Most wagon options in the U.S. fall under the slightly-lifted off-road category. The reason is quite simple as buyers like the looks and capability on offer when compared to standard wagons. Case in point is the latest member of the Golf family, the Alltrack. Volkswagen recently revealed that 75 percent of Golf SportWagens sold in the U.S. are Alltracks. We happen to be big fans of the Golf SportWagen as it builds upon many of strong points of the regular Golf by making it more practical. Can the Golf Alltrack do the same?
- The small changes made to the Golf Alltrack’s exterior help make it stand out somewhat. It begins with the slight 0.6-inch increase in ride height and a larger tire and wheel combination. Our SEL tester feature 18-inch wheels, while the S and SE make do with 17-inch wheels. Other exterior changes include new bumpers and lower body cladding.
- Volkswagen didn’t make any changes to the Alltrack’s interior which is a good thing. It retains the clean if a somewhat boring design that makes it easy to find the various controls. Build and material quality is very solid.
- SEL models get a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Volkswagen’s Car-Net infotainment system and navigation. We like how fast the system is with switching between various functions, physical shortcut buttons, and integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Car-Net loses some points for low-resolution graphics and the navigation system looking very dated.
- The seats are quite comfortable with excellent support and good bolstering to keep you planted when traversing down a winding road. Head and legroom are excellent in both rows of seats.
- A turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder with 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque provides the motivation for the Golf Alltrack. This is paired with a six-speed DSG transmission (a six-speed manual is available on the S and SE) and Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Despite being about 300 pounds heavier than the SportWagen, the Alltrack doesn’t break a sweat. It feels just as fast as the SportWagen we drove last year with strong acceleration throughout the rpm band.
- The DSG still exhibits some sluggishness when leaving a stop, but improves when you’re up to speed with rapid and smooth shifts.
- Fuel economy is disappointing with EPA figures of 22 City/30 Highway/25 Combined. We saw an average of 25 MPG with a mix of 70 percent city and 30 percent highway driving.
- Ride and handling characteristics is much like the standard Golf and SportWagen. No matter the road surface, the Alltrack’s suspension was able to provide a comfortable ride. Around corners, the Alltrack does show a little bit of body roll. However, it feels as agile as the standard SportWagen and the steering is quick to respond to inputs.
- The Golf Alltrack begins at $25,850 for the base S with manual transmission. Our loaded SEL tester totaled $35,705 with the Driver Assistance and Light package. That’s a lot of money for a compact off-road wagon, especially considering you can get into a larger Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited with the excellent EyeSight active safety system for around the same money. If we were buying a Golf Alltrack, we would drop down to the S with the DSG and order the Driver Assistance package, bring the total price to just over $28,500.
- The Alltrack is a worthy addition to the Golf family as it provides something a bit more capable while retaining many of the plus points of the standard Golf. We do wish the DSG was smoother during low-speed driving and fuel economy was slightly better.
Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Golf Alltrack, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Model: Golf Alltrack
Engine: Turbocharged 1.8L TSI DOHC Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Six-Speed DSG, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 170 @ 4,500
Torque @ RPM: 199 @ 1,600
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/30/25
Curb Weight: 3,351 lbs
Location of Manufacture: N/A
Base Price: $32,890
As Tested Price: $35,705 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)
SEL Driver Assistance & Lighting Package - $1,995.00