The Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, a rugged version of the all-new Passat estate has been revealed at the Geneva motor show.
A lot of the key differences between the standard Passat Estate and the Alltrack are apparent from the outside, but Volkswagen is keen to emphasise that the new model is not merely a styling exercise.
Plastic wheelarch and sill trims are immediately obvious differences from the standard car. Both front and rear bumpers are unique to the Alltrack, designed to improve approach and departure angles when used on rough ground. For the same reason, there is a beefed up undershield to protect mechanical and structural components from damage. Ground clearance is improved by a 27.5mm hike in ride height.
All Passats have well appointed cabins and the Alltrack is no different. Metal trim and a unique Alcantara and fabric interior treatment are standard, although leather is available as an upgrade.
There are mechanical differences too. All Alltrack models are four-wheel drive as standard, using Volkswagen's intelligent, on-demand 4Motion system. This sees the car functionally front-wheel drive until grip is lost, when a Haldex coupling shares drive with the rear wheels to maintain traction. The electronic differential lock also pushes drive to whichever wheel has the most traction in low grip conditions.
In addition, on top of the standard 'Eco', 'Normal' and 'Sport' drive modes in a normal Passat, the Alltrack gets an 'Off Road' mode. This adjusts throttle response, braking input and the hill start and descent systems to ensure any adventures away from the road are kept under control.
The Alltrack range has five engine options which feature in the standard Passat line-up. There are a pair of turbocharged petrol models available in 148bhp and 217bhp forms, the latter only being available with a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
In addition, there are three diesel options, rated at 148, 187 and 237bhp, with the two higher output models being six-speed DSG automatics only. The lower output petrol and diesel models both have six-speed manual boxes.
The 217bhp petrol and 237bhp diesel models also feature Volkswagen's XDS+ system which applies the brakes to the inside wheels during fast cornering to maintain control of the car.
For those who need to tow, the provision of the standard Trailer Assist system helps take the pain out of reversing by automatically guiding steering inputs and showing the projected path of the trailer during manoeuvring. The driver just needs to operate the brake and accelerator.
As with all recent Volkswagen models, the infotainment is impressive and has support for Apple’s CarPlay as well as Google’s Android Auto and Mirror Link systems. The standard implementation gets a 5in display, but 6.5in and 8in upgrade options are available.