2018 Volkswagen Amarok Dark Label Review

2018 volkswagen amarok dark label

The 2018 Volkswagen Amarok is achieving some big sales numbers, primarily on the back of the availability of a V6 engine.

And after sampling the V6 version of the Amarok this week I can see why the vehicle is winning over dual-cab ute buyers.

Compared to your standard four or five-cylinder (BT-50/Ranger) turbo-diesel offerings the Volkswagen is a step ahead.

Why? Because the V6-powered Volkswagen Amarok has the best power to weight ratio in the dual-cab ute segment.

Check out our guide to the different power to weight ratios in utes available in Australia.

There are only two things that go against the V6 Amarok – the price and the rear seat legroom.

As mentioned in our guide to dual-cab ute rear seat legroom – Volkswagen’s offering is well short of rivals with just 130mm of space between the rear of the drivers seat and the leading edge of the back seat.

That means, especially as a family hauler, the Volkswagen is at a disadvantage.

While here in Dark Label form you’re looking at a starting price of $62,990.

2018 volkswagen amarok dark label rear tubOn the Road

The 3.0 litre V6 turbo-diesel engine produces 185kW/550Nm and that means both healthy acceleration and plenty of torque too.

Is the V6 worth having? Absolutely! Especially if you drive a lot in city areas where you’re stopping and starting.

The 185kW gets the Amarok off the line nicely and provides good overtaking capabilities.

While 550Nm and a 3.5 tonne towing capacity make it ideal for towing too.

The Volkswagen Amarok ride is skewed a little more towards the firm side, but it isn’t uncomfortable – while the firmer feel ensures the Amarok handles quite nicely in the bends (i.e. not a lot of body roll).

I would say that the steering is a touch heavier than I might have expected. But I was impressed by the Volkswagen’s better than reasonable turning circle.

Transmission choice is one – an eight speed auto that smoothly delivers the power to all four wheels.

There isn’t low range 4×4 gearing, however the Volkswagen has off-road aids like Hill Descent Control and an Electronic Diff Lock on hand to help you when away from the bitumen.

2018 volkswagen amarok dark label interiorOn the Inside

Yes, a diesel engine, but no it isn’t noisy. The Volkswagen dual-cab seems really well insulated and it doesn’t appear to be a very noisy engine anyway.

The interior, like most other Volkswagens, is…like most other Volkswagens!

Gauges, controls, steering wheel etc. are all common across models like Golf and Polo even the Transporter and Crafter vans.

You get Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and digital radio too.

There’s a reverse camera and front and rear parking sensors on hand to help you get the big Volkswagen into parking spots.

The leather seats are nicely shaped and comfortable with plenty of adjustment and there’s a lumbar support function for the driver.

Visibility from the drivers seat is very good with the Amarok having large windows all round and adequately slim A pillars up front.

Cabin storage areas are a mixed bag – the centre console and glove box are small, however the door pockets, a storage spot on the forward section of the console, and on nook on the dashboard are all nicely-sized and usable.

There are power outlets front and rear too, however there are no rear air-conditioning vents and that’s a let down.

Legroom up front is decent/good, but again, in the rear there just isn’t a lot of space for teens/adults.

Access into the Amarok is via a standard central locking system (i.e. no key in pocket functionality) and even this top of the range variant misses out on push button ignition.

On a more positive note it is great to see the Amarok feature control buttons on the right hand side of the transmission selector – often Volkswagen vehicles have these on the left hand side and that makes them very hard to see from the drivers seat.

2018 volkswagen amarok dark label Standard Features

The flagship model in the Volkswagen Amarok range comes as standard with:

  • Reverse camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Leather seats
  • Digital radio
  • 18″ alloys
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Sat-nav
  • Heated front seats
  • Side steps
  • Under body protection

Safety

The Volkswagen Amarok is covered by a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.

The dual-cab offering though is yet to receive Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB). Check out our guide to the utes available with AEB.

2018 volkswagen amarok dark label rearSummary

As mentioned at the top – Volkswagen’s V6 Amarok leaves the four and five-cylinder competition in its dust.

Having 185kW on hand makes this ute a lot more SUV-like to drive (i.e. more enjoyable) and with the Amarok already having a great big truck kind of feel about it, it now feels like the complete package.

It’s also a good alternative to the increasingly popular North American-sourced pick-ups like the RAM 1500.

Rear seat legroom is an ongoing issue with the Amarok, while that starting price might make this attractive ute just a touch out of range for many buyers.

If that is the case though, remember, a lower-spec V6 Amarok is landing soon in Australia.

Facts and Figures: 2018 Volkswagen Amarok Dark Label

  • Engine: 3.0 litre V6 turbo-diesel producing 185kW/550Nm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed auto
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Warranty: Three years
  • Origin: Argentina
  • Price: from $62,990



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