We have a soft spot for rugged wagons like the Volvo XC70 and the Audi Allroad, and while these useful soft-roaders are slowly going the way of the dinosaur here in the United States, they're still quite popular in Europe. Volkswagen is now getting in on the action with this, the 2012 Passat Alltrack – a more capable version of the Passat Estate that isn't offered Stateside.

The Alltrack rides a full 30 millimeters higher than a standard Passat wagon, comes standard with 4Motion all-wheel drive and has an off-road mode. When engaged, the off-road setting activates hill descent assist, alters the ABS mapping to allow for higher thresholds on loose terrain and quickens the reaction time of the electronic differential locks in an effort to prevent wheelspin on gravel. In the UK, Volkswagen will offer the Passat Alltrack with two versions of its popular 2.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-four, rated at 138 and 168 horsepower.

Follow the jump for the full details on the high-riding Passat, and click through our attached live gallery to see the new Alltrack under the lights of the Tokyo Motor Show.
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RUGGED PASSAT ALLTRACK COVERS NEW GROUND FOR VOLKSWAGEN

Volkswagen has today released the first images of the new Passat Alltrack, which is making its world debut at the Tokyo Motor Show next week, ahead of its introduction to the market in early 2012.

Based on the popular and versatile Passat Estate, the Passat Alltrack adds 4MOTION four-wheel drive and a raised ride height that give it greater agility off-road, along with stylish body enhancements that also provide some protection from scrapes when covering rough terrain. These include stainless steel-look front and rear underbody protection panels and flared side sills. Other features include matt chrome roof rails, window surrounds, grille and exterior mirror casings.

At 4,771 mm, the Passat Alltrack is exactly the same length as the Passat Estate, and despite flared wheel arch protection the vehicle's width also remains the same at 1,820 mm. The suspension is raised to increase ground clearance from 135 to 165 mm, which also improves the ramp breakaway angle (significant when crossing the crest of a hill) from 9.5 to 12.8 degrees. Ruggedly styled front and rear bumpers increase the approach angle from 13.5 to 16 degrees, and the departure angle from 11.9 to 13.6 degrees.

As with other Volkswagen vehicles featuring 4MOTION, on the Passat Alltrack the front axle is usually driven, with only 10 per cent of propulsive power going to the rear axle. This saves on fuel. If necessary, almost 100 per cent of power can be sent to the rear axle, through use of an electrohydraulic Haldex clutch.

The Passat Alltrack also features an off-road mode, similar to that on the Tiguan Escape. When switched on (via a dashboard-mounted button), this activates hill descent assist, which automatically brakes the vehicle when the descent angle is greater than 10 degrees. The ABS function is also altered, with higher thresholds for operation on loose surfaces, along with faster-reacting electronic differential locks (EDS) to prevent wheelspin. For vehicles fitted with DSG dual-clutch transmission, the shift pattern is also altered when off-road mode is engaged, with higher shift points to give more power, a flatter and easier to manage accelerator pedal movement and no automatic upshifting in manual mode.

In the UK, the Passat Alltrack will be available as a 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS with six-speed manual gearbox or a 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS with six-speed DSG transmission. Standard equipment will include Alcantara upholstery, 2Zone electronic climate control, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system, MDI iPod connectivity, Bluetooth telephone preparation and 18-inch alloys.

