2017 VW Golf Alltrack 4Motion: Hitting the off-road in style

11 Feb 2017 | 1,531 views | No Comment
  By Don Hammonds When it comes to compact SUVs, the word for today is "rugged." Thanks to the influence of Subaru's hotter than hot Crosstrek, every car company seems to be adding some body cladding, raising ground clearance and installing new macho-looking interiors into one or models in their lineup. Volkswagen is now getting into the act with its cool, sleek new Golf Alltrack,  which is based on the company's Golf Sportwagen. It shares some of the advantages of the Sportwagen--simple, intuitive controls, really terrific visibility, fun to drive, and that indefinable cachet that goes along with driving a VW wagon, which has been a strong seller for the brand for years.   Ours was a red hue with a very classy looking interior that looked as though it could have come from the upscale Audi brand. The base price  was $30,530,  and with options, $31,350. It has  a 1.8 liter, 170 horsepower TSI turbocharged four cylinder engine, backed by the well-known 4Motion All Wheel Drive System. This car has a driving mode selection control that includes an off-road mode.  Handling is sporty and fun around town, and it moves with typical Volkswagen verve and flair. It's simply a joy to drive around town. I would say though that acceleration was somewhat slower than what you may expect; it's roughly 300 pounds heavier than the Golf Sportwagen, and with the higher ground clearance, the handling may not be quite what you are used to getting with a VW. But the handling is still quite crisp compared to its competitors and to other compact crossovers. Fuel economy rating was 25 miles per gallon overall, 22 city and 30 highway.  You will spend about $250 more on gasoline iin fuel costs over five years compared to the average new vehicle. It requires four gallons of gasoline to go 100 miles, and the annual fuel cost is $1,450, based on 15,000 miles of driving annually with gasoline that costs $2.45 a gallon. As I mentioned earlier, Volkswagen's motive in designing the Alltrack is quite clear, to give the Subaru Outback a run for its money. And given the sleeker, contemporary styling and the fact that the Alltrack is about 200 pounds lighter than the Outback, VW may find a sizeable audience for the Alltrack. TheAlltrack has a raised suspension for additional ground clearance for off-road performance compared to the normal Golf Sportwagen.  But the Sportwagen has its virtues too--it is a blast to drive around town, it's  a tad more economical  and its a lot cheaper than the Alltrack. How do you decide which one to buy? If you are mainly planning to stick to on road driving and you really love a zippy, roomy urban traveler, and your budget is tight, check out the  Sportwagen. But if off roading is your thing, and some off road charisma and elan is right up your alley, go with the Alltrack. Standard features on the Alltrack include alloy wheels, fog lights, heated foldable power adjustable mirrors, rain sensing windshield washers, power tilt and sliding sunroof, multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles; rearview camera, keyless access; fender premium sound system; multifunction display with trip computer,  footwell lights and adjustable ambient interior lighting. Safety features include the usual airbags and side airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, side curtain protection head impact airbags, anti-lock brakes, etc. The Alltrack looks pretty snappy, with aerodynamic profile, and overall looks that remind me quite a bit of Audi station wagons. The wheel designs are especially cool looking, and along with the side cladding, the Alltrack makes the SportWagen look positively undressed.  Inside, a lot of energy was clearly spent giving the Alltrack an expensive, clearly European look. It looks especially nifty in the optional Marrakesh Brown interior color. With the Alltrack you get a three year/36,000 mile basic overall warranty; four year/60,000 mile limited powertrain warranty. Considering all the Alltrack has to offer, I think VW has a hit on its hands.  

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