Review: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2015)

Rating:

Very comfortable and quiet on the motorway. Up to 2200kg braked towing limit. Huge boot and lots of rear leg room. Refined TDI engine is reasonably economical.

Quite a lot of body roll in the corners. More powerful 190PS engine is DSG only. Expensive list price when new.

Recently Added To This Review

21 November 2017

Report of numerous problems with 2016 Passat Alltrack. By 12,000 miles had needed a new wheel bearing, camber realignment, rewiring after water ingress from sunroof and today the auto stuck in 1st when... Read more

22 September 2016 Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI 150PS voted Caravan Club's Towcar of the Year

Particularly useful for caravanners of all grades on the Passat Alltrack is Trailer Assist. This system helps to control the reverse guidance of the car and trailer, thus making manoeuvring considerably... Read more

9 December 2015

'Official' CO2 and fuel economy figures of 2016MY Passat Alltrack 2.0 TSI 4MOTION BMT 162kW EU6 Seven-speed (DSG) to be reviewed but true figures are only very slightly worse. Read more

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2015): At A Glance

If you want an upmarket family estate, with a generous helping of all-road capability, then the Passat Alltrack will be the car for you. It's refined and easy to drive, while its cavernous and high-quality interior make it perfect for tackling wintery roads in comfort. 

The Volkswagen Passat Alltrack sits in the same niche category as the Audi A4 Allroad and Skoda Octavia Scout. Like its Volkswagen Group stablemates, it gets four-wheel drive and all-road suspension, which is slightly stiffer than the standard car to make it suitable for navigating everything from icy roads to muddy fields.

There are just two versions available, both with 2.0 TDI engines, and the cheapest is the 150PS with a nice shifting six-speed manual. With 340Nm of torque it has plenty of pulling power yet economy is still decent with a claimed 57.6mpg - Real MPG would suggest you'd be seeing around 80 per cent of that in real life driving.   

The Alltrack isn’t designed for serious off-road work, but for rough tracks, muddy fields or wintery B roads, it's more than capable. It also boasts an impressive towing capacity of 2200kg - more than the A4 and Octavia equivalents - making it ideal if you have a horse box or caravan. There's also a very good Trailer Assist system - a £475 extra - which will reverse a trailer automatically at a preset angle.

The top 2.0 TDI model has 190PS and only comes with a seven-speed DSG gearbox, however, owing to its hesitancy in the lower gears, it's far from the best automatic on the market. It also carries a hefty £3000 premium over the 150PS version. 

To try and mark it out from a standard Passat, the Alltrack gets a slightly raised ride height for better ground clearance plus, chunkier bumpers and wheelarch cladding plus a sump guard to stop rocks damaging the underneath. But essentially it looks very much like a standard Passat Estate.

It also drives like one with too, although the raised ride height and stiffer suspension does make it susceptible to pitching heavily, from side-to-side, when tackling sharp bends or small roundabouts. However, that said, the four-wheel drive system is more than up to the task and always feels safe and secure, with plenty of grip.

If you want a four-wheel drive Passat this is the only model available. However, it does come at a cost, so although the Alltrack is well-equipped with things like navigation and adaptive cruise control as standard, it's still expensive with a starting price of more than £31,500. 

Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2015 Road Test

What does a Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2015) cost?

List Price from £39,185
Buy new from £32,507
Contract hire from £388.90 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

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

Dimensions
Length 4777 mm
Width 2083 mm
Height 1506 mm
Wheelbase 2710 mm

Full specifications

The Passat Alltrack - like the standard estate - is cavernous inside with a huge boot. There's 639 litres of space with the seats up, far more than a BMW 5 Series Touring and an Audi A6 allroad. The boot opening is nice and wide, so loading things like pushchairs or bicycles is easy. There's hardly any load lip either, making it easy for dogs to jump in and out.

This generation of Passat has gone more upmarket than its predecessor and nowhere is this more noticeable than in the cabin. The quality is impeccable with a solid feel to all the controls and lots of high quality materials, although we're surprised a car at this price comes with cloth seats rather than leather as standard.

It's easy to find a good driving position thanks to lots of adjustment in the steering column and the seat, while even putting both front seats all the way back still gives more than adequate rear legroom. Indeed, those in the back are well looked after with lots of headroom and very comfortable seats.

The standard 'Discover' Navigation comes with a high resolution 6.5-inch colour touchscreen and it's a very easy system to familiarise yourself with. It has all the usual functions including DAB and Bluetooth for both phone calls and streaming music. It's preloaded with European mapping and is quick to route, plus will give you suggested diversions if there's traffic on your route.

