QUESTION: When is a Volkswagen Passat estate not a Volkswagen Passat estate? Answer: When it's a Volkswagen Passat Alltrack.
The Alltrack is the super sensible version of the Passat estate because it comes with four-wheel-drive - and all its associated benefits.
In essence VW has taken one of its most popular family estate cars and given it a much harder edge, although you have to look closely to spot it as the Alltrack is not overtly different.
As well as four-wheel-drive it has 27.5mm more ground clearance to allow it to tackle light off-road work as well as underbody protection, rugged wheel arch covers and side sill mouldings.
Inside the seats are a mix of cloth and Alcantara and have a rugged hard wearing appearance to them.
Under normal conditions the Alltrack is powered by the front wheels to save fuel but as soon as those wheels detect any loss of traction power is sent instantly to the rear wheels as well.
If one wheel starts to spin the Electronic Differential Lock instant sends power to the opposite wheel in a fraction of a second to ensure grip.
Despite the high stance of the Alltrack the ride is just as good as the standard Passat and the road holding and cornering are obviously much sharper thanks to the 4x4 system.
Powered by a 2.0-litre, 190bhp engine the Alltrack is no slouch. It‘s not the quietest diesel around under pressure but it will hit 62 miles per hour in just 8.0 seconds on its way to a top speed of 136 miles per hour.
Under normal acceleration, however, the Alltrack is a quiet, civilised car to drive and boasts plenty of pulling power, making it ideal for towing. In fact a towing load of 2,200kg braked can be hitched to it on a twelve per cent gradient.
For performance motoring you can slip the gearshift into sport or use the paddles behind the steering wheel for manual gear changes.
Official consumption figures suggest over 50 miles per gallon but over a week's motoring I was getting just over 40mpg.
As with the standard Passat you can set the car up to suit your style of driving, with a choice of eco, normal, sport and off-road. The latter gives the car Hill Decent Assist which means that on a downhill slope of more than 10 per cent the speed is strictly controlled to ensure a safe decent.
Alltracks are very well equipped as standard but my test car had a host of optional extras at surprisingly reasonable prices. These included heated rear seats at £170, a multi-function heated steering wheel at £140 and a rear view camera at £325.
The Alltrack is a passenger friendly car with plenty of head and legroom to allow everyone to stretch out comfortably.
On the luggage front too you are spoiled for space with some 639 litres available with the rear seatbacks up and 1,769 with them down. And VW's roller blind luggage cover is one of the best in the business for fuss free use.