Review: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2012 – 2015)

Rating:

More rugged off-road version of the Passat Estate. Higher ride height. 4MOTION four-wheel drive as standard.

Expensive for a Passat.

Recently Added To This Review

25 August 2018

Report of intermittent 'shudder' for a few seconds (a little like a misfire) when 2013 VW Passat Alltrack 2.0TDI is under very light throttle (just enough to maintain speed), or backing off very light... Read more

6 November 2017

Issues reported with 2013 Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI DSG at 76k miles. NOx emissions fix carried out at 74k miles. Now (in colder weather) the temp gauge sometimes fluctuates to the extent it can take anything... Read more

27 October 2015

2014 Passat Alltrack DSG reported as suffering hesitation after take-off from junctions. Read more

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2012 – 2015): At A Glance

Turning an estate into something a bit more rugged and useful seems pretty straightforward. You basically take your standard car, jack up the suspension and fit it with four-wheel drive. Then finish it with some extra body cladding including underbody protection panels. It’s a formula that has worked for Audi with its allroad models and even Skoda has got in on the act with the Octavia Scout.

So not to be outshone, it’s Volkswagen’s turn with the Passat Alltrack. In fact it’s surprising the company hasn’t done this before. The Alltrack is essentially the latest Passat Estate with 4MOTION four-wheel drive and a 30mm higher ride height, to make it more capable on rough roads and perhaps even the odd farm track you might venture down.

As well as the increased ground clearance it gets an off-road mode, similar to the one in the Tiguan Escape. This has hill descent assist which automatically brakes the vehicle when you’re going downhill (if it’s steeper than 10 degrees) plus it alters the ABS so it’s better when braking on loose surfaces.

The Passat Alltrack has plenty going for it but one sticking point may be the price. It's expected to start at around £28,500 but the 170PS version with the DSG gearbox is likely to be more than £30k. That's not far short of an Audi A4 allroad with the 2.0 TDI 177PS engine that costs £31,375 while a Skoda Octavia Scout 2.0 TDI 140PS is less than £23k. Like the Alltrack both are 4x4s with raised ride heights. 

That said the Alltrack is a good package and one that makes plenty of sense if you regularly have to venture onto rough roads or do lots of towing. Our test route took us up into the Austrian Alps in winter with plenty of snow and ice to negotiate and here it dealt with everything that was thrown at it with no problems. If you don't want a full-sized 4x4 like the Touareg but need more than a normal estate, the Alltrack could be the perfect compromise.

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2012 Road Test

What does a Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2012 – 2015) cost?

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Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2012 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4771 mm
Width 1820 mm
Height 1550 mm
Wheelbase 2710 mm

Full specifications

The changes aren’t just underneath though. To add to the outdoorsy image, Volkswagen has given the Passat Alltrack some extra bits on the outside. There’s black plastic cladding on the wheelarches and bumpers, chrome roof rails plus the obligatory front and rear underbody protection panels in a nice stainless steel look. It’s fairly subtle and actually works very well on the Passat, especially in contrast to a strong colour like red.

Apart from that it’s pretty much business as usual and that’s also the case inside. Aside from the Alltrack name emblazoned on ashtray, it’s like a standard Passat with an interior that’s comfortable and well finished. It certainly feels like a quality product and comes well equipped with Alcantara seats, two-zone climate control and a touchscreen sat nav system with Bluetooth all as standard.

It has the same 603 litres of bootspace as a normal Passat Estate plus it gets a space saver spare wheel rather than the less than handy can of foam sealant that’s commonplace now.

Standard equipment includes Alcantara upholstery, 2Zone climate control, cruise control, a tyre pressure monitoring system, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and 18-inch alloys.

Child seats that fit a Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2012 – 2015)

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What's the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2012 – 2015) like to drive?

There are just two models to choose from, both fitted with the trusty 2.0 TDI engine. The 140PS model comes with a six-speed manual gearbox while the top 2.0 TDI 170PS gets a six-speed DSG automatic as standard. The common rail TDI unit is quiet enough and has decent torque with 320Nm and 350Nm for the two respectively, so it pulls well enough in-gear. Both models are economical too with claimed figures of 49.6mpg and 47.9mpg.

Unsurprisingly, driving the Passat Alltrack is very much like driving a Passat. In normal driving the 4MOTION system sends 90 per cent of its power to the front wheels, which saves on fuel and means that it’s essentially a front-wheel drive car. The steering is a little over assisted, but the Alltrack handles well enough in corners and despite the raised suspension there's little bodyroll and good front end grip. Sitting at motorway speeds it’s quiet, refined and all very civilised.

An offroad mode is featured, which is activated by a button on the dashboard. In offroad mode the settings for ABS and EDS are altered to better cope with muddy or loose surfaces, and hill descent assist is activated to automatically brake the wheels on steep descents.

While it’s no full blown 4x4 it’s still pretty capable on rutted lanes or gravel tracks. You’re unlikely to go properly cross country in it but that’s not really what it’s designed for. However if you live off the beaten track or in a fairly rural area, the extra traction of four-wheel drive and the better ground clearance means you’re a lot less likely to get stuck where others would. If need be the 4MOTION system will send 100 per cent of the engine power to the rear wheels to help get you out of tricky situations. It’s a good tow car too and can pull 2000kg which is more than an equivalent Passat Estate.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 TDI 50 mpg 10.3 s 149 g/km
2.0 TDI DSG 48 mpg 8.7–8.9 s 155 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2012 – 2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

84%

Real MPG

35–50 mpg

MPGs submitted

32

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2012 – 2015)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Recommend an estate car with 4x4 for difficult terrain?

I am looking to replace my six-year old Skoda Octavia 4x4 Estate with a fairly new (1-2 years old max) family estate, still with 4x4. I need 4x4 for a difficult drive and local access road in the Lake District. One option is another Octavia 4x4 estate or Octavia Scout, another is the Skoda Superb 4x4 estate. However, apart from these, there seem to be very few conventional style estates with 4x4. I have looked at the Volvo V70, but XC70s seem to be incredibly rare with the vast majority being sold as V70 two-wheel drive. I would prefer to stay with a conventional estate design rather than the "high-ride / quasi off-road" vehicles that seem to be the most popular style. Can you suggest any alternative vehicles?
BMW does a 320d xDrive Touring for about £30,000 or there's the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/volkswagen/vw-passat-alltrack-2012-road-test//. But probably all you need is a Peugeot 2008 with Grip Control. I've driven one up a snow-covered 1-in-3 ski slope: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/peugeot/peugeot-2008-2013-road-test//?section=video. Or a Fiat 500L Trekking: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/fiat/fiat-500-xl-and-trekking-road-test//
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