- Looks great
- Loads of off-road kit
- Purposeful styling
- No petrol option
- Only two diesel engines
While this version of the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack is brand new, the idea isn't. The off-road estate car (think Subaru Outback, Audi A4 Allroad and Volvo XC70) has been around for more than 30 years, and to start with VW was right at the forefront.
Rewind to 1984 and the second generation Passat was the first passenger car fitted with the German firm’s “Syncro” system - later renamed 4Motion.
This system has been available in various forms throughout the Passat’s life, the most visually obvious being the Alltrack variant which debuted on the previous generation, complete with boosted ride height and off-road cladding. It offered a huge boot, a comfortable ride on the road, and four-wheel drive grip off of it.
And so we come to the new Alltrack, VW’s second attempt at creating the ultimate all-rounder.
Who needs an estate car that can go off-road?
Hear 4x4 and you will quite rightly think of something like a Toyota Land Cruiser lurching down a rutted jungle track.
While you’re unlikely to need that level of performance from an estate car in the UK, powering both axles provides considerable advantages to a vehicle that spends most of its time on-road.
These include everything from enhanced winter traction to the ability to tow a 2,200kg trailer across a muddy campsite without drama.
Having a Passat estate as its base means the Alltrack is extremely comfortable on the road, with a quiet cabin and supple suspension that dismisses ripples in the road surface.
Diesel engines only
Powering the Alltrack is a pair of diesel units, both 2-litre, but offering 148bhp with a six-speed manual box and 187bhp if you choose the six-speed DSG auto.
Both sit in the same VED tax bracket and offer similar fuel economy so it’s really a choice of which you prefer.
Trim options are limited to just one – but as it’s based on the Passat GT you get plenty of standard equipment including adaptive cruise control and sat nav, plus off-road-specific equipment like hill descent assist and an electronic differential lock.
If you need a spacious estate with a luxurious interior that can hold its own when the going gets rough, this car should be on your radar.
Read on for the comprehensive Parkers Volkswagen Passat Alltrack review.