And then there's the Alltrack. Taking a similar approach to what Volvo took to make its V70 into the XC70, what Subaru does to its Legacy to turn it into an Outback and what (perhaps most pertinently) sister-brand Audi does to its A6 to make it the Allroad, the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack production model was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show back in November with a higher suspension and some rugged-looking lower body cladding.
Although the Alltrack – or for that matter, the Passat wagon altogether – is not currently available in the United States, Volkswagen has brought the overseas model to the New York Auto Show (as a "concept", mind you) in an effort to gauge reaction. If it drums up enough support – and over 80 percent of you have supported in our informal poll so far – VW could opt to offer it to American customers as a more cost-effective alternative to the Audi Allroad range. The showcar seen here is fitted with a TDI diesel engine, but presumably if it came to the States, it would be offered with a gasoline engine as its main powerplant. Take a closer look in our gallery of high-resolution live images from the show floor and the official release below and decide for yourself.
VOLKSWAGEN UNVEILS ALLTRACK CONCEPT VEHICLE AT THE
NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
All-wheel-drive TDI® Clean Diesel wagon set to gauge market reaction for a new vehicle concept from Volkswagen
Herndon, VA - For those who want versatility and offroad ability without the footprint of an SUV, the choices facing buyers are limited in the U.S. That's why Volkswagen is showing the Alltrack Concept at the New York International Auto Show. This car closes the gap between passenger car and SUV. With chunky bumpers and flared side skirts, as well as a raised ride height, the Alltrack shows that it's as comfortable off the beaten path as it is in the city.
To illustrate how serious the Alltrack can be in an offroad environment, the engine is protected by a solid underbody guard made of steel plate. This helps protect the engine, gearbox, oil pan, exhaust system (front section) and various hoses from damage, and there's another underbody shield at the rear of the car. Other exterior changes include matte chrome window surrounds, door mirror housings and radiator grille trim strips. Anodized silver roof rails are standard, along with front foglights and dual chrome tailpipes.
The Alltrack concept on display in New York features Volkswagen's frugal 2.0-liter turbocharged TDI Clean Diesel engine that makes 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission. It also features 4Motion® all-wheel-drive, with an offroad driving program. Essentially, this program tunes key vehicle dynamic and assistance systems for offroad driving at speeds of up to 18 mph at the press of a button.
The offroad program modifies the settings for the safety and driver assistance systems. For instance, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) now has higher control interval thresholds; on loose surfaces, such as gravel, a wedge of material is formed in front of the tires to decelerate the vehicle more effectively. At the same time, the electronic differential locks react more quickly to help prevent wheelspin at individual wheels. The engine's torque control is modified in parallel.
A Hill Descent Assist program is automatically activated when the gradient exceeds 10 percent; the system applies the Alltrack's brakes. Meanwhile, features such as the optional adaptive cruise control are deactivated.
In offroad mode, the throttle map is altered to give a "longer" pedal to more accurately meter engine power. At the same time, gearshift points are raised, automatically giving the driver higher engine revs and therefore more power to work with. If the DSG lever is switched to the manual shift gate, the transmission no longer upshifts automatically.
Adding to its offroading credentials, the Alltrack's ground clearance is raised by1.2 inches compared with a non-Alltrack model. This ride height and the more aggressive bodywork improve the approach and departure angles: these are pitched between a conventional wagon's and many a crossover at 16 degrees and 13.6 degrees respectively. The ramp breakover angle is 12.8 degrees.
Currently, there are no plans to bring this vehicle to market in the U.S., but the concept is set to gauge market reaction to a potential future model that is similarly sized and combines offroad ability with wagon versatility.
About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, Eos, Golf, Golf R, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.
"4MOTION", "DSG", "TDI", "VW", "Volkswagen", all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG.