Whether it’s going on that walked-up day with your chums or, on a different scale, having a couple more grouse keepers than are truly needed, I suspect most of us spend a little more on shooting than we really ought to. It’s probably also safe to say a direct result of this is there are always a couple of chaps on every shoot who have ex-wives living in houses they’ve bought them. Well, dear friend with the haunted look in your previously wandering eye, I think I’ve found the car for you.

A few months ago, I awarded the Audi A6 Allroad five out of five pheasants. It’s big, comfortable, fast, economical, handsome and, shod in a set of sensible tyres, would get you to, from and indeed round most shoots in most weathers. But the one I drove would have cost over £60,000 and, having a play with their online configurator, I managed to spec one to over £80,000, which equates to quite a lot of shooting and virtually nothing in ex-wives.

The VW Passat Alltrack is a conventional estate car – with a few adjustments.

Which brings me to the VW Passat Alltrack, Audi’s sister company Volkswagen’s none too subtle attempt to cash in on their success. It has much the same concept in that it is a conventional estate car but with a few adjustments. Ground clearance grows from 135mm to 165mm, it has four-wheel drive and some slightly beefier plastic addenda for the bodywork. It’s only available with two engine choices, both 2.0 litre diesels, but one with slightly less poke and a manual gearbox, and the other with slightly more and one of those clever dual clutch automatic gearboxes.

The VW Passat Alltrack comes with two engine choices, this one with a dual clutch automatic gearbox.

The VW Passat Alltrack only comes in the one trim level, which equips it with pretty much everything you might want including suede-like Alcantara upholstery and a touchscreen satellite navigation system. The only option box you might want to tick is the electrically deployable towbar so that you can take advantage of its generous 2,000kg towing capacity.

The VW Passat Alltrack only comes in the one trim level, but this includes a touchscreen satellite navigation system and suede-like upholstery.

So – what would you be losing out on if you saved yourself the neck end of £20,000 on a similarly equipped Audi? Well, you’ve got two fewer cylinders, meaning that it makes a rather less cultured noise, especially when stretched, which you have to do a bit more to row it along at the same pace. To go alongside that, you get slightly more road noise in the cabin and its driver and passengers are not quite as well insulated from potholes and expansion joints. It’s also slightly smaller, and the quality of its switchgear, while very good, is not quite up to the Audi’s.

But, you know what? It’s all a matter of very small degrees. The VW Passat Alltrack is a fine car and makes sound financial sense, although you’d never describe it as an object of desire.

Specifications for the VW Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI BlueMotion Technology 177PS

Price: £31,355
Top speed: 131mph
0-60mph: 8.9 seconds
Combined: 47.9mpg
CO₂: 144g/km


Ben Samuelson is the managing director of PR and events agency Samuelson Wylie Associates. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/bensamuelson

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