Isaac Bober’s 2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Edition Review with pricing, specs, performance, ride and handling, safety verdict and score.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Edition

Pricing $54,990

Warranty three-years, unlimited kilometres

Safety five-star ANCAP

Service Intervals 15,000km or 12 months

Engine 2.0-lityre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel

Power 140kW at 3500-4000rpm

Torque 400Nm at 1750-3000rpm

Transmission six-speed DSG

Drive 4Motion all-wheel drive

Dimensions 4777mm (L); 1832mm (W); 1506mm (H); 2791mm (WB)

Clearance 174mm

Turning Circle 11.4m

Spare None

Fuel Tank 66L

Thirst 5.4L/100km combined

THE SECOND-GENERATION Passat Alltrack arrived here in February 2016 which we tested last year rating it four-out-of-five stars. In February, this year, the Alltrack Wolfsburg Edition arrived in Australia with 250 units up for grabs; last time we checked there were still new units available to buy.

Volkswagen offers capped price servicing for the Passat Alltrack with servicing schedules every 15,000km or 12 months. Pricing is: 15,000km or 12 months $413.00; 30,000km or 24 months $413.00; 45,000km or 36 months $463.00; 60,000km or 48 months $985.00; 75,000km or 60 months $413.00; 90,000km or 72 months $478.00.

Additional items not covered under capped price servicing are Pollen filter every two years $56.00; Brake fluid every two years $138.00 and Haldex fluid change every three years $181.00.

What is the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Edition?

The Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg is a comprehensive upgrade on the standard diesel Alltrack which lists for $50,790+ORC. The Wolfsburg Edition adds about $4200 to the price of the Alltrack ($54,990) with the only cost option a panoramic sunroof for $2000. It undercuts the 206kW petrol Alltrack which lists at $59,990+ORC.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Review by Practical Motoring

The Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg adds Active Info Display, Adaptive Chassis Control, 19-inch Albertville alloys, LED head-, tail- and daytime running lights, steering wheel mounted gear-shifting paddles and automatic tailgate. Visually, the Wolfsburg stands out with ambient lighting interior, 65% light absorbing tinted rear windows, black headliner, aluminium ‘wave’ dash inserts, piano black centre console, the choice of exclusive Crimson Red paint and Wolfsburg crest badging. The other choices of exterior paint colour are pure white or Iridium Grey metallic.

The Passat Alltrack offers 174mm of ground clearance which is less than, say, the Subaru Outback which rides at 213mm. Unlike the regular Passat, the Alltrack variant gets VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system which runs the latest-generation Haldex 5 coupling and can send up to 100% of torque to the axle if needed.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Review by Practical Motoring

The Passat Alltrack lacks the overt ruggedness of the Subaru Outback, but it carries a premium-ness that the Outback can’t match. And the same goes as you move inside where it boasts an interior that’s as sharp as a knife and a boot that’s vastly bigger than the Outback’s rear (639L Vs 512L).

What’s the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg’s interior like?

In a word, beautiful. If you like clean lines and soft-touch materials then the Passat’s interior will be a delight. There’s an 8.0-inch touchscreen which offers native sat-nav as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and there are dials for the climate control sitting below this.

If you’ve spent any time in a Volkswagen recently, then the interior of the Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg will feel familiar with many control units, like the infotainment and climate controls the same as in other VW product. And that’s a good thing as it means when you trade-up from one VW to the next there’s no learning curve to the interior… sure, some people will see this parts-sharing as a cost-saving move and I’m sure it is, but it doesn’t make the interior of this thing feel cheap.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Review by Practical Motoring

The front seats feature VW’s ergonomic seats which the brand says have been designed to relieve stress on the back and provide comfort for long-distance drives. I was sceptical when I first climbed in as the seats lack any real side bolstering but they’re big and despite feeling quite flat they proved comfortable on longer journey (of more than 100km). They offer plenty of adjustment both up and down and forwards and backwards and there’s reach and height adjustment on the steering wheel too.

There are numerous hide holes and storage bins scattered around the cabin.

Over in the back there’s room for two adults to site very comfortably in the two outboard seats but the middle seat isn’t shaped to accommodate a backside and is best left as an emergency seat for when you need to carry three people in the back. My two kids were comfortable in the back with the windows getting a thumbs-up from them both, and the rear air vent a thumbs-up from me; the temperature can be controlled for heating and cooling.

What’s the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg’s Boot Space like?

In a word, cavernous. It offers a whopping 639 litres of room with the rear seats in place and 1769 litres when you fold them down. The boot can be raised and lowered automatically, which is a handy feature when you’re arms are full. A full-size spare sits beneath the floor in the boot and the back seats can be lowered via levers in the boot.

What’s the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg like to drive?

