Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Diesel engines only – with 148bhp and 187bhp
  • Manual gearbox on the lower powered, DSG auto on the latter
  • Similar fuel economy and identical tax costs for both


There is not a huge amount of variety in Volkswagen Passat Alltrack performance, as your only engine choice is between a 2-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp.

The lower-powered unit produces 130g/km of CO2 and promises 57.6mpg. It’s still quick, though, with a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds.

Pick the 187bhp unit if that’s not fast enough, which cracks the benchmark sprint in eight seconds flat. It’ll cost the same a year in tax like the 148bhp model thanks to CO2 of 137g/km, and returns 54.3mpg.

We've driven these engines in other Volkswagen cars and found the lower powered unit to be the sweeter tune. There's nothing wrong with the 187bhp but in the real world it doesn't feel a lot faster and makes more noise at the top end.

Gearboxes

A simple choice here – go for the 148bhp and you get a manual, pick the 187bhp and you get a DSG automatic.

The six-speed manual is standard VW group, with decent control weights and accurate shifts.

Likewise the six-speed DSG, which is seriously quick and providing you’re not going flat out, goes about its business with trademark imperceptibility.

Paddles behind the wheel seem a bit incongruous in a car like this but are useful for getting the Alltrack to stay in a low gear when off-roading. On the tarmac however you're better off letting the gearbox shift for you.

  • Raised ride height for off-roading has little effect on road
  • Still a comfortable cruiser especially on the motorway
  • Handling is safe and assured while cornering


In order to cope with driving over jagged rocks and rutted trails the Passat Alltrack has been hoisted up by 27.5mm, giving you a ground clearance of 174mm.

Although it’s no sports car, there’s a good amount of body control and the 4Motion four-wheel drive system apportions power between the axles to ensure you’ve always got grip.

As a result the Passat Alltrack feels safe and tied down on a twisty road, but never particularly engaging.

The steering is light at low speeds to enable easy manoeuvres and parking but it weights up on the move.

If it's still to light for you then select the Dynamic Chassis Control option which allows the choice of several handling modes, including "Sport" which enables flatter cornering and sharper steering.

Comfort mode softens things up considerably and gives the Alltrack a cushiony ride, particularly on the motorway.