• VW's version of the Audi Allroad or Subaru Outback
  • Two gasoline and two diesel engines offered
  • Improved light off-road capability


A wagon version of the Passat is not currently available in the US. But if the company decides to bring one back, the Passat Alltrack revealed at the Tokyo Auto Show may be a smart model to include. The new wagon bridges the gap between car and SUV, both in terms of its styling and its capabilities. The Alltrack sports an SUV-style exterior design and higher ground clearance than the conventional Passat wagon. The taller and tougher looking Alltrack will be offered with a choice of four engines when it goes on sale early next year.

The overall look of the Alltrack is similar to the Subaru Outback or Volvo XC70 - a wagon with off-road attitude. While the familiar Passat shape is evident in the Alltrack, blockier, SUV-style bumpers and flared fenders and sills give a bolder look. Higher ground clearance than the conventional wagon and front and rear stainless steel-look underbody protection panels suggest capability where the pavement ends. The Alltrack is further distinguished by new "Valley" type 17-inch wheels and matte chrome trim.

Volkswagen will offer two gasoline engine choices and two diesels in the Alltrack, all benefitting from direct injection. The bigger gasoline motor is good for 210 horsepower while the turbodiesel makes 170 horsepower. These two most powerful units feature standard 4Motion all-wheel-drive and a dual-clutch transmission. VW claims fuel economy equivalents over 40 mpg in the diesel models.

Special equipment tweaks like the off-road driving program found on the Tiguan and Touareg SUVs give the Alltrack an edge on loose surfaces like gravel. The system provides higher thresholds for anti-lock braking control and quicker responses from 4Motion's electronic differential locks. Hill descent assistance automatically engages on angles over 10 degrees, allowing the Alltrack to crawl down a steep bank in a controlled manner. Gear shift points are raised, and the stop/start and freewheeling systems can be deactivated by moving the gear shift lever into the manual gate.

The Alltrack gives those who want the capability and rugged look of an SUV a stylish and efficient wagon option. While Volkswagen has made no announcement of bringing the Alltrack - or the conventional Passat wagon - to the US, the new version shown in Tokyo could be a good choice for the Passat's future American lineup.

What it means to you: Volkswagen does not currently sell a Passat wagon in the US. But if the company brings the Passat Alltrack here, the tough looking wagon may be an SUV alternative Americans find appealing.

See more Tokyo Auto Show news.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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