Retailers in the UK are expected to start taking orders for the new car in April, with first deliveries scheduled for July. More details including pricing will be available nearer the launch date. For more information on the Volkswagen range visit www.volkswagen.co.uk.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      Travelteam
      • 3 Years Ago
      I currently own a 2010 Jetta Sportwagen TDI - but this is the car I really want. I don't understand why VW seems to think they need to "Americanize" their vehicles for our market. The reason they have the market share they do in the states is because drivers are looking for an alternative - not a German badged version of an American car. This is why the JSW TDI is doing so well. The Passat Alltrack TDI seems like a great addition to the US lineup.
      miata492
      • 3 Years Ago
      It would be an absolute crime by VW not to sell this vehicle here in the US! I would buy one for my wife and one for myself immediately! A TDI AWD VW is pretty much the perfect car! I already have 41k on my 2010 Jetta TDI and my wife's lease on her MB R350 will be over next year so we are ready!
      EChid
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is my absolute favourite genre of vehicle...and now my choices are limited to the XC70. Not bad by any means, but I wish there were more.
      Mike Cornell
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's just about the perfect vehicle in my books, especially with the diesels. It's a crime it's not offered here.
        BG
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mike Cornell
        It's not a crime, but rather a short-sighted lack of strategy. But, VW's marketers know more than we do: there really may not be much of a market in the US. Buyers here have continuously demonstrated their enduring lack of good sense when it comes to buying (leasing) cars. They will buy some puffed-up pseudo-rugged CUV rather than a sleek, good-handling wagon.
      SethG
      • 3 Years Ago
      30mm!!! Wow!!! That's basically no difference. The difference between Subaru's Outback and Legacy is more than double that. I'm guessing this car looks better at a show with a more hunkered down look. To make it a real alternative to the Passat they would have to go a bit higher in production.
      over9000
      • 3 Years Ago
      everyone says here that they would buy it, I wish they put the money where their mouth is.
        razorpit
        • 3 Years Ago
        @over9000
        Already did in 2004, I have a 4-Motion Passat Wagon. Would love to replace it with one of these in about two years when the wife's vehicle is paid off. Right now it looks like Subaru is going to get my money unless VW has a big surprise between now and then.
        icerabbit
        • 3 Years Ago
        @over9000
        Except for the little detail that the awd tdi wagon is not available. My minivan is going on 12 and will more than likely will be replaced next year, unless I can keep squeezing more miles out without big expenses. Though I love the cavernous capacity, I'm kind of tired of a minivan. #1 on my list is an XC70. Unless I get my wife's SUV and she gets something smaller.
        thevwhippie
        • 3 Years Ago
        @over9000
        No problem - oil and gas need I say more.
        Robdaemon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @over9000
        I would love to, if it were offered. I'd be at a VW dealership for a 4Motion TDI model *right now* Preferably the 170 hp TDI instead of the 140 hp TDI due to the size / weight of this car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        ThomasP
        • 3 Years Ago
        nah. Not when there are Tuaregs and Outbacks about.
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        everyone would complain about the price and so people won't...no matter what they say here. first time i can't hate on you though...never thought you know irony.
      leunamme
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am pretty sure the B6 Passat WAGON (on which this is based) was offered here in the US from 2006-2011. My family owns one. It looks exactly like this except for the 3cm (30mm=3cm) of increased ride height, the new VW face (I personally like the old one), and the diesel. We have the 2007 3.6 4motion B6 Passat Wagon. Again...the only thing you can complain about is the diesel. If you wanted a wagon, go get it. I'm sure there's still some on the lots. It's sad how you all act like this car was never sold in the US. I'm sorry there wasn't a diesel of 3cm of ride height...otherwise, it's all here.
        mug3n
        • 3 Years Ago
        @leunamme
        Em .. please don forget about 4mtion that comes standard with this car.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @leunamme
        [blocked]
        miata492
        • 3 Years Ago
        @leunamme
        Yes, you are right, but the TDI engine makes all of the difference.
      icerabbit
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't say that I am happy with VW for not offering this vehicle ( wagon + awd + tdi ) in the US. It would instantly be in the top 3 for my next vehicle. Used to drive a VW Golf as a kid ... dreamt about a Passat Wagon ... having relocated I value something that is awd (capable) to drive better / more securely through winters.
      JEO
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dear VW : Drop the Tiguan if you must ... and bring this to the US. It's also much better looking than the Tiguan.
      tenspeeder
      • 3 Years Ago
      A perfect vehicle for the US and of course we do not get it. They'd instantly win over most of the old Audi Allroad owners, a bunch of Volvo owners and I bet Subaru Outback owners looking to move up and SUV/CUV owners looking for the room with better MPG. Sigh
      Johnny Trailerpark
      • 3 Years Ago
      Blar... you suck VW.
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