Volkswagen is launching its own cut-price rival to those mud-loving Allroad models from Audi in May 2012 – the new Passat Alltrack 4motion.
It's a Passat estate in a Barbour and green wellies, its ride height hoiked up and with 4motion all-wheel drive boosting traction for soft-roading and pulling horseboxes over slippery grass.
VW quotes a two-tonne towing capacity – 200kg greater than an equivalent Passat estate.
VW Passat Alltrack (2012): the lowdown
The Passat Alltrack comes only in diesel trim – with two different power outputs for its 2.0-litre TDI engine. It can be specced in 138bhp form or 168bhp. The lower-powered diesel comes with a six-speed manual transmission; the higher-powered model gets a six-speed DSG twin-clutch 'box.
Prices start at £28,475 for the entry-level car, the higher-powered Alltrack costs £31,025.
That compares favourably with an Audi A4 Allroad, which starts at £31,475 for a 2.0 TFSI Quattro, rising to nearly £37k for a 3.0 TDI. You can't currently buy an A6 Allroad in the UK, but a Skoda Octavia Scout with an identically powered 138bhp 2.0 TDI looks a tempting alternative at £22,720.
It's interesting that most competitors in this field are from the VW fold. Volvo and Subaru offer beefed-up estates with SUV pretensions, but it's arguably the Volkswagen empire which has exploited this niche most aggressively.
VW Passat Alltrack (2012): what do I get?
All new VW Passat Alltracks come with Alcantara upholstery, climate control, touchscreen sat-nav, DAB radio, cruiser control and 18in alloy wheels.
Both models achieve nearly 50mpg on the combined cycle, the lower-powered diesel model topping 49.6mpg, the 168bhp version 47.9mpg.
The welly-booted Passat goes on sale in UK dealers on 28 May 2012.