With the balloon of Team Cambo aloft, we set off after it as it skimmed over rooftops and trees in the direction of the ‘drop zone challenge’.
Little did we know at that point but the car’s vivid Habanero Orange paintwork had already made it something of a recognisable presence among the Canowindra ballooning fraternity. On more than a couple of occasions prior, locals had sidled up to enquire about the car and compliment it on its purposeful styling.
It’s certainly rugged looking, with its matte-black protective trim and wheel arch extensions. But that ruggedness is more than skin deep. With its raised ground clearance and rough road suspension, the car has been designed to eat up the kind of dirt tracks found around Canowindra. Even with a bit of throttle on surfaces offering limited traction, the Passat Alltrack’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive, with electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, kept the vehicle supremely in control.
The pursuit was the perfect opportunity to activate ‘Off-road Mode’ from the vehicle’s Driving Profile selection. Turning this mode on readies the Passat Alltrack for greater performance on loose and uneven ground by activating Hill Descent Control to moderate the vehicle’s speed on hills, adapting accelerator responsiveness and adjusting the point at which it switches gears.
Incidentally, who knew the Passat Alltrack’s panoramic glass sunroof (part of the optional Luxury package) would come in so handy to allow a skyward view of the balloons as they drifted above? The perfect chase vehicle indeed.