2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is the grownup’s Sportwagen

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack (Aaron)

The 2017 Golf Alltrack is a new option from Volkswagen to cover the more refined crossover-turned-wagon fans. The Alltrack is more sophisticated and upscale than is its Golf fellow, the Sportwagen. The Alltrack combines a solid drive with excellent versatility and ease of daily use. VW is on to something here.

The manufacturer says

Look for adventure in off-the-beaten-path places, with the help of 4MOTION all-wheel drive. Switch to Off-Road Mode to optimize traction control. Enjoy smooth driving down steep inclines, thanks to Hill Descent Control that actively helps control the application of your brakes. And help maximize the complete potential of the turbo engine by giving the paddle shifters a go. All while giving a right-foot salute to the outside world.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Volkswagen
  • Year, Model: 2017 Golf Alltrack
  • Class, Type: Compact Wagon
  • Base Price: $26,950
  • MSRP as tested: $32,195
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The Golf Alltrack can be synopsized as a more sophisticated, grownup version of the golf Sportwagen 4Motion (AWD) model. Where the Sportwagen is more basic and sold at lower cost, the Alltrack has multiple trim levels and is more upscale in appeal. All good things.

The Alltrack competes against other wagons with AWD, most notably the Subaru Impreza hatchback and its Outback sibling. In terms of size and capability, the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is more competitive with the Impreza than the Outback.

The Alltrack’s most appealing points are its standard AWD, it’s relatively low price point, and it’s all-around versatility. It has the stance and clearance of a crossover combined with the easy of daily use that comes with a wagon design. The wagon styling also makes it feel lower to the ground when driving, but lets you keep the useful cargo and passenger capacity of a small crossover-SUV.

That’s not to say that the 2017 Volkswagen Alltrack is perfect. Some of the Golf’s quirks are still found in this new model, including the somewhat outdated-feeling touchscreen interface and a slightly cramped back seat. The former is due to VW having not upgraded the infotainment in their vehicles for some time and the latter is due to the Golf-like styling of the Alltrack, which angles in the side walls a bit, creating a little less shoulder space for the rear.

There are three trim levels for the AWD Volkswagen Golf Alltrack: S, SE, and SEL. We drove the middle of the road SE package with some add-ons for driver assistance and safety. This is the volume packaging for the car and is probably the best bet for most buyers.

Powering the Alltrack is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that’s turbocharged to 170 horsepower. This engine is common in the VW lineup and is found in everything from the Golf to the Passat and even in some crossovers. It’s an enjoyable little powerplant, though not particularly muscular in the sizeable Alltrack. It’s mated to a dual-clutch automatic transmission that does well under acceleration, but is sometimes hesitant during around town driving. Road presence and steering are great, though, and fall in line with the best of VW’s offerings in that way.

What we like

Nicely sized with good cargo and passenger utility.
Well-designed for both daily use and inclement weather/light offroad needs.

What we don't

Infotainment is a bit outdated.
Backseat sits two adults, but gets cramped with three.

Conclusions

The 2017 VW Alltrack is a solid little goer with a lot of appeal. For those who’re considering the Sportwagen from Volkswagen or looking at the Subaru Impreza hatchback, we strongly recommend keeping the Alltrack in mind as well. With impressive cargo space and a lot of versatile drive appeal, it’s a definite contender for your station wagon needs.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The Golf Alltrack was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, a total of 466 miles were put on the car in a variety of driving situations and passenger/cargo loads.

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