Americans aren’t particularly fond of wagons, but Volkswagen hopes to change a few people’s minds with their new Golf Alltrack wagon. It comes with all-wheel drive, and it’s a vehicle for adventure seekers. Volkswagen wants to capitalize on young urban-adventurers who will use its off-pavement abilities for weekend excursions to get away from civilization.
We recently took it through the high country of Colorado, the perfect place to test the all-wheel drive wagon. How did the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SE TSI 4Motion model hold up?
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is an all-new model that’s based on the pavement-oriented Golf SportWagen. It’s establishing a new identity and comes fitted with lower-body cladding, fog lamps, a honeycomb grille, and unique bumpers to set it apart from its stablemate. It also gets a raised suspension and underbody protection.
Features and Options
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SE TSI 4Motion ($30,530) comes standard with all-wheel drive and body cladding for those weekend adventures. Inside, it comes with heated front seats, leatherette seating surfaces, a rearview camera, a Fender premium sound system, and keyless entry/start. Outside it comes with a power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, heated washer nozzles, heated side mirrors, and roof rails.
The Driver Assist package ($845) brings adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and even a Park Pilot self-parking system. The 6-speed DSG automatic transmission is offered at no charge. Total MSRP including destination: $32,195.
The cabin is airy and spacious up front and there’s good visibility from the driver’s seat. Taller drivers won’t have a problem finding a comfortable position even with the manual adjustments. The black leatherette material is comfortable and the front seats are especially good for longer trips. They didn’t leave us tired after a trip through the mountains this week.
As is typical for Volkswagen, everything seems nicely put together, and the fit and finish is what you’d expect for this price point. There’s some soft-touch material up front, but in the back there’s more hard surfaces which is likely by design. These surfaces make it easier to clean up the sand after a trip to the beach or mud after a mountain bike ride.
Out back, rear occupants won’t have as much room as the front, but getting in and out of the back seat isn’t a chore like some vehicles. Rear seat space is not as good as the Alltrack’s main completion, the Subaru Outback. Cargo space is also less than Outback with 30.4 cubic feet behind the seat, and 66.5 with the seat backs folded. Outback is 35.5 cubic feet (73.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded) by comparison. The Alltrack makes it easy to fold the rear seatbacks flat while you’re loading cargo, however, and it offers up a handy two-position sliding cargo cover.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is powered by a turbocharged, 1.8-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine that develops 170 horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque. It comes with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive, and it’s mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission.
EPA fuel-mileage estimates are 22/30 city/highway and 25 combined mpg.
The first thing we noticed after getting underway is the Alltrack’s excellent visibility in all directions due to plentiful glass. On the road, the 1.8-liter turbo engine is peppy enough for most driving situations. The turbo helped in the rarefied air in Colorado’s high country. We pushed the engine hard up I-70 for a good test and it performed well.
In the tight mountain corners, the wagon does tend to lean a bit due to the higher ride height. It’s the price you pay for it’s off-road abilities. Overall, the Alltrack offers solid handling and a fairly engaging driving experience. In the city, the wagon is easy to maneuver in tight spaces due to its compact size.
The 6-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission can feel sluggish from a stop, but after we were underway, the shifts were smooth and quick. The new wagon offers an Off-Road Mode and with 6.7 inches of ground clearance, there is enough for most excursions, but the Subaru Outback still rules the segment with 8.7 inches of clearance. The Alltrack does come with underbody protection to keep you from destroying the oil pan, however.
There’s likely enough off-road capability for the majority of weekend warriors.
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack offers a lot of flexibility for city commuting and weekend adventures. It offers all-wheel drive, a raised suspension, and underbody protection for those wanting to get away from civilization. We thought it was a compelling alternative to the crowded crossover segment.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy