Volkswagen has unveiled the Passat Alltrack, an off-road-oriented wagon that will become a rival for the Subaru Outback and Skoda Octavia Scout.
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The 2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack will be imported to Australia next year, likely in the second half, to follow model variants such as the Outback, Scout as well as the Audi A6 Allroad – introducing increased ride height and extra body protection over the regular models on which it is based.

Ride height increases by 30mm to 165mm to improve the Passat wagon’s ability to drive over crests, while approach and departure angles also increase as a result of revised, more rugged-looking front and rear bumpers.

Faux stainless-steel underbody panels are added front and rear to help protect mechanicals and the wheel-arches are flared with black plastic cladding.

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack uses the company’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, which is predominantly front-wheel-drive in general driving – but sends more torque to the rear axle as road conditions require.

An Off-road mode is also borrowed from the VW Tiguan compact SUV, with the setting bringing hill descent assist that will automatically control the vehicle’s speed down steep slopes, anti-lock brakes reconfigured for looser surfaces, and electronic differential locks that react faster to minimise wheelspin.

Two engines have been announced initially – both 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesels already familiar to the Australian market.

In Europe the 103kW version is mated as standard to a six-speed manual, with the more powerful 125kW unit teamed with a six-speed ‘DSG’ dual-clutch auto.

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack will make its public debut at the 2011 Tokyo motor show next week.

VW Australia says it's too early to confirm pricing for the Passat Alltrack. The regular Passat wagon starts at $40,990 for a front-wheel-drive 1.8-litre turbo petrol model.