The Volkswagen Passat Wagon is already a practical family hauler, but the new Passat Alltrack model takes it up a notch with added ride height and mild off-road ability.
Like the previous-generation Alltrack, the recipe is similar. Start with the Passat wagon, then infuse with a set of jacked up suspension and the latest generation 4MOTION all-wheel drive system, before adding a sprinkling of off-road driving mode and finish with a rugged body kit. Finally, serve with the Passat 140TDI’s powertrain and voila! The 2016 VW Passat Alltrack.
While its looks might be evolutionary, nearly every component is new. Indeed, like its wagon donor, the Alltrack moves onto VW’s versatile MQB platform.
As a result, the wheelbase has grown usefully for extra room but overall length and weight has dropped admirably.
In Australia, the Alltrack comes in a single, highly specified variant priced from $49,290 plus on-road costs. It utilises a 2.0-litre turbocharged TDI diesel engine producing 140kW and 400Nm of torque and is matched with a six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission.
And thanks to a ground clearance of up to 27.5mm above the standard Passat Wagon and additional under body armour to protect the engine and gearbox, there is substance to back up the Alltrack’s off-road style.
The extra ride height and long suspension travel have also been put to good use, giving the Alltrack a smooth and comfortable ride on the freeway. It will fidget slightly at around town speeds, but overall the car is composed and stable (minor body roll in corners is still evident but not excessive).
While Dynamic Chassis Control with adaptive dampers is available overseas, it isn’t offered on the local model, which could make the dampers firmer for better cornering ability.
The Passat Alltrack’s driver profile selector features a unique ‘Off-road mode’ in addition to the standard Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual modes.
It engages the Hill Descent Assist automatically, which regulates throttle and brakes autonomously to crawl down a slope (with a gradient of more than 10%) at speeds of no higher than 30km/h. It also changes the ABS regulation intervals to reduce stopping distance; perfect for light mud-plugging or gravel tackling duty.
Similar to the system in the all-wheel drive Golf R, the Alltrack’s 4Motion system predominantly drives the front wheels, but is capable of sending up to 100 per cent of the torque rearwards imperceptibly even before it detects a slip, thanks to an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, giving the car a planted feel when attacking corners.
And thanks to the clever all-wheel drive trickery, the Passat Alltrack gains an extra 200kg towing capacity compared to the front-drive wagon, towing up to 2,200kg. A full-size alloy spare and 12V sockets in the centre console, rear seat area and luggage compartment further enhances the car’s off-road credentials.
The Alltrack also comes with a decent cruising range of approximately 824km, thanks to a sizeable 70-litres fuel tank and 8.5L/100km in averaged combined fuel consumption.
The rest of the package is typically Passat Wagon – comfortable, practical, refined and well mannered.
There is a generous 639 litres of boot space (11 litres down on the wagon due to the rear transmission) and enough room for 5 adults. When not in used, the rear seat backs tumble down to reveal a vast 1,769 litres of flat cargo space accessed via a wide boot opening and level load lip.
The driving position is comfortable and supportive, thanks to Volkswagen’s “ergoComfort” seat, which features electric backrest, thigh support and lumbar support adjustments, along with leather upholstery.
At the back, rear seat passengers are pampered with their own climate control and equally comfy bench seats.
To set the interior apart from the regular Passat, there is Alltrack branding around the gearlever, floor mats and stainless steel sill tread plates. The horizontal ventilation strip and the door panels are also upgraded with the “Tracks” custom trim, while the centre console is enhanced with “Titanium” trim surrounding an 8-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system.
All controls are intuitively laid out and have an air of quality that is a step above rivals. The switchgear has a robust feel to them and fit and finish is class leading.
Pleasingly, the Passat Alltrack is also generously equipped, with the only options being the $700 metallic paint and $3,500 Luxury Pack.
Standard features include unique 18-inch “Kalamata” alloy wheels, tinted rear glass, 3-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, an 8-inch Discover Pro audio and satellite navigation system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, Bluetooth and electric tailgate.
Crucially, it is also armed with Front Assist including City Emergency Braking function that automatically applies the brakes in an emergency at speeds of up to 65km/h, along with 9 airbags (including rear sides and driver’s knee airbags).
Design and Comfort: 8.5/10
Performance and Handling: 7.5/10
Equipment and Features: 8.5/10
The 2016 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack brings further practicality and technology to the stylish Passat range.
Its high riding position is backed up by decent mild off-road ability and good on-road handling.
- Rugged, handsome styling
- Comfortable ride and decent handling
- Higher running costs and thirstier than Passat wagon
2016 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack pricing and specification:
|Price (excluding on-road costs):||From $42,290 / As tesed: $42,990*
· Indium Grey Metallic Paint: $700
|Warranty:||3 years/unlimited kilometres|
|Warranty Customer Assistance:||3 years roadside|
|Country of Origin:||Germany|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/15,000km|
|Engine:||2.0-litre in-line four cylinder turbo-diesel:
140kW @ 4,000rpm, 400Nm @ 1,750-3,000rpm
|Transmission:||6-speed dual-clutch transmission|
|Power-to-Weight Ratio (W/kg):||83.8|
|0-100km/h (seconds):||Claimed: 8.0|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 5.4 / Tested: 8.5|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||70|
|Body:||5-door wagon, 5 seats|
|Safety:||ANCAP not rated, 9 airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, ESP, Auto Hold, Multi-collision brake, Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), Extended Electronic Differential Lock (XDL), Driver Fatigue Detection system, parking sensors, reverse camera, rear traffic alert, Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, front and rear fog lamps, full-sized alloy spare, ISOFIX|
|Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:||4,777/1,832/1,506/2,791|
|Tare Mass (kg):||1,671|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||Braked: 2,200 / Unbraked: 750|
|Entertainment:||8” Discover Pro 8-speakers audio and satellite navigation system with AM/FM radio, CD Player, 2x SD card slots, 10GB internal storage, MP#, WMA and ACC music files, USB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink and voice operation|
Competitors: Skoda Octavia Scout, Subaru Outback