VW Passat Alltrack

22 Feb, 2012 2:07pm Luke Madden

Rugged four-wheel-drive Volkswagen Passat Alltrack is a convincing SUV alternative

Verdict

3
The Passat Alltrack doesn't do too much wrong - in fact, it does quite a lot right. It is refined, smooth, comfortable and it handles well for a high-riding vehicle. But, it's hard to see who will buy this car when there's such a wide variety of excellent crossover vehicles on sale, from the Skoda Yeti to the Range Rover Evoque. Customers determined that the Alltrack is for them certainly won't be disappointed with their choice but we don't expect to see too many on the road.
If you don’t want an SUV, but you need a four-wheel-drive car that can tow and tackle slippery roads and muddy tracks your choice is limited. But, you can now add the all-new VW Passat Alltrack to a list of models that includes the Audi A4 Allroad and Volvo XC70.

Much of the estate car’s clean and sharp styling is intact, but the Alltrack gets a few additional rugged touches. For instance there are stainless steel underbody guards at the front and rear as well as matte chrome roof rails, wing-mirrors and grille.

The Passat Alltrack gets a few distinguishing features on the inside too, including 4MOTION badges and an Alltrack label on the centre console. The rest of the cabin is unchanged and, considering the standard Passat's understated, stylish design and top-notch build quality, that’s no bad thing.

The most important changes are underneath, including a ride-height which has been jacked up from 135mm to 165mm and the same four-wheel-drive system used in the Tiguan. This means that 90 per cent of the power goes to the front wheels under most conditions to save fuel, but that 100 per cent can be delivered to the rear axle when necessary.

There’s an off-road mode included too, which comes with hill descent assist, tweaks to the ABS system to provide better braking on loose surfaces. Wheelspin has also been reduced by quickening up the time it takes the electronic differential to react.

The Passat Alltrack is available in the UK with a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine producing 168bhp or 138bhp. We tried the lower powered unit with a six-speed manual gearbox, which never felt underpowered. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 10.9 seconds and while the more powerful engine is two seconds quicker, buyers won’t be disappointed with the cheaper engine. 

For the majority of the time the Alltrack will feel like any other Passat. The cabin is well isolated from engine, wind and road noise, while the soft suspension provides excellent ride comfort. Our car had the optional adaptive dampers and when set to Sport mode, the high-riding Passat feels surprisingly agile. 

It's still no sports car though. There’s a fair amount of body roll in the bends and the steering feels lifeless, although it is quick to respond. That said, the standard Passat suffers from similar complaints.

The downsides to having four-wheel drive are present, including the high running costs. Our model is the cleanest in the line-up and emits 150g/km, with fuel economy of 49.6mpg. 

On the plus side, there is a long list of standard equipment on each Alltrack model, including Alcantara upholstery, climate control, cruise control, sat-nav and 18-inch alloys. 

It doesn’t come cheap though, with prices for the most basic Passat Alltrack starting at £28,500. Looking at other cars in this class, the price tag is competitive, but buyers will really need to be convinced this is the car for them. Crossover models like the Nissan Qashqai will do the same job for less.

Disqus - noscript

Nice addition, ticks most of the box's, cheaper than the Audi A4 Allroad but sadly not cheap enough. Hard to justify this over the Octavia Scout which never gets a mention these days?

Does the same thing, has the same engine, has a modern, well-built, simplistic feel and best of all it is cheaper than all its rivals as it starts from £19k!
Octavia is a better all-round car anyway.
You buy these cars for heavy duty work.
So if you want to compare on a like for like basis, try the Outback Subaru then!

... not as attractive as the Audi.

Another winner from VW.

Another 4x4 hoarse!!!

Get yourself a 4x4 SUV and you are completely covered in every aspect.
These estates were an American fashion of the 70's which had been rightfully abandoned by the 90'S with the introduction of the MPV'S and right after with the SUV'S.
They are not selling anymore in the States.
Its puzzling to me that automakers here in Europe are still insisting in making them, especially for large chassis as the Passat, Superb, A6 and the likes.
They are all about 4.8 + meters long and have about the same load space than a 4.5-4.6 meter SUV.
Whats all the fuzz about them then?
Unless ofcourse if you want to carry a coffin in which case they seem better fit.

Should sell well where I live as it is a practical car for ski roads in the South Island of New Zealand. Our snow fields are gravel roads and having a full-size spare wheel is essential for safety. Last year my Audi A6 allroad had a flat tyre on a ski road. The space saver was downright dangerous even though I turned around and drove home very slowly. I had to replace both the flat tyre and the space saver tyre. It amazes me now that so many European SUVs have space saver tyres as it makes them unsafe to take off sealed roads!

Just configured an allroad to the same spec as my Skoda Superb Elegance 4x4 comes in at £36k against the £22k I paid or £26k list. Same engines, same 4x4 system, Skoda actually comes with a bit more kit, larger car, bigger boot and S class like rear leg room (no more kids kicking the back of your seat). OK the VW or Audi A6 Allroads look a bit better from the outside, though the Superb estate is big improvement over the saloon in that respect. Spec it in Beige leather with black carpets and splash out 140 quid for the burr walnut veneer (£315 in the passat) and its a very pleasent place to be. Great family car.
Autocar think you should do a comparison test: A6 Allroad, Passat Alltrack and Superb 4x4. See what's the best £ for £ (non SUV) 4x4 VAG product?

in australia the alltrack is almost the same price as the octavia scout and cheaper than the superbs ..

Key specs

* Price: From £28,500
* Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel
* Power: 138bhp
* Torque: 320Nm
* 0-62mph:10.9 seconds
* Economy: 49.6mpg
* CO2: 150g/km
* Equipment: Sat-nav, Bluetooth, 18-inch alloys, cruise control, climate control

AEX 1,339
For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links