Standard equipment is based on the Passat GT model, so the Alltrack comes well equipped - as you'd expect given the list price. All cars have adaptive cruise control, the collision avoiding 'front assist' system, three-zone climate control, Bluetooth, city emergency braking and satellite navigation as standard.

Standard equipment from launch:

Alltrack models come with 18-inch Kalamata alloys with 245/45 R18 tyres, increased ground clearance raised by 27.5mm, off-road suspension, chrome trimmed radiator, front fog lights, electrically heated and adjustable mirrors with puddle lights, rear diffuser, leather three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, Summit cloth upholstery, curtain airbag system for front and rear passengers, driver's knee airbag, PreCrash preventative occupant protection, Isofix child seat mounts, misfuel prevention device, remote central locking, hill descent assist, keyless start, start/stop, multifunction trip computer, adaptive cruise control (ACC), parking sensors front and rear, automatic dimming rearview mirror, electric windows, automatic driving lights, ambient lighting and lights in front door, climate control, heated windscreen washer jets, split folding 60/40 rear seats, Bluetooth, Discover Navgation system, 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, aux socket, DAB radio, traffic sign display and Driver Alert system.

Child seats that fit a Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (2015)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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

From the outside the Alltrack doesn't look much different from a standard Passat and, for the most part, it's the same story on the move. The Alltrack may have off-road suspension, which is stiffer than the standard car, but it does a good job of retaining the Passat's predictable and safe handling.

Unfortunately the all-road setup does provide a few bumps, particularly when it comes to body roll. The pitching is not severe enough to spoil the ride, but it is difficult to ignore on twisty roads and roundabouts, with the raised ride height and stiff suspension causing considerable body lean. 

You can opt for DCC Dynamic Chassis Control, which allows the driver to tailor the ride to suit the conditions, but it's quite an expensive outlay at £700+. However, the differences are very noticeable with 'comfort' mode providing a lovely soft ride on the motorway. There is also an individual setting allowing you to configure each element - such as the steering, gearbox and damping. So, for example, you can combine the more responsive sport steering with comfort suspension.

It's a very easy and relaxing drive, with nicely weighted steering and a positive gearchange on the standard 150PS model. The more powerful 190PS version comes with a DSG automatic - there's no manual choice - but the seven-speed automatic twin-clutch isn't the best. It can be hesitant at slow speeds and often fails to respond particularly quickly, which can frustrate when attempting to leave a busy junction or roundabout.

We think the 150PS model offers more than enough performance thanks to 340Nm of torque which peaks at just 1750rpm and means the Alltrack doesn't need to be worked hard in order to get meaningful performance. Economy is decent too with a claimed 57.6mpg and 130g/km of CO2.

The 2.0 TDI 190PS has more torque with 400Nm but despite the extra power is still frugal with an official 54.3mpg. However, it does carry a hefty premium of more than £3000 and we think the lesser powered car is the better for value.

Fortunately, at higher speeds the Alltrack is very impressive with very little road or engine noise, helped by good sound insulation. The controls are nicely weighted, giving the car a sense of size and solidity without being too heavy. It grips well in corners and feels reassuring, plus of course the 4MOTION system means excellent traction, even in the wet.

When it comes to off-road driving, the 4MOTION works automatically so if sensors detect low traction they can send drive immediately to whichever wheels need it the most - ideal for ice or snow. If you’re planning a trip across a field or down a tricky forest track then you can override the settings and choose an off-road mode, which includes a hill-descent control system. This controls the speed down hill without pedal inputs from the driver, even on poor surfaces.

The Passat Estate is not a small car by any means - it feels quite wide and is more than 4.7 metres long, so getting into tight parking spaces requires patience, but front and rear parking sensors come as standard. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 TDI 150 58 mpg 9.2 s 130 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 DSG 52–54 mpg 8.0 s 137 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Passat Alltrack (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

82%

Real MPG

38–55 mpg

MPGs submitted

23

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 (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

I can't tow with my Passat Alltrack as it sits too high - what's the solution?

I have just taken delivery of Volkswagen Passat Alltrack. I have asked a towbar company to assist me in fitting a tow bar but they say because the Alltrack bumper sits quite high due to road clearance (extra ride height) the tow bar sits high. So when you hitch the caravan, it doesn't sit level and rides up towards the towbar. What can I do?
Not an issue that has ever come up before. Obviously Alltracks are used to tow caravans all over Europe. I don't understand why you have not opted for the factory fit or dealer fit EC Type Approved towbar and have instead gone to someone else who is offering you a towbar installation for a Passat Estate rather than for a Passat Alltrack.
Answered by Honest John
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