VW Passat Alltrack 2015 review

4 Sep, 2015 3:00pm Dean Gibson

New Volkswagen Passat Alltrack could be a great alternative to an SUV for rural travel


The VW Passat Alltrack only accounts for around five per cent of Passat sales, but it’s a great alternative to a full-fat SUV. The estate car body means it has bags of space for luggage and passengers, while the 4MOTION system has enough capability for some gentle off-roading. At £3,000 more than the Passat GT, it’s double the premium you’ll pay for a 4WD Mondeo, but you do get rugged looks to go with it.

The new car market is full of niches to cater for every taste, and one sector with a cult following is the crossover estate. The Volkswagen Passat Alltrack was something of a latecomer to the sector in 2012, but VW has been quicker off the mark with the new model, which is based on the latest estate launched at the start of the year.

As before, the Alltrack features a raised ride height (this time increased by 28mm over the standard car), grey plastic wheelarch and sill extensions and a host of matt silver bodywork additions to give it a more rugged look than the regular estate. Go for a standard colour, and the differences are subtle, but you do have the option of vivid Habanero Orange if you want greater visual impact.

Under the skin, the metal sump guard has been replaced by a strong yet lightweight plastic shield, while VW has added its fifth-generation 4MOTION four-wheel-drive system, which is claimed to be as responsive in slippery conditions as a permanent 4WD set-up.

The Alltrack’s high-quality cabin has been given a bit of a makeover, with part-Alcantara seats and a different trim finish for the dashboard. Alltrack models are specced to the same level as GT trim, so kit includes adaptive cruise control, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors and three-zone climate control. The multimedia system adds an off-road mode to show your bearing and height above sea level, although this is more of a gimmick than being of any practical use.

On the road, the Alltrack’s longer suspension travel gives an added softness to the ride when compared to the standard Passat, which is a bonus on bumpy roads. It also means the Alltrack isn’t quite as agile as the standard Passat, but it’s still a sharp performer when compared to rivals, while the standard Passat’s motorway ride is improved by the softer damping. Go for the optional Dynamic Chassis Control, and switching to Sport mode tightens the dampers to deliver cornering that’s just as good as the standard car’s.

UK-spec Alltracks will initially be offered with a 2.0 TDI diesel in two power outputs. The 148bhp model features a smooth six-speed manual gearbox, while the DSG-equipped car gets 187bhp. We tried the former, and with strong mid-range acceleration and plenty of torque, it will be more than capable of towing horse boxes and trailers.

The transmission itself doesn’t have a discernible impact on the way the Passat drives. It defaults to front-wheel drive in most situations, and there’s no transmission shunt as the electronics try to distribute power between the axles. On rough roads, the extra grip is a bonus, while the longer travel suspension irons out most surfaces.

Disqus - noscript

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: £30,885
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl diesel
  • Power: 148bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph/Top speed: 9.2 secs/127mph
  • Economy/CO2: 57.6mpg/130g/km
  • On sale: Now