Volkswagen Golf Alltrack 2017 Review | TestDriveNow

One of VW’s shining stars is the Golf Sportwagen;
it’s fun-to-drive, versatile and affordably priced. And now, following the hulked-up wagon trend
is this all-new Golf Alltrack, with more ground clearance and all-wheel drive. Are wagons back? It seems as though more and more of them are
making their way to our shores and the formula being followed is to produce one for the road
and one for the trail. Case in point, the Alltrack; raised suspension,
underbody protection, rugged styling, standard 4Motion all-wheel drive…when you like the
Sportwagen but want more capability, the Alltrack’s ready to step in. Of course, there’s a price premium…about
$2,000…but the attraction to the Alltrack’s added swagger is understandable. When you live where I do, having all-wheel
drive and nearly 7” of ground clearance is added peace of mind. Swap out these 18” Contis for a set of winter
rubber and you’re good to go. Similar to the new quattro system on the Audi
A4 allroad’s, this latest generation of 4MOTION completely decouples the rear wheels
under low road or coasting conditions to better gas mileage, though the alltrack still loses
4mpg in combined driving as compared with the front-drive Sportwagen with the same powertrain. Up to 50% of the available torque can be routed
to the rear wheels, which activates before any wheelspin occurs. Furthermore, an electronic differential lock
can briefly brake a slipping wheel, transferring power to the wheel on the opposite side. And within the Driving Mode Selection is an
Off Road setting altering ABS and the character of the gas pedal while also activating hill
decent control, a feature which moderates vehicle speed leaving you to simply steer
it down the trail. Additionally, a special off-road display on
the optional navi system shows a compass, steering angle and altitude. It’s not going to tackle the Rubicon Trail
and it doesn’t possess the same level of off-road chops as the similarly priced and
larger Subaru Outback but the Alltrack’s package of exploring tools provides its owners
with a satisfying level of added capability. Plus, its roof rack is easier to access and
for the driver in you, there’s a sweet 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission with sport
mode and paddle shifters. With its own unique suspension tuning and
a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine making 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, gas
mileage is rated at 22mpg city/30mpg highway. It’s also equipped with the XDS+ Cross Differential
System from the GTI, acting like an electronic substitute for a mechanical limited slip differential
helping improve handling and cornering performance. Off road, it feels stout and surefooted though
its approach angle is limited. On road, it drives with the typical Golf verve;
spirited and willing to capitulate to your backroad follies. The added weight and higher center of gravity
does affect its fun-to-drive nature to a small degree, but if there’s one aspect that surprises
me it’s the steering…it’s just not as connected and that’s a VW hallmark that
can’t be devalued. It firms up in Sport mode but there’s still
a wee lack of feeling that’s unusual for the brand. However, I’ve logged lots of miles in the
Alltrack both on the highway and off the beaten path and it’s a wonderfully engineered ride
allowing you to feel the road but keeping comfort in mind. Plus, features such as radar-guided cruise
control, lane keep assist and adaptive Bi-Xenon headlamps with automatic high beams provide
a concierge level of driving ease. There’s also a rear backup cam tucked away
cleverly under the badge and a parking assistant for both perpendicular and parallel parking. I love the way VW integrates all of this tech
too – so easy to access and interact with. And though their Car-Net infotainment system
may not look like much, it’s in fact pretty awesome with gesture recognition, Apple Car
Play – an absolute must have for me these days, SiriusXM info like weather, sports and
traffic and special driving features like eco-driving feedback. The navigation system also displays speed
limits and offers 3 drive routes for every destination. But a wagon needs to be a Swiss Army knife
to be worthy and it’s great how VW didn’t just create a box in the back. Pull up this Muddy Buddy which covers the
entire cargo area when the rear seats are laid flat and the cargo floor can be lowered
and divided while the underfloor storage can be sectioned off with various configurable
parts. There are also 2 power outlets, a multistage
cargo cover and remote handles for lowering the splitfold seats. Now this is how you add smart to a wagon. The rear seats don’t slide or recline yet
offer deep seated comfort under a huge panoramic moonroof. Bravo for the choice of this Marrakesh Brown
interior…leatherette and not leather if you care about such things. With lots of small cubbies and a cooled glove
box, the Alltrack is a great roadtrip companion. An attractive small wagon, the 2017 Golf Alltrack
is offered in 3 trims with a starting MSRP of $27,770 while this fully equipped SEL is
priced at $35,804. VW’s best models are all derived from the
Golf and the Alltrack is yet another winner.


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