Driven: 2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Review
I got to test the 2017 Passat Alltrack and here are my first thoughts on this off-road ready, practical car.
What is the 2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack About?
The Passat is a very well known car from Volkswagen which has sold well in both the consumer and fleet market. However, you could argue that the SUV rush that we have seen in the past few years has encouraged car manufacturers to alter what they are doing with their estate models to stay competitive. This is why cars such as the Alltrack exist, it has all the light SUV benefits with advantages of being in an estate form factor.
Looking at the styling of the car it has a sharp looking exterior design with lots of horizontal lines across the front grille gently flowing into the headlights, giving the car a very modern look. From the side you will notice a well-pronounced shoulder line passing through the door handles. Look at the wheel arches and around the bottom of the car and you will see a hardened rubber edge giving the car that off-road look and providing a form of protection for minor bumps and scrapes whilst off the beaten track. At the back, the styling is very in keeping with the rest of the car and notable design features include the two large angular exhaust pipe exits.
Powering the car is a 2.0-litre diesel engine that creates 190 PS and 400 Nm of torque. All that power goes to all four wheels using a 6-speed DSG gearbox. This means the car can get from 0-60mph in 8 seconds, and has a top speed of 136 mph. The car manages 54 mpg, while putting out 140 g/km of CO2.
How does it drive?
The Passat has been around for many years and is now a finely developed car to drive and certainly an impressive product when you bring all the features together.
Getting in the car, you jump in, hit the start button, put the car in drive and you’re off. The Passat starts in its standard drive mode – comfortable, which is perfect for everyday driving. It feels very comfortable and relaxed from the moment you set off.
The 2.0-litre diesel engine that we are testing here is very well suited to the car, it has a decent amount of torque so when you put your foot down it really does go, this contributes to making the car feel like a fast estate whilst being very reasonable when it comes to efficiency. The 6 speed DSG gearbox in the car feels like it was built for the estate setup. During my time driving the Alltrack I didn’t have to think about the gearbox and what it was doing next, the logic in the gearbox meant that it did what I wanted it to do before I even knew I wanted it to. I was very happy with the standard driving characteristics of this car.
If you were after a bit more from the car and wanted to get moving at a good pace, the car does have a Sporty drive mode. This adjusts the throttle mapping and how the DSG logic works. The feeling from behind the wheel is like you are in a completely different car, that 400 Nm of torque feels a lot more urgent and is ready to propel the car forward the moment you ask it to. Despite the size, braking and cornering in this car is no great challenge, it feels like it has borrowed some GTi DNA allowing you to enjoy the car a bit more, when required.
As we are testing out the Alltrack we need to mention the 4 wheel drive system – 4MOTION. The Passat comes with an off-road drive mode that optimises the car for driving efficiently on green lanes or grass. Which is as much as most customers would need from a car such as this. I didn’t get a first-hand experience taking on obstacles in the car, but feeling the car in the off-road mode did provide me with a boosted confidence knowing that I have grip at all four corners to assist when the conditions get difficult or even for towing a trailer etc.
The driving experience is multidimensional and this Passat is very capable of performing well in many of the UK’s driving conditions. It is worth noting that the car comes with bags of support systems which contribute to the great driving experience that this car offers for the real world driver, to name but a few we have; Adaptive Cruise Control, Electronic Stability Contro, Electronic Differential Lock, Start/Stop Function, Predictive Pedestrian Protection, Traffic Jam Assist, Emergency Assist and Trailer Assist.
What is it like inside?
Inside the Passat that we are testing is another strong point for the VW. As you can see from the pictures the car has a premium look and is built to impeccable build quality standards throughout.
Upfront there is a really nice 9.2 inch colour touchscreen that has a well-built user interface. The infotainment system includes, DAB, Bluetooth, Sat Nav, CD player and is linked to a well rounded 8 speaker system.
Space for the driver and front passenger is optimal in pretty much all ways and it feels very comfortable to sit in. However, I was blown away with the rear legroom in this car, just opening either of the rear doors you will be surprised with how much space is available, even behind a tall driver. And being an estate format, of course, there is endless boot space.
Comfort wise this car has tri-zone climate control, meaning you can set a different temperature for the driver and front passenger and another temperature for the passengers in the back too. It also includes a heated steering wheel and electrically adjustable front seats.
I enjoyed the experience with the Passat Alltrack, it is literally 3 different cars in one because of its adaptive drive modes. The car is a highly credible motorway cruiser, it allows plenty of poke for the B roads and is very capable when the road conditions get difficult, all in all making this car a difficult car to compete with.
There always has been and always will be a demand for cars that are super practical with regards to everyday usability and internal usable space. The Passat Alltrack meets the needs of most and goes a level further by bringing SUV like capabilities with its 4MOTION system. The Passat brings with it a lot of experience to help create the well-refined car it is today to meet and exceed the demands of a very broad range of customers. The Passat Alltrack is certainly a safe and logical decision when looking for an estate with 4 wheel drive capabilities.
2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
- Price: £41,860
- Engine: 2.0-litre TDI
- Power: 190 PS
- Torque: 400 Nm
- Transmission: Six-Speed DSG
- 0-62mph: 8.0 seconds
- Top speed: 136 mph
- Weight: 1,705 kg
- Economy combined: 54 mpg
- CO2: 140g/km
Author: Paul Hadley