, front and rear Park Distance Control, a multifunction steering wheel as well as Volkswagen’s Composition Media infotainment system.
The model can be specified with heated seats, a heavy-duty rear suspension, rear-view camera, climate control, the improved discover Media infotainment system and rubberized floor covers.
With these options ticked, the Dark Label is essentially as well specified as a Highline Plus model, which retails for R20 000 more when comparing the base price, however, with the options ticked, the Dark Label will likely be more expensive than the Highline Plus, which may be worth it for those who are a fan of the styling.
Under the bonnet of the Dark Label is the now tried-and-tested 2.0-litre biturbo diesel that, when it was first released, caused a stir in the bakkie landscape with many wondering if a small-capacity motor producing 132 kW and 230 Nm of torque would be reliable.
Fast-forward to 2020 and most bakkies now feature small capacity turbodiesel motors, making the Amarok a trailblazer of sorts. Even a decade on, the Amarok impresses with its refinement and punchy powertrain.
The 8-speed automatic gearbox is an absolute treat and since the Dark Label features 4Motion all-wheel drive, there are niceties such as an off-road Electronic Stabilisation Programme. With 237mm of ground clearance, 500mm of wading depth and a 3 200kg braked towing capacity, the Amarok provides plenty in the way of off-road ability, despite not offering a low-range gearbox.
Our week of driving resulted in a combined consumption figure of 9.7 L/100km, which isn’t too far from the 8.5 L/100km claim and considering the large 80-litre fuel tank, a gentle right foot will see around 900km of range on a single tank.
Despite being an older product, the Amarok still manages to provide a competitive lifestyle double cab bakkie package to a market that is seemingly obsessed with bakkies. Despite the interesting styling, we found ourselves more tempted by the regular Highline 4Motion auto which retails for R700 700.
Warranty and service
The Amarok Dark Label comes with a 5-year/90 000km service plan as well as a 3-year/100 000km warranty.
Volkswagen Amarok 2.0BiTDI double cab Dark Label 4Motion R742 600