The VW Passat has been around since the early 70s and the Alltrack is one of its latest incarnations, having been released in October 2011. The Alltrack is an SUV in estate car form and its position in the VW range is between the passenger cars and the SUV range which is made up of the Touareg and Tiguan.
The range consists of a 2.0 litre TDI diesel engine in two forms, 140bhp and 170bhp. Two petrol engines, a 1.8 litre 160bhp and a 2.0 litre TSI unit giving 207bhp, are also available but are very rare in the UK.
Bang for your buck
The VW Passat Alltrack looks great in a very rugged sort of way both inside and out. It is absolutely solidly built and you can feel its reliability and sturdiness throughout the car.
The Alltrack has a ground clearance of 165mm and is the only car in VW's passenger range that has 4Motion with an off-road driving programme. This system combines with the Alltrack's hill descent assist, electronic differential lock and ABS to provide a huge amount of control when driving off-road.
TDI versions are supplied with the VW BlueMotion Technology package as standard which includes battery regeneration during braking and the Stop/Start system.
The 140bhp diesel and 1.8 litre petrol models are only available with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission. All other models have 4Motion with an automatic six-speed transmission.
Although a more than capable off-roader and excellent family car, the Alltrack comes with a whole host of luxury features such as auto-dip headlights, self-parking, blind-spot monitoring and lane assist. It has an amazing array of clever safety features, as well as more down to earth measures such as its six airbags and ABS. The Alltrack has a five-star NCAP safety rating.
Other standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, climate control, touch-screen sat nav and Alcantara seats.
There is plenty of room for rear and front passengers and the seats are very comfortable. The boot is vast, giving 588 litres of space which increases to 1,716 litres when the rear seats are folded.
What you'll pay
New Volkswagen Passat Alltracks start at £28,585 and tend to hold their value pretty well. The vast majority of Alltracks sold in the UK have been diesel-engined models and as a result they dominate the second-hand market. £24,500 should be enough to bag a 62-plated 2.0 litre TDI 170bhp with around 5,000 miles on the clock. That's about as cheap as low-mileage examples get at the moment but more and more cars are entering the market all the time so prices should start to fall soon.
What to check
There have been some issues with the 2.0 litre TDI engine but these problems have tended to appear pretty much straight away and have been dealt with under warranty. Apart from that, be sure to check the underneath of the car for any damage caused by over-enthusiastic off-roading, although a sturdy skid plate has been added to the Alltrack. Also check the interior carefully for child damage and make sure that all of the electrical components are functional.
In general, replacement parts for the VW Passat Alltrack are not particularly cheap, for example, a clutch assembly is around £190 and a pair of front brake pads will set you back about £75, with a set of rears priced at £40. A new alternator is not too bad at just £280 but a replacement headlamp is a whopping £275. An exhaust system with front pipe and down pipe is about £1250.
How it drives
The approved used VW Passat Alltrack almost feels like a luxury car rather than a practical, family off-road vehicle. The ride is supple and the handling effortless. It feels expensive, relaxed and quietly confident.
It can tow as much as 2,000kgs, cope with all but the toughest off-road conditions and also chugs along nicely on the motorway.
Fuel economy is around 50mpg and top speed in the region of 130mph for the diesel models.
Overall, although slightly costly when bought new, the Alltrack is easily one of the best cars in its class. It is reliable, fun to drive when off-road, safe on the motorway, practical and comfortable at the same time and it also looks great. The pick of the bunch is probably the lower-powered 2.0 litre diesel which performs pretty much as well as the more powerful model.