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The Darkside Difference – VW Amarok Darkside Edition review

Launched in 2010, the VW Amarok burst into the Ute/truck scene to critical acclaim. VW group build quality, Euro styling and (the now overused) car-like interior. It was, and still is, a ute that is tough enough to do the grunt work during the day, yet doesn’t look out of place when pulling up at a classy hotel and throwing the keys to the Valet. Even the fussiest of families feel fine jumping on board. 

VW Amarok Darkside Edition review NZ

However, a lot (and I mean A LOT) has happened in the past decade, from Orange haired business tycoons taking up residence in the Oval office to three new Star Wars movies reaching the silver screen (and heaps more in between), but through all of this, the Wolf (‘Amarok’ in Inuit), has remained relevant by up tweaking things here and there, launching a powerful 580Nm V6 engine and offering consumers a variety of limited editions, the latest and greatest of which being the Darkside.

Simply put, the V6 Darkside Edition has the VW team raiding their extensive parts department and coming up with a sinister but standout addition the Amarok range. 

“The powerful V6 580 is a BIG crowd-pleaser, as is the 4Motion”

Dave McLeod

Shrouded in Carbon Steel Metalic paint, tip to toe, top to bottom, the premium ute has received attention. Up front, the grille is ‘black styled’ with chrome highlights, the front and rear bumpers, door handles and mirrors are black too. There are gloss black ‘Nerf bars’ running along the sills and the sports bar in the rear tray is, yes you’ve guessed it, black. The 4Motion brand on the rear quarter has been blackened out and there’s a very subtle ‘Darkside’ brand underneath the Amarok name on the rear tailgate. The 20-inch Taica wheels are gloss black and even the tail lights have a darkened shadow to their lens.

VW Amarok Darkside Edition review NZ

The interior continues with the Darkside theme, with a gloss black trim that runs the length of the dash and the ‘ArtVelours’ seats have a bit of a carbon fibre theme to them too. Infotainment comes via a 6.33-inch touchscreen and the powerful 6-speaker stereo only ever plays Floyd’s Darkside of the Moon (I added the last part for effect).

VW Amarok Darkside Edition review NZ

To top it all off, under the dark bonnet lies the very impressive VW V6 turbo diesel engine. It offers up 200kW of power (with overboost) and 580Nm of torque from as little as 1,400rpm. Zero to 100km/h comes at 7.3 seconds and fuel consumption is 8.9L/100km. 

VW Amarok Darkside Edition review NZ

I had the Darkside for a week and set it multiple tasks. First and foremost, impress the family. Football season is back on so training games are back on the calendar. Dirty boots and kit in the tray and heated seats in the cabin meant smiles all round. Weekly grocery shop offered tight parking exercises (but the sensors did their job to full effect) and gave no stress for the Amarok’s 702kg payload – however, it did require a bit of grocery rebagging upon arrival home – needed to take a bag tie.

The ute’s steering is light and breezy which is perfect for the city but a little too easy on the open road for my personal liking, however, the powerful V6 is a BIG crowd-pleaser, as is the 4 Motion. 

Terrains offer little resistance to the Amarok, tar seal, gravel, even heavily-corrugated gravel, the ride is comfortable and enjoyable. Not sure the road tyres would fare well on soft mud but I know for a fact that the 4Motion system is up for the task.

VW Amarok Darkside Edition review NZ

It seems odd to still be raving about a 10-year old ute, but the reality is that it’s virtually as relevant today as it was when it first rolled off the production line. And this VW Amarok Darkside Edition is different enough to feel like something very special – that’s some dark forces at work right there.

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