VW Passat Alltrack

7 Sep, 2012 4:00pm Tom Phillips

Is the new entry-level version of the four-wheel-drive Volkswagen Passat Alltrack the best yet?


VW predicts that the Alltrack will account for only five per cent of Passat Estate sales this year – because despite the ability, tech and price of this base model, it’s still a tough sell. Off-road models such as Skoda’s Yeti can tow more, are more capable off-road and cost a fair bit less.

We’ve driven the VW Passat Alltrack before, but while its ability has always impressed, we haven’t been so keen on its price. That’s why this entry-level model could make so much sense.

It’s powered by a 138bhp version of the range-topper’s 168bhp 2.0-litre TDI, yet feels barely any slower: 0-62mph takes 10.3 seconds as opposed to 8.9 seconds. The best news for buyers, though, is that the 2,000kg towing limit is the same.

This is helped by the Alltrack’s standard 4WD. It gives strong grip on slippery surfaces but, as 90 per cent of the power goes to the front tyres under normal conditions, the car feels just like driving a normal VW Passat. That means predictable and safe handling, but not much involvement for real enthusiasts.

On the plus side, the Alltrack’s suspension is 30mm higher than the standard car’s. This improves the Passat’s already excellent ride quality, helping it to float over large bumps and making long journeys a breeze for everyone on board.

And despite the fact that this is the cheapest Alltrack you can buy, at £28,480, it certainly doesn’t look like a budget machine. Beefed-up bumpers and subtle matt chrome details add a touch of class, while the standard car’s bulletproof, high-quality and practical interior remains.

But even though this is the best-value Alltrack, it’s still not good enough to compete. A Skoda Yeti with more kit and similar performance is around £4,000 cheaper.

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Anyone who spends nearly £29k on a Passat with stupid bumpers needs their head checking. Much rather a buy a used Honda CRV or Toyota RAV4 and keep the change. Both are infinitely more desirable and more reliable and will hold values better than this POS from VW.

The car, like the price, is a joke. No two ways about it.

The Yeti may be a better overall light offroad vehicle, but I can not for one minute believe anyone looking at the Passat also having a Yeti on their shopping list, one is a pimped up postman pat van and the other is a semi premium estate with the bonus of a raised ride height and AWD, completely different markets.

Anyone who thinks the Yeti is a pimped up van has clearly never been in one. Mine has heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control, a touchscreen stereo and more. Also the same CR170 engine as the higher spec Alltrack and the same Haldex AWD system.

If you can get past Jasper Carrot style ignorance the two more similar than different. The Passat has some nice extras available as options (such as the ventilated massage seats) and, of course, has a bigger boot, which will be important to some, whereas the Yeti is less expensive and better to drive, both on and off road.

Why the Skoda bashing? Is it jealousy because the Skoda Superb Estate beat the VW Passat Estate in an Auto Express road-test and became COTY winner in Estate and Hatch forms 3 years running??? I do believe road testers of the 2010 overall Auto Express COTY winner, the Yeti, also described it as having a cabin with the build quality of an Audi, and better than a VW. It is also extremely capable off road. Personally, I'd prefer the Skoda Octavia Scout, which Top Gear placed above the Audi A4 Allroad. Badge snobbery....you have to laugh and feel pity for the shallowness of the minor few who still can't get past it and think that the VW badge raises their image!

I dont understand why Skoda fans are so defensive about there brand and needing to prove the point that there cars are just as good - of course they are; the VAG group cars are all the same beneath the bonnet - with most people it comes down to what you can afford - i drive a golf but would like an A3 but could not justify the 3K premium on price but its right for me - i would not drive the equivalent Skoda or Seat as i love the Golf! And this Alltrack is a cracking car and i would have it over a yeti others would not as they prefer value for money which the skoda brands sums up brilliantly

I don't get the Passat/Yeti comparison either. I'm a current Scout owner and, although the alltrack is definitely on the list for my next car, the Yeti certainly isn't. The Skoda is fine, but the Passat a little bigger for growing kids, and I can justify the premium for the VW interior over the Skoda.

I cannot comprehend how the Honda or Toyota can be considered more desirable that the Passat. Cannot comprehend at all, especially the ugly, tacky RAV4

Key specs

  • Price: £28,480
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 138bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph/Top speed: 10.3 secs/123mph
  • Economy/CO2: 49.6mpg/150g/km
  • Equipment: 18-inch wheels, DAB radio and touchscreen sat-nav, off-road suspension, parking sensors
  • On sale: Now