The Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
The Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

Caroline drives the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack.

Watch my video review or scroll down to read a review:

Four wheel drive estate cars are niche products. They are the preference of upmarket folk who live in the country or in a salubrious suburb of our capital city. With the SUV boom and the clamour for tank-like proportions on the road, the estate car has found itself pushed out so far that you’re almost a quirky type if you choose to go the long and lean route. Drive an estate car? You’re the new alternative.

However Volkswagen really does have this small market nailed with the new Passat Alltrack, which has arrived here for the first time in the model’s history. It’s a four wheel drive version of a standard Passat estate. It will take you from the road to the rough in a lot of style and comfort.

Go for Habanero Orange, a vibrant orange exclusive to the Alltrack, and there’s no mistaking the fact that the Alltrack is a bit special. Grey plastic cladding along the car’s lower extremities, a raised ride height, silver roof rails and the twinkle of some chrome, give the Alltrack an imposing presence.

The interior of the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
The interior of the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

How big is the Passat Estate inside?

Inside it’s the big, comfy, robust car you want it to be, with a sleek interior design and premium finish. The boot will carry 639 litres with the rear seats up, and expands to 1769 litres with the rear seats folded down. In terms of equipment it’s got all the essentials as standard. There’s adaptive cruise control, electric windows and electric folding mirrors, a touchscreen infotainment system including navigation, heated front seats, air conditioning, alloy wheels and front fog lights.

Power comes from a 2.0-litre diesel with two different power outputs depending on which gearbox you go for. It’s 150bhp with the manual, but I tested the higher powered version  with the DSG automatic transmission and 190bhp.

I did three motorway trips in three days in the Passat Alltrack. Each time I stepped out of the car I felt like getting back into it and heading out on the road again. There was just not enough time to do all the driving I could have done in this. It’s an overwhelmingly powerful and smooth car to drive. With four wheel drive, it puts its power to the road with little fuss, even in the most dismal of weather. The extra height and weight is apparent – there’s lean in fast corners – and you don’t exactly feel light on the road, but it’s a small compromise for all this comfort.

What can a Volkswagen Passat Estate tow?

And what should happen if you do venture off road? A drive selector allows you to toggle between normal, sport, eco and off-road modes. The latter includes a hill ascent and hill descent control to help you look awesome at off-roading. The Passat Alltrack has a towing load of up to 2.2 tonnes. But you could make life easier by heading to the options list and selecting the foldable trailer hitch that can be operated easily from a switch in the boot. There’s also an optional trailer assist feature to help park a trailer.

Towing power and the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
Towing power and the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

A car like this does not come cheap. The Alltrack range starts at €40,940, while the higher powered DSG starts at €46,755. Running costs are going to be a bit higher when compared to a conventional Passat. Official figures suggest a return of up to 55mpg for the DSG, and motor tax of €280 per year.

As a four wheel drive estate car, the Passat Alltrack is a niche product. If you’re just looking for a big estate car, a standard Passat estate will probably do the trick and save you some money too.

But if you do have that need for four wheel drive, whether for poor road conditions or driving on muddy tracks or through wet fields with maybe a caravan in tow, the Passat Alltrack really is the full package of comfort, space, power, refinement, utility and style.

Caroline Kidd

The Alltrack is the ultimate Passat Estate!
The Alltrack is the ultimate Passat Estate!

Model tested: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Business Edition
Price: 
€48,355 (Alltrack range starts at €40,940)
Engine & Transmission: 
2.0-litre TDI 4MOTION DSG
Power: 
190bhp
0-100km/h:  
7.7 seconds
Economy: 
55.4mpg
CO2 emissions:  
135g/km
Tax band: 
B2 (€280 per year)