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First drive: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.

First drive: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
Wolfsburg's Audi A4 allroad challenger enters its second generation.

 



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Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

4 4 4 4 4

Another distinguished and supremely comfortable Volkswagen Passat estate model arrives in the form of the off-roading Alltrack wagon. With Haldex 4Motion all-wheel drive, a choice of two drivetrains and some neat styling additions, the Alltrack proves to be one of the most attractive and likeable of the B8 Passat variants.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI 190 DSG
Pricing: 2.0 TDI 150 from 30,885; 2.0 TDI 190 DSG from 33,935
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: six-speed dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door estate
CO2 emissions: 137g/km (VED Band E, 130 annually)
Combined economy: 54.3mpg
Top speed: 136mph
0-62mph: 8.0 seconds
Power: 190hp at 3,600- to 4,000rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,900- to 3,300rpm

What's this?

Volkswagen's flagship Alltrack model, the Passat, now into its second incarnation and joining the recently launched Golf Alltrack estate in the company's sub-SUV off-road line-up. It features the usual accoutrements of this type of car, in the form of rugged yet simplistic lower body protection, some silver detailing for the door mirrors and roof rails and a raised ride height. On this latter score, it's up by 27.5mm over a Passat Estate, raising the Alltrack to 174mm of ground clearance in total; as a note of reference, the Golf Alltrack is only 20mm higher than a Golf Estate. Subtle badging on the front and rear of the Passat completes the Alltrack look, as does Habanero Orange metallic paint (specific to the Alltrack) and some trapezoidal design details like the exhaust pipes. The net result is a great looking car that has more visual interest than any other current Passat.

Once again, Volkswagen has downplayed the Passat Alltrack's interior, in much the same way it does with the Golf sibling. Aside from an 'Alltrack' logo in front of the gear lever - and similar branding on the seat backs and door sills, both of which are obscured once occupants are installed and the car is on the move - it looks very much like a regular Passat cabin inside. This is no major failing, of course, as the Volkswagen has one of the best interiors in the class. The TFT instrument cluster (not coming to the UK until 2016) and a few extra off-road displays in various menus are well worth the entry fee, while it's extremely capacious and beautifully put together within. It'd just have been nice if Volkswagen did a bit more visually to differentiate it from the rest of the range.

The Alltrack is based on fairly well-equipped GT specification, which means adaptive cruise control, Discover satnav, three-zone climate control, all-round parking sensors, Bluetooth and more besides are all standard fit. One point to note: it is marginally less spacious in the boot, by 11 litres with seats both up and down, than the normal Passat Estate. That means it still has a huge 639 litres minimum, rising to 1,769 litres in total. The Alltrack can also tow 2.2 tonnes of braked trailer, making it an ideal hauler.

How does it drive?

The Alltrack's default mode is front-wheel drive, with torque able to be sent rearwards 'almost instantly' by the Haldex clutch when slip is detected. This means that the high-riding Passat wagon feels very similar to other versions of the big Volkswagen when on the road. It has nicely weighted steering, a superb ride, impressive levels of noise suppression and a generally luxurious air about it that is befitting of cars ten or fifteen thousand pounds more expensive. In line with the rest of the Passat range, the Alltrack is diesel only in an attempt to target fleet buyers - there's just one 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine, with either 150hp/340Nm and a six-speed manual gearbox, or the 190hp/400Nm six-speed DSG automatic as sampled here.

It's likely the 150hp will cream the majority of trade in Britain, with Volkswagen estimating five per cent of the total Passat Estate UK sales will be made up of Alltracks. It is marginally cleaner than the 190hp DSG, scraping into Band D for VED by the skin of its shiny plastic teeth at 130g/km CO2 - equating to one year of free tax and then 110 annually thereafter. But the 150's 57.6mpg economy is only marginally better than the 190's 54.3mpg figure, while it gives away more than a second when accelerating from a standstill to 62mph - the manual Alltrack requiring 9.2 seconds to the DSG's 8.0 seconds dead.

Is the 190hp model therefore worth the 3,050 premium? We think so. It's a fabulous engine and the Alltrack feels really rapid with it installed. The DSG is so silky at all times, even under hard acceleration, and the car feels nicely premium with a healthy 400Nm of torque propelling it along. It even managed to return 35mpg average over our test route, having been driven along a German autobahn at almost flat chat. The handling is like all other Passats - there is no penalty for the taller suspension, the Alltrack quelling roll brilliantly and providing plenty of grip. It's never truly exciting on the road but it does feel composed and biddable in the dry, while its wet-weather prowess should be immense.

An Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Assist and a special 'Off-Road' setting in the drive select menus mean the Passat is likely to be capable off the tarmac, but sadly we didn't have a chance to do any rough-road driving. Having sampled the Golf Alltrack on a moderately challenging route earlier in the year, we'd hazard a guess at the Passat being able to go a long way off-road should the need arise.

Verdict

Another quality entry into the Volkswagen Passat canon and, with its distinctive, classy styling, probably our favourite version of Wolfsburg's D-segment machine at the moment. It cruises serenely and is extremely comfortable in all situations, although the play-it-safe handling might not win many hearts. Nevertheless, until the new A4 allroad quattro arrives, the Passat Alltrack moves to the top of its segment. Can it see off the Audi newcomer in a few months' time? We look forward to finding out.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

5 5 5 5 5 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 7 Sep 2015









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2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.

2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.



2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. Image by Volkswagen.
 






 

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