By on November 23, 2011

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.”

That was easy.

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.

The Alltrack will debut in a world premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show. Why there? Because it  is based on the Euro Passat. Market launch for the new versatile Alltrack begins in early 2012.

In the U.S., you need to wait for what will be done to the Chattanooga-Passat.


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48 Comments on “Volkswagen Passat Goes Crossover...”

  • avatar
    Back to the 80’s.
    Including the umpteenth BMW Xs us poor Europeans only have roughly a million different new 4×4 vehicles to choose from…

  • avatar

    Maybe it’s the font, maybe it’s the small size screen of my netbook. But somehow or another I kept reading the Passat Alltrack as the Passat Attack.

    Funny I don’t have a problem with this font. Ahh well, I did think reading it that way was humorous.

    I’d say VW is becoming the king of rebadging. Much more so than GM or any other American car manufacturer.

  • avatar

    VW Passat “Alltrack”? The low-profile street tyres will throw in the towel on anything more slippery than wet leaves. Other than that, it’s just a standard Passat with a slightly worse ride and a few plastic bits around the wheelwells.

    (Allow me to humbly suggest a few more Passat “versions” like the Passat Allmall distinguished a built-in shopping basket, or the Passat Alldirt that comes with a complimentary car wash voucher.)

  • avatar

    Why is it that any car journalist must hype up everything the Germans do at all times? (this is not at all an attack on this article, just a general question)
    It feels a bit like everything they do is so important all the time. Like this:
    -‘OMG, VW have built the car Toyota started selling four years ago!’
    -‘OMG they added a LED strip on the rear of the A6!’
    -‘OMG, they made completely unoticeable touches to the front bumper of the Golf!’
    -‘OMG, they raised the suspension on the Polo!’
    -‘OMG, they found 3 more horses in the TDi by remapping it and developing a new exhaust system and turbo!’
    -‘OMG, Porsche can sell you the 911 with a lot less gadgets and no stereo for only 20.000 more than the standard model!’
    While everything everyone else do is more like:
    -‘Toyota launches a new model of the most popular hybrid , meh’
    -‘Honda completely reskinned their CUV, meh’
    -‘Ford redid the whole interior and launched a new engine type, meh’
    -‘GM just reinvented cars, meh’ (OK, the last one is pretty far out though)
    And it’s been like this for years, seemingly also in the US, where german cars are generally thought of as unreliable crap…
    Are all journalists really surprised by the fact that Germans have design departments, R&D and PR managements?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t see the OMG or hype in Bertel’s story here. What did I miss?

      • 0 avatar

        Nothing, as I said, it’s not this article I’m against, this is a fairly interesting update of the Passat, TTAC is usually quite good at lampshading (especially Porsches) uninteresting updates.
        But I feel that a lot of other auto journalists do the OMG thing way to often.

    • 0 avatar

      I would venture to say readers here are much different than most. I would think most auto press has to hype things to:

      1) maintain good relations with the marketing departments (which TTAC doesn’t care about)
      2) Get people to keep coming back

      As a subset of self proclaimed “car guys” those of us that come here are a relatively small portion and likely have fully opposite views of others.

      Hype is the way the world works now (Bigger! Better! Newer! BUY BUY BUY!). I don’t fault other publications for falling into that, but I certainly praise TTAC for not.

    • 0 avatar

      I think that there could be some under-handed funding behind hyping up minor touches to German cars.

  • avatar

    Ok, so it’s go ta DSG transmission, it’s lifted and comes with AWD in wagon body. VW then decided it was too much like the Audi ‘Allroad” and therefor gave it the very differentiating name of “alltrack”. OK, standard VW hamfisted fare, but all in all, any new wagon to any fold is a good thing in my book. I do hope they import it, I was considering an A4 allroad for my next car, sounds like this owuld be cheaper and bigger (the only two American metrics of comparison for car sales!)

  • avatar

    Look at it. It’s a WAGON. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I drive a Mazda 6 wagon myself. I refer to it as a BIG hatchback. The terms SUV and CUV were dreamed up by marketing types that are afraid of the term “station wagon”.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 the Passat has been sold in wagon form before. This version seems to follow the Volvo “CrossCountry” format of making a slightly higher wagon with some extra body cladding in attempts to trick people into thinking they are buying a CUV (since everyone loves CUVs).

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t know how VW manages to pull it off, but if this thing is anything like the jacked up V70XC was, it is one major piece of undifferentiated suckage.

        Higher COG vehicles on longer travel suspensions need different suspension geometries from their lower siblings. It’s not as simple as lengthening wheel travel. Otherwise, things get as rolly-polly as that Volvo, which, despite being a good bit lower than most “real” CUVs, had all the body control of a UPS van perched atop 10 feet of marshmallow. The engineered as a CUV, taller XC60 is infinitely better, despite being less “car” and more CUV.

