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Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2012 New York Auto Show in New York City.
Volkswagen Alltrack concept

What is it? Think of this as the Volkswagen Outback. Based on the new American-made Passat sedan, the Alltrack wagon adds 1.2-inches of ground clearance and all-wheel drive. The Alltrack is powered by Volkswagen’s 148-hp, 2.0-liter turbodiesel with 236 lb.-ft. of torque and a six-speed DSG automated manual gearbox. 

What is new or notable: Extensive steel skid-plates and an off-road electronics program should take the Alltrack well off the beaten path. The off-road program, which works up to 
18 mph, holds higher engine revs, reduces throttle response, and reprograms the anti-lock brakes for better stopping performance on snow and gravel.

CR’s take: The TDI powered Passat sedan returned 37 mpg overall in our tests. While this raised, all-wheel-drive version won’t likely match that, the combination of AWD, diesel fuel economy, the Passat’s relaxed highway manners and big-car space may make this an intriguing adventure-ready soft-roader without all the off-road paraphernalia. Skiers take note!

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