On the outside it’s Sunday-suit smart; on the inside no-fuss functional, and as far as performance is concerned, the new VW Passat Alltrack is an Opera House-style pleasure.

Based on the practical Passat wagon, the Passat Alltrack is back adding a fresh face to the eighth generation of the VW mid-size passenger vehicle. It has its own range of standard features and the ability to go that much farther off the bitumen.

This is due mainly to the new generation 4Motion all-wheel drive system, plus a feature that allows drivers to select an appropriate drive setup from a choice of eco, sport and, unique to the Alltrack, off-road mode, which includes automatically activating hill descent control.

The second-generation Passat Alltrack comes with a high-torque turbo-diesel 2.0-litre diesel engine mated with a six-speed DSG automatic.

All of this adds a small premium over the standard Passat wagon; the Alltrack being priced at $49,290, plus on-road costs, $1300 more.

A Luxury Package consisting of a panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting, electric foldable mirrors, Park Assist 3 parking system, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights with dynamic cornering function, headlight washers and a chrome grille strip, all for $3500. This was included in our test vehicle.


Despite standing taller than the standard Passat with ground clearance of up to 27.5 mm above a standard Passat Wagon, the Alltrack takes on a squat stance befitting a performance orientated vehicle.

Standard 18-inch Kalamata alloy wheels, specifically created for the vehicle, are set off by wheel arch mouldings and flared side sills, these also offer additional body protection when away from sealed roads.

Newly designed bumpers present an instantly recognisable face, while rear badging hints at Passat Alltrack’s credentials.

The car’s stylish interior has Vienna leather appointed upholstery, a leather multi-function steering wheel and gearshift knob, as well as LED reading lights.

The Alltrack pays homage to the Passat wagon with luggage space to meet the needs of a ‘full house’ – 639 litres of cargo volume even with five adults on board. If full load capacity is needed, luggage space can be increased to 1769 litres with the rear seatbacks lowered.

The cargo area offers an impressive interior length of 1172 mm up to the back of the rear seats and 2018 mm up to the back of the front seats.

Convenience and practicality are foremost with a luggage partition net, shopping bag and load restraint hooks, interior illumination and a 12V socket in the boot.


The bush may be calling in the Alltrack but there’s no need to miss out on what’s happening in the big city. Connection comes via the innovative App-Connect system, which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems, giving occupants access to content via smartphones to music, messaging and navigation via touchscreen or voice control.

This integrated technology is displayed in high definition via the 8.0-inch Discover Pro touchscreen with satellite navigation, which also offers USB, SD card and Aux connectivity.

A special feature, ‘off-road information’ includes three digital round instruments showing steering angle, a compass and altitude indicator.

Passat Alltrack’s 2.0 TDI four-cylinder engine develops 140 kW between 3500 and 4000 rpm, adding an impressive maximum torque of 400Nm from 1750 rpm all the way up to 3000 rpm.

With this to play with, says VW, the six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission puts out lively performance with official fuel consumption of just 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle.

Passenger protection is paramount; the new Alltrack coming standard with multi-collision brake technology, a driver fatigue detection system, Continental self-sealing tyres, a low tyre pressure indicator, parking distance sensors and reversing camera.

There’s an electronic stability program and XDL on both axles, which brakes the wheels on the inside of a bend during fast cornering, optimising steering response.

Nine airbags: front, front and rear side, curtain (front and rear), and driver’s knee airbags. There are safety optimised front head restraints and three-point seat belts.

Traffic monitoring includes Front Assist with City Emergency Braking function, Side Assist for lane changing, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Rear Traffic Alert which detects other vehicles crossing when reversing out of a parking space.

Park Assist is available as part of the optional Luxury Package. It enables semi-automatic parking in spaces parallel or perpendicular to the road. It can also get the car out of parallel parking spaces.

From a light load to a ‘crowded house’, with its torquey motor doing its stuff, there is little change in the way the Passat Alltrack rides and handles under normal road conditions.

While the maker puts combined fuel consumption at 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres, the test car came up with 9.1 litres per 100 kilometres in town traffic and 4.8 litres per 100 kilometres at sustained legal motorway speed, neither of which need cause for concern at the fuel pump.

It’s worth taking a look at the way technology helps in one sticky off-road situation. By dialling up the off-road mode with the driving profile selector, Hill Descent Assist is automatically engaged at speeds between 2 km/h and 30 km/h, preventing unwanted acceleration on downhill slopes of more than 10 per cent.

In an emergency stop on loose surfaces the ABS anti-skid intervals are changed to build up a wedge of stones, gravel or sand and reduce the stopping distance.

The accelerator can become more sensitive, meaning there is more pedal travel for less power, slower acceleration and lower top speed. At the same time, gearshift points are higher and automatic upshifts are suppressed. All in all, the total system reduces stress leaving the driver to plot a safe path without unwanted surprises.

While I can take or leave a panoramic sunroof and ambient interior lights, the Luxury Package, with electric folding mirrors, Park Assist 3 parking system, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights with dynamic cornering function, headlight washers and a chrome grille strip, does seem a bargain at $3500.

Going bush is not out of the question with the new VW Passat Alltrack; neither is cruising the highway in comfort; nor taking on the cut and thrust of city traffic when the power to overtake quickly and safely is an advantage.



VW Passat Alltrack 2.0-litre TDI140 DSG with Bluemotion: $49,290
Luxury Package: $3500
Metallic or Pearl Effect paint: $700
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Volkswagen dealer for drive-away prices.

ABS brakes
DSG automatic transmission, 4Motion all-wheel drive
Cruise Control
Front, front and rear side, curtain (front and rear), and driver’s knee airbags
Electronic Stability Program
8.0-inch touch screen with satellite navigation
Driver Fatigue Detection system
Driving profile selection with off-road mode
Think Blue Trainer, ECO tip function with fuel efficiency advice
Parking distance sensors, front and rear with acoustic warning
Optical Parking System in radio/navigation display
Rear View Camera (RVC Plus) with multi-angle views and dynamic guidelines
Rear Traffic Alert
Front Assist with City Emergency Brake function
Lane Assist, lane departure warning system
Side Assist, lane changing assistant
USB/Auxiliary audio inputs

SPECIFICATIONS (Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine with Bluemotion technology)

Capacity: 1.968 litres
Configuration: Front transverse four-cylinder inline turbo-diesel with engine Start / Stop system
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 3500-4000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 400 Nm @ 1750-3000 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.4 L/100km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed DSG automatic, 4Motion all-wheel drive

Length: 4777 mm
Wheelbase: 2791 mm
Width: 1832 mm
Height: 1506 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Tare Mass: 1671 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Three years / 100,000 km

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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