By Mike Hanley on April 1, 2012
Volkswagen's luxury brand, Audi, has a history of building off-road-ready wagons with its Allroad line; VW follows suit with the debut of the Alltrack concept. The car is based on the Passat Alltrack sold in Europe, but Volkswagen says the concept is only meant to gauge reaction and not intended for the U.S.
Despite plastic cladding around the wheel openings and revised bumper styling, the Alltrack remains more wagon than crossover in appearance. To improve the car's off-road potential, Volkswagen has increased its ground clearance by 1.2 inches, added steel skidplates to protect the underbelly and fitted the car with an off-road-driving program for the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
Available at speeds up to 18 mph, the off-road program modifies the intervention threshold for the antilock brakes, shortens the reaction time of the electronic differential locks to limit wheelspin, and reduces the sensitivity of the gas pedal for better control at low speeds.
Power comes from a familiar source: Volkswagen's turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine. The four-cylinder makes 140 horsepower and 236 pounds-feet of torque and teams with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Senior Editor Mike Hanley is a father of three boys; he reviews new cars, admires classic cars and has embraced the minivan lifestyle. Email Mike