DRIVE: VOLKSWAGEN AMAROK DARK LABEL

Volkswagen South Africa announced a special edition Amarok double cab bakkie (pickup). The vehicle is an addition to the growing model range that increasingly becomes popular in a country where the best-selling vehicle is a bakkie. Shall we say it again? We love our bakkies! And if you are a bakkie aficionado then you will love the Dark Label.

Based on the 2.0-litre Biturbo diesel engine with 132kW of power and 420Nm of torque, the Dark Label is dark grey hue, although there are plenty of black items on it. One such is the Dark Label marking on the exterior body side. New 18-inch Rawson alloy wheels are smoked to give that “darkness”, as well as the smoked taillights. The black MAXE styling bar gives the car a butch look, as do the door handles and matt exterior side mirrors. There’s also tinted side windows and black B-pillars as well.

The Amarok Dark Label features some pretty good specification, including LED daytime running lights, rear park distance control and bi-Xenon headlights. One of the Amarok’s salient selling points is the ability to load a European pallet sideways in the rear loading space, something not every bakkie can do.

Inside Volkswagen has installed Vienna leather seats, Dark Label lettering on the floor mats and a new Composition Media infotainment system with a touch screen and App Connect among others. Items like seat warmers and rear view camera are optional though. But overall there was definitely no skimping on standard specification in this vehicle and if you like your comfort creatures, there is very little else you could ask for.

As previously stated, the Biturbo has some real pull, even though some have been sceptical about it, preferring to rather go for a V6 model instead. It is paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission with 4Motion four-wheel-drive. The drive is exceptionally comfortable, even on uneven surfaces and gravel, giving it a more SUV-like feel than perhaps any other competitor. Volkswagen says it can accelerate from 0 – 100km/h in 11.3 seconds, reach a top speed of 179km/h but average 8.5 litres per 100km in diesel consumption from the 80 litre fuel tank. These are not bad figures, and in real life one can get pretty close to them, depending on driving style and conditions.

While it’s true that the Amarok Dark Label is really more a special edition Amarok with special edition features – rather than an all-new vehicle or even a facelift – it is a compelling buy for someone looking for a fresher, reasonably-priced leisure or work double cab.

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