The Alltrack Wolfsburg gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel that produces 140kW at 3500-4000rpm and 400Nm of torque from 1750-3000rpm. This is mated to a six-speed DSG. The last time I drove an Alltrack with this engine and transmission I commented that the DSG was clunky which came as a surprise as my own Skoda Octavia TDI runs a similar six-speed DSG and exhibits none of the traits the transmission in the Alltrack did.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Review by Practical Motoring

Well, I’m glad to say that the transmission in the Alltrack Wolfsburg I tested was free of any shudder or thumping in low gears. Indeed, the DSG in the Alltrack Wolfsburg I tested again proved my theory that if you get a good DSG and drive it properly, you’ll forget all about nine-and-more speed automatic transmissions.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Review by Practical Motoring

The six-speeder tested was perfectly matched to the engine to the point where gear shifts were almost imperceptible and the response to the throttle instantaneous. Slow down the speed and the thing performed just as well; throw it onto dirt and, again, there was no issue. The last time I tested the Alltrack I noted there was significant roll-back when transitioning from the brake to the accelerator pedal from a standing start on a hill. Not this time.

The engine is nice and strong in this car pulling cleanly and easily from low revs right the way through the rev range. And, when you need to overtake all you need to do is flex your toe and the transmission will drop down a cog or two and put you back itno the meat of the torque. This would be an easy car to drive from Sydney to Melbourne; it’s an effortless cruiser and quiet into the bargain. If you didn’t know it was a diesel you wouldn’t be able to tell.

All the pedals are nice and progressive and the steering while nice and direct and well weighted is a bit feel free but that can be put down to the electric assistance; some systems are better than others at dialling the driver into the doings of the car’s front end.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Review by Practical Motoring

The Alltrack Wolfsburg gets adaptive chassis control which allows you to adjust the vehicle’s ride profile through Normal, Comfort and Sport. Typically, with these things I tend to stick in Normal as it tends to offer the best of both worlds and it does in this case, to a certain degree. I selected Sport a couple of times but found in the sort of driving I was doing, it made little too no difference… but, when I took the Alltrack out onto some rutted dirt roads selecting Comfort made a difference. And a good one at that.

The Passat Alltrack tends towards a firmer ride aided by its 19-inch alloys and low-profile rubber and when left in Normal on dirt there was just too much thump through into the cabin when driving across corrugations. In Comfort, the harshness was taken out of the impact, but there’s still very little wheel travel. So, when it comes to pushing the Alltrack off-road, a Subaru Outback will outperform it every single time thanks to its greater clearance and longer legged suspension.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Review by Practical Motoring

You’ll be able to see form the pics, approach angles aren’t amazing thanks to the stylish looking but low, jutting jaw. And rampover isn’t amazing either thanks to the low-ish clearance and long wheelbase, but then this isn’t a rock hopper.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Review by Practical Motoring

Like other Volkswagen 4Motion passenger car applications, the Alltrack Wolfsburg is when either coasting or in low-load applications behaving more like a front-wheel drive. But, once the throttle is applied or even a hint of steering then torque is shuffled towards the back meaning all four wheels are receiving some drive even before slip is detected. And it works quite well too. Hoof the thing into a corner on dirt and give it a bootful of throttle and there’s no push from the nose; it just drives around the corner. And the same is true from a standing start on a hill… the thing won’t slip or spin the wheels while the system waits to engage.

Is it as good as a permanent all-wheel drive set-up like the one that Subaru runs? Probably not, but it’s so close that you’ll never notice.

What about the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg’s safety features?

The Passat Alltrack shares the standard car’s five-star ANCAP rating, gets airbags for front and rear seat passengers, heated windscreen washer jets and rain sensing wipers, ISOFIX mounts on the outer seats in the back, daytime driving lights, traction and stability control as well 4Motion all-wheel drive, reversing camera, driver fatigue detection, active cruise control, Front Assist with City Emergency Braking or autonomous emergency braking, and much more.

So, what do we think of the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg?

For the money, you get a limited-edition vehicle with plenty of good bits that its standard sibling misses out on. The cosmetic bits help it to stand out from the crowd but it’s the active damping that’s the headline grabber. The vehicle itself is incredibly comfortable and roomy with an air of elegance inside that its key competitors can’t match. That said, there are plenty of alternatives in this space, like the Subaru Outback and even the Skoda Kodiaq if you’re after a roomy SUV… sure, the Kodiaq isn’t as swift as the Passat although that’ll change when the 140kW diesel engine arrives later this year.

2017 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg Review by Practical Motoring


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  1. Can you fit chains to the front wheels with this VW…….you might want to know!
    (run your hand around the inside of the wheel and check the gap between the strut if they can’t advise you)

        1. Hi Rye an, here’s the response I received when I emailed VW’s PR boss about it: “Hello mate

          Technical says:

          Snow chains may only be fitted on the front wheels – even on all-wheel drive vehicles (4MOTION) – and only with the following wheel and tyre combinations:

          Tyre size Wheel
          215/55 R 17 7 J x 17 offset 38

          Volkswagen recommends that you ask your Volkswagen dealership for information about appropriate wheel, tyre and snow chain size.
          If possible, use snow chains with fine-pitch links which do not protrude more than 13.5 mm, including the tensioner.”

          1. I thought the ‘zero offset ‘ front strut geometry meant the standard wheel/tyre combination didn’t leave sufficient space for the chains to clear the struts.
            My Yeti manual specifically referred to chain only being able to be fitted to the REAR wheels unless the wheels were changed … significant cost, I might add!

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