One of my first jobs as a rookie copywriter in 1973 was the Passat. The Passat, basically a rebadged Audi 80, was the first of the new generation (Passat, Scirocco, Golf, Polo) that saved Volkswagen from eternal damnation and laid the groundwork for Volkswagen’s success today. (See, rebadging isn’t all that bad, it just has to be done right.) Ever since, well over 15 million Passat were built in all shapes and forms. And now, the Passat goes crossover.
First, the name: Passat Alltrack. That sounds a little like a tractor, or the illegitimate son of a hot date with a Unimog. But knowing the Passat, it will survive even that choice. The crossover genre is not as popular in Europe as it is stateside, so Volkswagen goes to great pains to explain it:
“This new version is offered in an estate car configuration, and it closes the gap between the conventional Passat Estate and SUVs such as the Tiguan. The rationale here: many car drivers who use their car as a towing vehicle, or in light off-road situations, want a versatile, sporty and very roomy passenger car that has rugged qualities. Volkswagen developed the Passat Alltrack for this clientele. In comparison with the familiar Passat Estate, the new model is defined by new bumpers in SUV style – with wheel well and side sill flares. Its greater off-road ramp angle, approach angle, departure angle and higher ground clearance all make the Passat Alltrack an excellent SUV alternative for driving on unpaved track.”
Two turbocharged direct injection gasoline engines (TSI) with 118 kW / 160 hp and 155 kW / 210 hp and two turbodiesels (TDI) – also with direct injection – with 103 kW / 140 hp and 125 kW / 170 hp are available in the Passat Alltrack.
The 170 hp TDI and the 210 hp TSI come with standard 4MOTION all-wheel drive and a dual clutch transmission (DSG). For the Passat Alltrack with a 140 hp TDI, all-wheel drive is optional.
In the U.S., you need to wait for what will be done to the Chattanooga-Passat.