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Volkswagen Passat Alltrack review

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    It's an easy car to live with and easy to drive, with comfortable seats that is suitable to long distance travel.

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Chris Riley road tests and reviews the VW Passat Alltrack with specs, fuel economy and verdict.

The Alltrack represents an interesting move by the ‘do no wrong’ Volkswagen group. Essentially a Passat wagon with a lift kit, it is likely to give some stick to Subaru's Outback, not to mention Volvo's quieter achiever the XC70. All three are cast in the same mold.

VALUE

Alltrack is priced from a very competitive $47,790 which includes an auto. Standard features include satnav, Bluetooth, media device interface, heated front seats, a rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors, fog lights, stainless steel door sill plates with the 'Alltrack' signature, comfort seats in Vienna leather, interior accents in Titanium silver (signature on ashtray cover), pedals in brushed stainless steel and dual zone climate control.

Other 'Alltrack' signatures are located at the front and rear of the vehicle and the instrument cluster greets the driver with the signature. 17 inch alloys are standard fitted with 225/50 rubber along with dual chromed tailpipes.

TECHNOLOGY

It's powered by VW's acclaimed 2.0-litre turbodiesel, hooked up to a six-speed dual clutch tranmission with power fed to all four wheels. The diesel is good for 125kW and 350 Nm or torque, the latter from a low 1750 revs. During normal operation only 10 per cent of torque is channelled to the rear wheels to save on fuel. It can tow an 1800kg load and has a full-sized steel spare. Fuel consumption from the 70-litre tank is rated at 6.3 litres/100km.

SAFETY

Alltrack comes with eight airbags, daytime running lights and electronic stability control as standard. Fatigue detection is also standard and detects waning driver concentration and warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds; a visual message also appears in the instrument cluster recommending that the driver take a break from driving.

DRIVING

We clocked up more than 500km of country kilometres behind the wheel. It's an easy car to live with and easy to drive, with comfortable seats that is suitable to long distance travel. The optional lane departure warning system comes into its own on country roads, but seems a bit haphazard in its reaction (sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't). During our tenure the car returned 8.1 litres/100km, a far cry from the 6.3 quoted (or 5.7 for extra-urban) but with 1500km on the clock it is still a long way from returning its best figures.

OFF ROAD

The car stands 60mm higher and ground clearance is 165mm, more than the road going version but not nearly enough for anything serious. The engine however is protected by a solid engine underbody guard made of a steel plate. This protects the engine, gearbox, oil sump, exhaust system (front section) and various hoses from damage.

An 'off road' button accommodates the demands of dirt or other slippery surfaces, automatically activating hill descent control, raising gear shift points and deactivating the engine Stop/Start system. It also introduces a higher threshold for the anti-lock brakes and the electronic differential locks (EDS) react quicker to prevent wheel spin, in parallel with with the engine's torque control (ASR) which is also modified.

VERDICT

Likeable car. Looks great and attracts plenty of comment. Well priced and extremely well equipped, it includes a lot of technology for the ask and is likely to appeal to those who tow a boat and/or those who like to tread the path less beaten.

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

Price: from $47,790
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
Resale: 50 per cent (Source: Glass's Guide)
Service interval: 15,000km/12 months
Safety rating: five star
Spare: space saver
Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder, 125kW/350Nm
Transmission: 6-speed twin-clutch automated manual; 4WD
Body: 4.9m (L); 1.8m (w); 1.6m (h)
Weight: 1704kg
Thirst: 6.31/100km, tank 70 litres; 166g/km CO2

RIVALS

Subaru Outback Premium turbodiesel
Price: from $46,990
Engine: 2-litre, 4-cyl turbodiesel, 110kW/350Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Thirst: 6l/100km, CO2 158g/km

 

 

Subaru Outback - see other Subaru Outback verdicts

 

 

 

Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring
Price: from $46,680
Engine: 2.2-litre, 4-cyl turbodiesel, 129kW/420Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Thirst: 5.7l/100km, CO2 149g/km

 

 

Mazda CX-5 - see other Mazda CX-5 verdicts

 

 

 

Volvo XC60 D5
Price: from $62,490
Engine: 2.4-litre, 5-cyl turbodiesel, 158kW/440Nm|
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Thirst: 6.9L/100km, CO2 183g/km

 

 

Volvo XC60 - see other Volvo XC60 verdicts

 

 

Comments on this story

Displaying 2 of 2 comments

  • in the script the writer indicates a full sized steel spare, but in the summary it indicates a space saver spare…is that what a space saver spare is, just a steel wheel?  What speed is it limited to?
    Can’t find any mention of spare wheels in VW’s brochure.

    John Mawdsley of NSW Posted on 12 January 2013 11:37am
  • 95kg towball limit, will be a dingy not a boat.

    John Simpson of Melbre Posted on 11 January 2013 9:12pm

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