  • avatar

    I’m a VW critic, but I like this concept.

  • avatar

    I like the concept, too. We recently bought a diesel Jetta. If the diesel had been available in the Tiguan, we would have bought that. If the Passat Alltrack (who cares what they call it) had been available with a diesel, we would have bought that. Oh well. VW didn’t lose a sale, so I guess they’re happy.

  • avatar

    I hope a gas and diesel AWD wagon make it to the US. I get giddy thinking about it. (Even though VW’s reliablity has been as spotty as Subaru’s.) I’ve had 2X better luck with VW, than Subaru.

  • avatar

    I like VWs, I like wagons, I like all-wheel drive, and I like the smaller European Passat. I find this far more appealing than the larger, cheaply appointed, softer, sedan-only, FWD-only U.S. Passat. But VW has probably correctly figured out there are only about seven people who agree with me, and therefore won’t consider bringing it here.

  • avatar

    Perhaps this vehicle could fill the void between the Tiguan and Touareg, competing with the Crosstour and Venza. Assuming they would stay within their current crossover/truck naming “convention”, I look forward to seeing what crackpot name VW would give it.

  • avatar

    Control Alltrack Delete

  • avatar

    I want an Olds Vista Cruiser with that hot red head from that 70’s show in it – naked!

    OK – that’s my Christmas wish, make it so Number 1

    The VW – I like it

  • avatar

    Does the Passat share its architecture with the new sedan? It sure looks like a minor update to the 2007 I have sitting in my driveway. Not that that is a bad thing; I like my Passat. I’m also assuming this will not be seen in the North American market.

  • avatar

    I think this is a great idea. I have been looking for an outback replacement since the outback became an SUV or CUV or whatever. It looks like they even installed a rear window that you can actually see out of. This must be an artists rendering then. I thought the rule was that your c-pillar needs to be no smaller than a lumberjack.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, one of my biggest gripes about my Passat is the huge blind spot. For me at least, the driver’s side B, C and D pillars all line up when I look over my shoulder before a lane change. I find myself having to spend too much time craning my neck trying to find the windows.

      • 0 avatar

        Try this. Set your driver’s side mirror by leaning your head against the driver’s door window and moving the mirror until you just barely can’t see rear fender. Do the same for the off side mirror by leaning over in front of windshield rearview mirror. Unnerving at first, it really works for cars with significant blind spots.
        In a somewhat related vein, I miss real greenhouses and hate the slammed look of so many cars. What works on a 51 Hudson just looks ponderous on a modern car.

  • avatar

    Audi Allroad is one progenitor, but this seems like another possible twin:

    I have no objection to the “station wagon on stilts” idea (as an Outback owner myself), but I’ll bet VW puts a bigger price premium on this than they did on the ordinary Passat wagon.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Didn’t we see this before — from Sweden? I’m thinking of the Volvo XC 70. Not to mention (in a somewhat smaller package) from Japan — the Subaru Outback?
    Whatever. I”m a fan of station wagons (or “estates” if you prefer), so I’m happy when someone introduces yet another. “Crossovers” seem to combine the worst features of SUVs (mediocre fuel economy, exterior size, weight) while missing out on some of the best features of station wagons (packaging efficiency; interior volume).

    By the way, for US diesel fans, consider this: I noticed yesterday when filling up my Z3 with 93 Octane Sunoco that diesel fuel at that station was a solid $1.00/gallon more than 87 octane gasoline ($4.60 vs. $3.60) and 40 cents more than the juice that was fueling my BMW. While this spread is probably greater than normal in the U.S. it goes a long way to explaining the relative unpopularity of diesels as compared to hybrids among the fuel-sipping crowd here in the U.S.

    • 0 avatar

      Can I assume that “DC” is short for Washington D.C.? Anywhere where homes are heated with oil (aka the Northeast) you’ll find a seasonal spike in Diesel prices since the main difference between home heating oil and Diesel fuel is the tax dye. Outside of the heating season Diesel is typically on par with premium.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        It’s not just that. There is a worldwide diesel shortage right now. Canada seems to be having a rough time of it and China is too. US refiners are taking advantage and are selling diesel overseas to make more money – US diesel exports are at an all-time high right now.

  • avatar

    That is just and AWD Passat wagon, it isn’t even on stilts!

  • avatar

    That’s a passat station wagon.

  • avatar

    I’d like to see what the standard American Passat wagon will look like, assuming that one is in the cards.

  • avatar

    “…Passat, basically a rebadged Audi 80…”

    Not an expert here, but haven’t the Audis always had longitudinal engines, whereas the VW variants have transverse?

  • avatar

    Passat Vistacruiser!

  • avatar

    Can I just call it a “Passat Station wagon”?

  • avatar

    Isn’t “CrossPassat” more in keeping with current naming convention?

    Audi Allroad, Subaru Outback, Volvo XC70… long live the AMC Eagle!

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