What is it?
The second-generation Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, unveiled at the Geneva motor show back in March. The high-riding four-wheel-drive estate is planned to head into UK showrooms in October at an entry-level price of £30,885.
Based on the sharply styled eighth-generation Passat Estate, the new Passat Alltrack is set apart from its sibling by a series of subtle exterior styling changes similar to those adopted by its predecessor.
Most apparent are the unique front bumper, which receives a silver plastic scuff plate and black plastic valance panel, and the integrated foglights on higher-end versions.
Further changes include the addition of Alltrack badges on the grille and front wings, silver and black mirror housings, integrated roof rails, black cladding within the wheelarches and along the sills and a new rear bumper with a black plastic valance panel housing trapezoidal-shaped chromed tailpipes.
The Passat Alltrack is also fitted with superior underbody protection and, with new springs and dampers, boasts a ride height of 174mm – 28mm more than that of the standard Passat Estate. Wheels are 18in as standard, as fitted to our test car, or even larger 19s are optional.
For now, the Passat Alltrack will be offered with two engines in the UK. These are the 148bhp (as tested here) and 187bhp versions of Volkswagen's 2.0 TDI engine. The former comes with a six-speed manual gearbox only, the latter a six-speed auto. As with the first-generation Passat Alltrack, this second-generation model features an electro-mechanical multi-plate clutch 4Motion four-wheel drive system as standard.
What's it like?
The second generation Passat Alltrack is a competent and likeable family car that’s as at home in an urban environment as it is out on the open road.
Like the latest Passat Estate, the Alltrack is eminently practical and very roomy. There’s plenty of accommodation both front and rear as well as a generous 639 litres of luggage space underneath the cargo blind.
The Alltrack also offers a level of finish within its interior that shames that of many higher-priced alternatives. Helping to differentiate its cabin from that of its sibling are standard stainless steel sill plates and uniquely upholstered seats.
The added ride height provides the driver with a more commanding view of the road, while the four-wheel drive system delivers impressive traction, yet in everyday driving its dynamic abilities and overall comfort are virtually indistinguishable from those of the excellent Passat Estate 4Motion, making the Alltrack ideally suited to those who spend most of their time on road but seek a car capable of handling mild off-road excursions.
The 148bhp version of VW’s 2.0 TDI engine is perfectly suited to the Alltrack, providing it with a flexible delivery and strong character well into the mid-range, along with a good combination of performance and economy. Official claims are for a 0-62mph time of 9.2sec and a 127mph top speed for the latter transmission, with combined economy of 57.7mpg and average CO2 emissions of 130g/km.
The Alltrack comes with Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual driving modes, the last of which allows the driver to tailor the characteristics of the steering, throttle and gearbox to their liking, while an optional adaptive chassis control system brings with it a fifth driving mode, called Off-road.