The poor man's Audi A6 Allroad? The new Volkswagen Passat Alltrack follows a well-trod path to create a more rugged estate car with some of the accoutrements of an SUV.
Set to be unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo motor show at the end of November, the new Passat in wellies will arrive in UK dealers in July 2012. The order books are expected to open up in April 2012, when prices will be announced. Expect a modest increase over regular or cooking Passat wagons.
So what makes a Volkswagen Passat estate an Alltrack?
The usual soft-roader fare: stainless steel-look underbody skid plates front and rear, plus black plastic cladding around the wheelarches and sills - stretching the visual stance - while matt chrome adorns the roof rails, window surrounds and door mirrors.
That 'Alltrack' badge on the new minimalist four-bar grille is a giveaway, too, of course. Even if it does look suspiciously like a Bluemotion flash from a distance.
So the new VW Passat Alltrack will be next to climb Mount Snowdon in some midnight jape?
The jury's out on that one. Granted, there's Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive (sending somewhere between 10%-100% of torque rearwards) and a slightly raised ride height, growing ground clearance by a considerable 30mm to 165mm.
Mud-pluggers should note that means the departure, approach and breakover angles all nudge a little nearer those of an actual Land Rover.
How nerdy are you feeling? That ramp breakaway angle increases from 9.5deg to 12.8deg. Approach a tank ramp and approach angle opens out from 13.5deg to all of 16deg. We doubt a single British motorist will ever experience any of these. We were only joking when we mentioned Land Rovers.
That said, there is a Tiguan-stye off-road button to activate a hill descent control, reprogramme the anti-lock and remap gearchanges where the DSG is specced to boost traction.
Engines in the new Alltrack
UK Passat Alltracks come with a choice of 2.0 TDI diesels, mustering 138bhp (six-speed manual) or 168bhp (available only with the six-speed DSG twin-clutch auto).
All Alltracks will pack Alcantara upholstery, bi-zone climate control, cruise control, tyre pressure monitors (soon to become compulsory fit in Europe), iPod connectivity and 18in alloy wheels.