"The Passat Alltrack is a four-wheel drive alternative to the usual large SUVs; and it's a good one too."
The Volkswagen Passat Alltrack is a new model based on the very latest VW Passat estate platform. Similar in concept to the Audi A4 Allroad and Subaru Outback, the Alltrack boasts four-wheel drive and raised suspension allowing it to travel more easily over unsurfaced roads and tracks. It's only available with a 2.0-litre diesel engine but this can be specified with either 138bhp or 168bhp. Buyers will get a driving experience that's very similar to a standard Passat, with a comfortable ride, quiet cabin and safe handling.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
There are no really cheap to run models in the Alltrack line-up, but that's mainly because it's only availble in four-wheel drive, which tends to hurt fuel economy. The best is the 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine that claims 150g/km and 49.6mpg.
Interior & comfort
Good sound insulation and supple suspension make the Alltrack a fantastic long distance cruiser. Bumps in the road are barely felt in the cabin and the engine noise isn't a problem unless you're accelerating very hard. The ACC suspension system allows drivers to pick between Comfort, Normal and Sport modes which translates to soft, normal or stiff suspension set ups. The cabin itself is extremely spacious, with loads of room in the boot and in the back seats too.
Practicality & boot space
Even with the rear seats in place the Passat Alltrack boasts 603 litres of space in the boot and once you fold all the seats flat, this expands to 1,641 litres. Compared to other models in this class, the Alltrack wins for outright space. If you're after a car that can tow then the Alltrack makes sense too because it can pull a maximum of 2,000kgs, which is 200kg more than a standard Passat.
Reliability & safety
Underneath this redesigned body is a car that's essentially unchanged from the old Passat. While that may sound bad, it's actually a positive because the car's internals have been proving themselves to be reliable for years now. A five star crash safety result is expected and Volkswagen will fit the Passat with systems to help prevent crashes, detect if you're tired and help you change lanes if you ask them to.
Engines, drive & performance
Passat Alltrack buyers can pick from 138bhp or 168bhp variants of a 2.0-litre diesel engine. Both engine provide plenty of power for towing and feel quick enough on the road too. The more powerful engine can sprint from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds. Despite a raised ride height the Alltrack feels much like a standard Passat to drive, so it's comfortable, handles competently and is very quiet too. It's more than capable of going off-road too thanks to the four-wheel drive system.
Price, value for money & options
The VW Passat Alltrack is cheaper than its rival the Audi A4 Allroad, but still comes at a premium over better value rivals like the Skoda Yeti SUV. In fact, the Yeti is better value in just about every way - but it won't be exactly what some buyers are looking for. Standard equipment on the Passat is decent, with alloy wheels, wheel arch protectors, digital radio, Bluetooth and a touch-screen display on every model. You also get four-wheel drive as standard, but that is surely the selling point for the Alltrack anyway.