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New Volkswagen Amarok Dark Label 2018 review

Special-edition Volkswagen Amarok Dark Label pick-up truck loads up on kit

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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The Volkswagen Amarok is a top pick-up, whichever engine or trim you choose. However, the Dark Label’s added value will largely depend on whether you rate the styling add-ons, which won’t be to all tastes. Personally, we’d go for the excellent Highline version and spend the extra cash on a few choice options.

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If you think special-edition specs and trims are reserved for city cars and superminis, think again. This is the limited-run Volkswagen Amarok Dark Label: a one-tonne pick-up with attitude.

It’s based on the flagship Amarok Highline, and just 200 examples will come to the UK. As the name suggests, each Dark Label truck is loaded with black trinkets – including 18-inch wheels, matt-black mirrors and black side steps. There is a choice of black or grey paint, too.

Inside, the Amarok Dark Label is less conspicuous. Aside from the bespoke floor mats, you’d be hard pressed to tell it apart from the standard VW. The seats are trimmed in Alcantara and there’s a black headlining, but it’s business as usual up front, with a small 6.33-inch infotainment screen and chunky buttons. A digital display sits between the speedo and rev counter, but the interior feels functional rather than particularly flash.

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With 201bhp and 500Nm of torque, the V6 diesel is stronger than any four-cylinder rival. It falls short of Mercedes’ more potent X 350 d, but is fast enough for UK roads. It’ll tow a trailer effortlessly.

No amount of black trim can change the way the Amarok drives, though. With an empty load bed it can, like many pick-ups, feel unwieldy. The body moves and rolls as the weight shifts from side to side, and pitches forcefully under heavy braking.

Power delivery feels sharp and the eight-speed auto is quick, but this truck is hard to drive smoothly. Still, the diesel is refined, with only occasional turbo whistle or a roar under full throttle.

The big issue is the price. At more than £41,000 (inc. VAT), the Dark Label carries a near-10 per cent premium over the equivalent Amarok Highline. Of course, business users can offset the VAT, but this is still an expensive choice.

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