Australian’s have turned their back on the station wagon, opting for SUV’s instead.
And I reckon that’s a real shame.
Because the wagon is still a great all-rounder, offering excellent versatility and spaciousness, with the driving appeal of a sedan.
I remember younger days and a wagon full of mates, roof racks loaded with boards, heading to the surf, or loaded with gear heading to a race track.
Luckily brands like Volkswagen still make wagons and their Passat is one of the best going.
There is now an even greater reason for slipping into your local VW showroom.
The limited-edition Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg.
Only 250 are coming here and the Wolfsburg edition sets itself apart from the rest of the Passat range with a swag of extra goodies worth $4,200.
Best of all it is only a smidge more than the standard Passat Alltrack with a price tag $54,990 plus on-road costs.
Highlighting the list of extra kit is the 12.3-inch colour screen that operates just like the brilliant Audi Virtual cockpit. You can shrink the tacho and speedo and display a google map or between Bluetooth, Vehicle settings, Audio levels and your mobile’s Phonebook. Adaptive Chassis technology, an electric tailgate and paddle shifts for the six-speed DSG are also standard in the Wolfsburg.
Perched on stylish 19-inch alloy rims, wrapped in Pirelli’s finest, the Wolfsburg’s sharp looks are enhanced with slightly tweaked bumpers, privacy glass on the rear windows and LED lights front and back, a slightly raised ride height – (to 147mm), black plastic over the wheel arches for a touch of ruggedness and roof rails.
Inside there are acres of space for five and a massive 639-litres of boot space, with handy bag hooks and privacy blind. Fold down the rear seat and you have 1769-litres to play with. It also features a black headliner; aluminum dash inserts, Apple Play and Android Auto in the crystal-clear infotainment colour touch-screen, tri-zone aircon, radar cruise control, reversing camera, sat nav, piano black accents, leather-wrapped D-shape multifunction steering wheel and leather trim.
The black ‘nappa’ leather seats in both rows are sumptuous with front passengers getting three-stage heating, electric operation, and added to the driver’s chair are memory settings and even a massage function! Added to this are storage nooks everywhere and plenty of cupholders.
In almost every way the Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg feels similar to the Audi A4 Allroad.
Both share the 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, six-speed DSG transmission, and all-wheel-drive. The engine is both powerful, with plenty of low-down punch and flexibility ensuring reserves of power on tap across the rev range. The six-speed DSG is the perfect foil for the engine and the ratios are well tailored to the broad torque of the engine.
It is also very, very economical and I got just on 1,000kms from a tank and averaged just 6.2 L/100km; which was quite remarkable considering a good portion of the driving was stop-start city driving.
Although there are AWD badges on its flanks, most of the time the Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg will operate as a front driver, to save wear and tear on the driveline and save fuel, but if it detects the slightest slippage it instantly feeds drive to all four wheels through electronic diffs fore and aft.
Behind the wheel, the VW Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg is a delight. Its steering delivers plenty of feel and the suspension is well sorted, dishing out a supple ride with excellent body control and balance. It is also whisper quiet even on crook road surfaces.
Toggling though the drive modes dials more aggression into the power, gearbox, steering, and suspension, making it tauter and livelier – and more entertaining – through corners. Bends can be tackled with vigour and despite its raised ride height, it feels very planted, giving you the confidence to press on. I have to admit I didn’t find any serious dirt tracks to venture down but the light off-roading I did was taken in its stride, even though the Pirelli boots it was wearing were very much blacktop focused.
The Passat has a five-star ANCAP safety rating and features nine airbags, auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and rear traffic alert to name just a few.
If like me you love wagons, go and put yourself behind the wheel of the Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg. It is a gem.
For more info on the VW Passat Alltrack Wolfsburg head to the VW website.