Passat on right ‘track’

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The Volkswagen Passat Alltrack offers a rugged-ised version of the Passat

estate, replete with 4MOTION all-wheel drive, a raised ride height and a clever off-road mode.

With a choice of two versions of a 2.0-litre diesel engine, it’s a slickly packaged vehicle that can’t fail to win lots of friends.

For those looking for a car that they can bump up an unmade track to a remote beach or not feel vertigo when ascending the hairpins to a snowy ski resort, the Alltrack looks ideal.

It is based on the familiar Passat Estate but includes a number of modifications. The raised ride height lifts ground clearance from 135 to 165mm, which offers better clearance off road.

The body enhancements also provide a modicum of protection from scrapes when covering rough terrain.

These include stainless steel-look front and rear underbody protection panels and flared side sills. Expect to pay around £28,500 for the manual 140 PS model and about £2,500 more for the more powerful 170 PS car with the DSG transmission.

With a great diesel engine and clever all-wheel drive underpinnings, the Passat Alltrack seems to offer a lot of car for your money. It’s well equipped too, the single trim level including Alcantara upholstery, 2Zone electronic climate control, a touchscreen satellite navigation system, DAB radio, MDI iPod connectivity, Bluetooth telephone preparation, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitoring system and 18-inch Canyon alloy wheels. Here’s a car that just looks completely confident in its own abilities. It’s not try-hard or shouty. It’s a lifestyle vehicle done the Volkswagen way.