From £19,620
If you really need 4WD, the rugged Volkswagen Alltrack is worth the price premium

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Passat 2011-2014
15 million VW Passats have been sold in 100 countries since its launch in 1973

The VW Passat is a competent family car - but does it show any flair?

22 February 2012

What is it?

This is the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, a raised, more rugged looking and, most importantly, four-wheel-drive extension of VW's Passat franchise. Volkswagen says the Alltrack neatly plugs the gap between its passenger cars, specifically the existing Passat range, and its more overly off-road SUVs.

As far as the UK is concerned, the Alltrack comes in two guises. Both are powered by the Volkswagen Group’s venerable 2.0 TDI, with one variant producing 138bhp and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as driven here, and the other producing 168bhp and driving via a six speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox.

Both models feature the latest generation of VW's Haldex-based 4Motion all-wheel drive system plus a small array of mechanical and cosmetic embellishments to provide a useful degree of off-road ability.

Suspension has been raised from 135 to 165mm to increase ground clearance while revised bumpers front and rear help to increase approach and departure angles to 16 and 13.6 degrees respectively. There's also a switchable off-road driving mode that activates a hill descent assist mode, alters the ABS and ESP responses, softens the throttle map and, in the DSG-equipped model, changes the gearbox's shift patterns.

What's it like?

Like a Passat estate, unsurprisingly, albeit a slightly taller one and with a well-specced interior. Volkswagen is pitching the Alltrack as something of a halo model within the Passat range now the CC has gone it alone and lost the 'Passat' tag. As such, the Alltrack comes as standard with an impressive range of kit – including Alcantara trim, dual-zone climate control and touch screen sat-nav – and a price to match.

The Passat has never really stood out as the enthusiast driver's choice but you can't deny its solid, well-rounded competence. The Alltrack has that in spades, but embellishes it with a potentially useful degree of off-road competence and enhanced towing capability.

On the road it's pretty refined save for some road noise at autobahn speeds – possibly down in part to the optional 18-inch wheels fitted. Otherwise the Passat Alltrack rides well and maintains good body control despite the increase in ride height, and feels extremely sure footed, particularly so under power at junctions, roundabouts and on cold, wet alpine roads. It's a slightly sterile driving experience but that comes as no real surprise given the car's lineage.

Off road, at least on the Austrian alpine ice and snow we sampled it on, the Alltrack is extremely impressive. The switchable off-road driving mode delivers remarkable traction allied to eye-opening stopping power and braking stability of the sort you'll hope you'll never need.

Should I buy one?

If you want all-wheel drive ability in a refined, well executed and relaxing-to-drive estate-shaped car rather than a more ostentatious-looking SUV then possibly, yes.

It's not cheap though. Volkswagen UK reckon the 138bhp manual Passat Alltrack we drove will cost around £28,500 when it goes on sale in July, and expect a premium of around £2500 on top of that for the higher-powered DSG-equipped car.

With the not-inconsiderable price in mind you might need to ask yourself whether you really do need the added all-terrain usability of the Alltrack over an otherwise well specified front-drive Passat estate. If the answer is, 'yes' then this all-wheel-drive incarnation delivers.

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI 140 BlueMotion Technology

Price as tested: £28,500 (est); 0-62mph: 10.9sec; Top speed: 123mph; Kerb weight: 1706kg; Economy: 49.6mpg (combined); CO2: 150g/km; Engine: 4 cyls in line, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Max power: 138bhp at 4200rpm; Max torque: 236lb ft at 3200rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
49

22 February 2012

Mine will be an Octavia Scout please - 180mm of ground clearance, more appropriately sized wheels and oh... 8000 pounds cheaper. Slightly tighter back seat, no VW badge, but who cares? Same drivetrain for the diesel.

22 February 2012

It seems quite heavy and expensive, but I really like this car. An R36 version would be nice...

22 February 2012

So the 168bhp DSG will add up to £31k.

RR Evoque Pure SD4 Auto £31,315

The RRE is quietly competitive.

22 February 2012

[quote Autocar]

What is it?


This is the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, a raised, more rugged looking and, most importantly, four-wheel-drive extension of VW's Passat franchise. Volkswagen says the Alltrack neatly plugs the gap between its passenger cars, specifically the existing Passat range, and its more overly off-road SUVs.



As far as the UK is concerned, the Alltrack comes in two guises. Both are powered by the Volkswagen Group’s venerable 2.0 TDI, with one variant producing 138bhp and m...Read the full article

[/quote] Why have we got such an artificial photo to introduce this new car. Photo taken in a studio &photo shopped onto the snow, not very convincing to me.

22 February 2012

Most pointless car in VW's line up. 4x4, estate model, diesel. Get a £21k Skoda Octavia and the best bit, its made by VW with a better reputation than it's owner.

23 February 2012

Wonder what the towing capacity will be ?

23 February 2012

[quote justi]

So the 168bhp DSG will add up to £31k.

RR Evoque Pure SD4 Auto £31,315

The RRE is quietly competitive.

[/quote] I doubt anyone would see these as alternatives. If you need to pose, VW is out. If you need function, RR is out.

23 February 2012

[quote Autocar]Volkswagen is pitching the Alltrack as something of a halo model within the Passat range now the CC has gone it alone and lost the 'Passat' tag. [/quote]

I struggle to see how this can be a halo model? Surely the definition of a halo model is car that creates a desirability at the top of the range which filters down and gets buyers in to the lesser models. This car has a niche but I would say it is no more desirable than any other model in their range.

As a car, like it's Skoda and Audi relations, I am sure it will do a fine job but it will only be a very niche model in the UK.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

23 February 2012

[quote lucasworldcars]Get a £21k Skoda Octavia and the best bit, its made by VW with a better reputation than it's owner.[/quote]

Most of the reason for the better reputation is that it's not VW that make Skodas - it's Skoda.

And if anyone wants more space than the Octavia Scout there's always the Superb in various 4x4 flavour s- no extra ride height though. Personally I think the Scout is rather handsome - it has a pleasing chunkiness to it. Shame they don't do it with the CR170 and DSG - that'd make a great car.

23 February 2012

i reckon it looks great. With the snow shots and the skis on the roof it actually looks like a 'lifestyle' car - more so than any SUV. i've always liked these types of car, whether Audi or VW, in fact if i were to ever trade handling and dynamics for anything it would be to buy one of these or an Audi Allroad.

I would also choose one of these of the skoda every time. Remember too, the octavia is based upon the mark 5 golf chassis ( i think, i may be wrong, it has been known!!), not this new new one and is actually a fair bit smaller inside, but horses for courses and all that!

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