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2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SE Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Test Drives, Volkswagen

Volkswagen has been on a quest to dominate in the vast landscape of juggernaut automakers. Right off of the cusp of reaching the top spot, Volkswagen keeps pace to offer something within most available automotive segments, including the niche of off-roading wagons with the new Golf Alltrack.

>> Get the best price on the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack from a network of local dealers now. <<

The new Golf Alltrack welcomes a hodgepodge of traditionalist components from the parts bin of VW. With that, the Golf Alltrack brings the style of a wagon with the versatility of the Golf and a dash of off-roading prowess that is a rarity among the hot-selling crossover utility vehicles of today.

Wrapped up in a simplistic package, the new Golf Alltrack gets most of what is adorned in the normal Golf hatchback with decent interior space both up front and out back. Advancing the theme of the Golf SportWagen, the Alltrack picks up the pieces of the SportWagen adding additional components for light off-roading duties. Part of the package that completes the Golf Alltrack is a raised suspension setup, utilitarian bodywork, 4Motion all-wheel-drive, and a smooth turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 199 ft-lbs of torque that can be mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission in lower trims or a 6-speed automatic.

The availability to get the new Golf Alltrack in three different trim levels, S, SE, SEL, attempts to win over those who want the basics in practicality and those who want a taste of the upper echelon of what you can get in a new Golf hatchback. Capturing the essence of a wagon, the Alltrack literally builds upon a well-thought foundation to add off-roading capabilities to offer what consumers look for in vehicles like the Subaru Impreza Sport or even the Subaru Outback.

The driving experience of the new Golf Alltrack mostly exudes somewhat of a compromise that was made to combine both the ability to be compliant on the road and have the capability to conquer light duty terrain. The suspension of the Alltrack is exceptionally soft and at times the body dives and lifts more than I would like when tackling the street. Going off-road, the Alltrack feels surprisingly at home with nicely dampened shocks that eat up loose rocks and sand mounds. The only pitfall for the off-roading adventures lies within the tire’s capabilities losing grip just enough to limit your endeavors into anything serious or reserved for hardcore SUVs, trucks, and Jeep-like vehicles.

The softness of the Alltrack is somewhat exacerbated by my test vehicle’s 6-speed manual transmission, which is a surprising offering for the S, and SE trim levels as a homage to manual loyalists. The Alltrack may be better suited with its 6-speed automatic transmission, which is something I’m surprised to say considering my adoration for manual transmissions in general. However, in the case of the VW Golf Alltrack, a manual transmission doesn’t appear to be suited for today’s new generation but more aimed at baby boomers who want to reminisce of a simple and proven formula in a wagon. The 1.8-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine is a proven gem that attempts to do its best to muster out its 170 horsepower and 199 ft-lbs of torque. Unfortunately, the 3,422 pounds worth of Alltrack that it has to tote around makes things somewhat lackluster in the performance department combined with an ultra-soft suspension that isn’t conducive of purists who yearn for a manual transmission.

For a wagon, a rarity in its true technical form, the VW Golf Alltrack is a unique package with versatility that rivals many crossover vehicles. The cabin also brings the welcomed traits of its Golf hatchback sibling with a soft-touch dashboard and decent fit and finish throughout even if the tone of the black plastics initially appears to be dull. The seating surfaces are decent but somewhat stiff with the optional leatherette interior. There is also an adaptive cruise control system with forward collision warning that is rather counterintuitive due to the manual transmission on my test vehicle. The vastness of cargo space and decent seating areas both up front and out back are also a welcomed trait of the Golf Alltrack just like its not-so-distant Golf SportWagen sibling.

In an automotive market flooded with SUVs and crossovers that demand a premium, the Golf Alltrack is a refresher that captivates those who want to go back to the basics. Offing such a vehicle may not attract a large audience, but it is appealing to the frugal minded who want something the serves multiple purposes over a costly SUV or crossover. Moreover, at a price starting at just $25,850 for the base Golf Alltrack S and a price of $30,250 for my nicely-equipped test vehicle, the new VW Golf Alltrack comes into clear focus as a respectable alternative in a compartmentalized segment.

>> Get the best price on the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack from a network of local dealers now. <<


  • Price: Base Golf Alltrack S $25,850 / As-Tested Golf Alltrack SE 4Motion $30,250
  • >> Get the best price on the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack from a network of local dealers now. <<
  • Vehicle layout: Front-engine, AWD, 5-passenger, Wagon
  • Engine: 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4-cylinder 170 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm / 199-lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed Manual
  • Curb weight: 3,422 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 103.5 in
  • Length x width x height: 179.6 x 70.8 x 59.7 in
  • Headroom: f/r-38.6 in./38.6 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.2 in./35.6 in.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.6 sec
  • EPA fuel economy: 22 mpg city / 32 mpg highway / 26 mpg combined
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gallons

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