If you really need 4WD, the rugged Volkswagen Alltrack is worth the price premium

What is it?

This is the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, a raised, more rugged looking and, most importantly, four-wheel-drive extension of VW's Passat franchise. Volkswagen says the Alltrack neatly plugs the gap between its passenger cars, specifically the existing Passat range, and its more overly off-road SUVs.

As far as the UK is concerned, the Alltrack comes in two guises. Both are powered by the Volkswagen Group’s venerable 2.0 TDI, with one variant producing 138bhp and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as driven here, and the other producing 168bhp and driving via a six speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox.

Both models feature the latest generation of VW's Haldex-based 4Motion all-wheel drive system plus a small array of mechanical and cosmetic embellishments to provide a useful degree of off-road ability.

Suspension has been raised from 135 to 165mm to increase ground clearance while revised bumpers front and rear help to increase approach and departure angles to 16 and 13.6 degrees respectively. There's also a switchable off-road driving mode that activates a hill descent assist mode, alters the ABS and ESP responses, softens the throttle map and, in the DSG-equipped model, changes the gearbox's shift patterns.

What's it like?

Like a Passat estate, unsurprisingly, albeit a slightly taller one and with a well-specced interior. Volkswagen is pitching the Alltrack as something of a halo model within the Passat range now the CC has gone it alone and lost the 'Passat' tag. As such, the Alltrack comes as standard with an impressive range of kit – including Alcantara trim, dual-zone climate control and touch screen sat-nav – and a price to match.

The Passat has never really stood out as the enthusiast driver's choice but you can't deny its solid, well-rounded competence. The Alltrack has that in spades, but embellishes it with a potentially useful degree of off-road competence and enhanced towing capability.

On the road it's pretty refined save for some road noise at autobahn speeds – possibly down in part to the optional 18-inch wheels fitted. Otherwise the Passat Alltrack rides well and maintains good body control despite the increase in ride height, and feels extremely sure footed, particularly so under power at junctions, roundabouts and on cold, wet alpine roads. It's a slightly sterile driving experience but that comes as no real surprise given the car's lineage.

Off road, at least on the Austrian alpine ice and snow we sampled it on, the Alltrack is extremely impressive. The switchable off-road driving mode delivers remarkable traction allied to eye-opening stopping power and braking stability of the sort you'll hope you'll never need.

Should I buy one?

If you want all-wheel drive ability in a refined, well executed and relaxing-to-drive estate-shaped car rather than a more ostentatious-looking SUV then possibly, yes.

It's not cheap though. Volkswagen UK reckon the 138bhp manual Passat Alltrack we drove will cost around £28,500 when it goes on sale in July, and expect a premium of around £2500 on top of that for the higher-powered DSG-equipped car.

With the not-inconsiderable price in mind you might need to ask yourself whether you really do need the added all-terrain usability of the Alltrack over an otherwise well specified front-drive Passat estate. If the answer is, 'yes' then this all-wheel-drive incarnation delivers.

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Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI 140 BlueMotion Technology

Price as tested: £28,500 (est); 0-62mph: 10.9sec; Top speed: 123mph; Kerb weight: 1706kg; Economy: 49.6mpg (combined); CO2: 150g/km; Engine: 4 cyls in line, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Max power: 138bhp at 4200rpm; Max torque: 236lb ft at 3200rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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justi 1 March 2012

Re: Volkswagen Alltrack 2.0 TDI 140 BlueMotion

What a great read this thread is after a week away at work :-)

To give justified and ancient's perspective on the themes raised.

  • I was pointing out that this VW 140 bhp automotive-white-goods-old school-estate costs as much as a 190 bhp state-of-the-art cute ute. Both pretty much do the same job: lug some stuff and have 4wd. The bloke who posted that the Evoque was expensive after i wrote that it cost the same as the VW...try again.You will have to wait 6 months, but you can have an Evoque for sensible cash.
  • The guy who said it was too small cos he had kids...go and sit in an Evoque, It's like a Focus. cos that's what it started off as I guess. Loads of room, fundamental packaging sorted.
  • Vikkie Beckham helped with the pallette of colours I gather. She should know loads about that, David is always well turned out. I am pleased JLR tried something new (if its true!) other than getting Mr German Panzer to colour everything in Feldgrau as they do in so many others. Next up, the Evoque Gok Naked Convertible.
  • Red press pic cars. The VW is red cos it is white goods, they are trying to fool you.
  • White press pic cars. Awful in the metal on the road. Saw a BMW M3 taxi today....Evoque looks nasty in white. All SUVs look nasty in white outside of an oil state.
  • evo_ermine vs Fidji - trolltastic.

Fidji wrote:
I completely agree. The Evoque is a fashion accessory. This is much more functional, and in my opinion, a much better car.

There must be aload of fashion victim 50+ blokes round my way then. Agree with you that the mummys and girlies have bought them in white cos its a Rangie to match their aspirations, but boil the Evoque down and its a solid propositon.

  • Nice driving positon
  • Can put your stuff in it
  • Nice ride
  • Decent price v X3 Q5 VW Passat Dune etc etc
  • Goes over grass and sand and kerbs
  • is british (huzzah for blighty!)
  • Built in the right LR factory so it won't break like the Solihull products.

You don't like the car fidjit, ok, but i wouldn't call it a fashion accessory. I think it is functional and has captured something of the zeitgeist, like the BMW Mini did.

Thank you.

fast ed 24 February 2012

Re: Volkswagen Alltrack 2.0 TDI 140 BlueMotion

Off road, at least on the Austrian alpine ice and snow we sampled it on, the Alltrack is extremely impressive. The switchable off-road driving mode delivers remarkable traction allied to eye-opening stopping power and braking stability of the sort you'll hope you'll never need.

That will be the tyres (winter) then, not necessarily the car.

As due to the size of the current Passat and at a price of around £30K, then I'd get a volvo V70XC.

The Passat's i've driven have been ok, nothing special, never good enough to make me want to spend my own money on.

Or for £30K there are lots of 2nd hand premium 4x4's on the market.

polodriver 24 February 2012

Re: Volkswagen Alltrack 2.0 TDI 140 BlueMotion

TegTypeR wrote:
As a car, like it's Skoda and Audi relations, I am sure it will do a fine job but it will only be a very niche model in the UK.

Bit like the Polo Dune/CrossPolo, then. Remember them? Only 2WD, and launched at a glitzy hotel in Nice, with drives in the Alps. UK sales? Around 400: http://twitpic.com/78dp9p

Still sell the latest CrossPolo in many European countries, though...