From £19,620
VW’s answer to the Audi A4 Allroad isn’t as effortless to drive as it ought to be

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Passat 2011-2014

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

What is it?

A nice idea on paper. Take one of the most practical and easy-to-live with estate cars there is, raise the ride height, give it four-wheel drive, a powerful diesel engine and a DSG gearbox, and then equip the interior with lots of toys and the exterior with a few subtle styling tweaks and you end up with the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack.

Sounds like a desirable package, then.

What's it like?

The Passat Alltrack is not a driver’s car, nor is it meant to be one. It’s supposed to be stylish and comfortable transport that blends into the background, asking no questions of the thousands of miles of service you’d expect of it.

In parts, it’s very well executed. The 168bhp 2.0 TDI engine is a particular highlight; it’s a brisk performer when you want it to be, and then a quiet, refined and efficient companion on long motorway runs, averaging around 42mpg.

The good work continues inside. The Alltrack has a very high spec as standard, and it’s a very comfortable place to cover motorway miles in. The driving position is excellent, the raised ride height offering a commanding view of the road. Sat-nav, six-way electrically adjustable seats, and plenty of leather and brushed metal trim are among the standard-fit items.

So with such a good engine and interior, it’s just a shame the rest of the car isn’t up to the same comfortable and easy-going standard. The six-speed DSG gearbox is the biggest problem; it’s far too hesitant and jerky when pulling away from junctions, and the integrated stop-start system is slow to react and can get confused in heavy stop-start traffic as to what it wants to do, suddenly cutting the engine just as you want to pull away.

The Alltrack also fails to hide its considerable mass. The ride is lumpy at low speeds and fidgety at higher speeds, meaning it never really settles into a comfortable cruise. The considerable kerb weight is also noticeable when cornering; there’s a lot of roll, even at moderate speeds.

Should I buy one?

There’s no denying the Passat Alltrack is a desirable car. It looks smart and is very well equipped as standard, and the security of four-wheel drive and an off-road mode may tempt some out of more expensive SUVs who like a raised driving position, the extra practicality and occasional off-road ability.

But the driving compromises are just too great. The Passat Alltrack doesn’t ride as well as you would expect it to, and although an automatic gearbox would seem a natural fit for a car of its size and weight, this six-speed DSG isn’t up to the job.

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI 170

Price: £31,030; 0-62mph: 8.9sec; Top speed: 131mph; Economy: 47.9mpg (combined); CO2: 155g/km; Kerb weight: 1725kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power: 168bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 6spd DSG

Join the debate

Comments
14

7 June 2012

I think it might be worth waiting around for the Skoda Superb outdoor, it will probably be a better compromise and at a more reasonable price.

28 November 2012

Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information..
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13 December 2012

Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject!
           as an example

7 June 2012

Will Autocar do a 3 way special when the Skoda comes in? Audi-v Skoda - v - Passat. Then throw in the 5 touring in X drive and give us the honest ups and downs? This is the kind of road test I believe readers want to have very much. Or do we have to wait for What Car to do this?

what's life without imagination

7 June 2012

There has been an increase in interest in 4-wheel drive vehicles in the UK since we started to experience what life was like with modern cars and periodic snow in winter. (Old cars used to cope better with their thinner tyres).

We've had 4x4s and crossovers, the next growth market could be in mainstream vehicles. I know that I have certainly got more interested in the idea of AWD, especially since BMW will be offering it on the latest 3-series.

7 June 2012

5wheels wrote:

Will Autocar do a 3 way special when the Skoda comes in? Audi-v Skoda - v - Passat. Then throw in the 5 touring in X drive and give us the honest ups and downs? This is the kind of road test I believe readers want to have very much. Or do we have to wait for What Car to do this?

Personally if you threw in the 508RXH as well, or whatever it's called, then i'd read it...otherwise that's the kind of test that woul.....zzzzz

8 June 2012

michael knight wrote:

5wheels wrote:

Will Autocar do a 3 way special when the Skoda comes in? Audi-v Skoda - v - Passat. Then throw in the 5 touring in X drive and give us the honest ups and downs? This is the kind of road test I believe readers want to have very much. Or do we have to wait for What Car to do this?

Personally if you threw in the 508RXH as well, or whatever it's called, then i'd read it...otherwise that's the kind of test that woul.....zzzzz

508 - whats that? Dont mean a french copy of a Japanese car do you??? PLEASE dont make me larf. This test I am thinking should NOT include SUV's of any kind - only 4wd estates - throw in a scoobie yes, but no mini SUV (Duster-Yeti) because they are not load luggers, Do Volvo still make an estate AWD? (not that I would ever want one) and certainly no SUV's - they are another story/market

what's life without imagination

8 June 2012

[508 - whats that? Dont mean a french copy of a Japanese car do you??? PLEASE dont make me larf]

 

I think you may have to refresh yourself with Peugeot's latest car releases or you'll be the one to be larffed at. http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/peugeot/508/first-drives/peugeot-508-rxh

10 June 2012

5wheels wrote:

508 - whats that? Dont mean a french copy of a Japanese car do you??? PLEASE dont make me larf. This test I am thinking should NOT include SUV's of any kind - 

Erh, the 508 is an Estate, NOT an SUV of any kind. Who's having the larf...

 

7 June 2012

Be still my beating heart!

  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

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