Volkswagen Golf Alltrack — Off-road capable

By David Finkelstein

Competing with the likes of the Subaru Outback, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack for 2017 is a close derivative of the Golf SportWagen. Alltrack solidifies the vehicle’s overall practicality and fun-to-drive nature with the capabilities offered with their standard 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

The '17 Golf Alltrack is an upscale alternative to existing all-wheel-drive wagons and small crossovers currently on the market. Being a direct descendent of the Golf SportWagen body design, Alltrack's differences are immediately evident however — there is absolutely no mistaking the two!

Despite the overall length and width remaining roughly the same, the car's all embracing height has been increased. This proportional change helps to make for a bolder, more capable appearance without compromising the rock solid foundation of Volkswagen's design DNA.

Starting with Alltrack’s front design, it telegraphs a robust character with a redesigned bumper and is further showcased with a lower silver crossbar that incorporates standard foglights and LED daytime running lights on all trim levels. A unique black honeycomb front grille assembly further helps to differentiation this model from the SportWagen. The car's body cladding on the side sills and around the wheel arches carries over to the lower areas of the redesigned bumpers.

Furthermore, exclusive accenting silver roof rails plus silver side mirrors and lower window chrome molding are only offered on the Alltrack. A panoramic sunroof is standard equipment on the SE and SEL grades. Quite obvious from a side view are the standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels while 18-inch tires and wheels are included with their SEL trim package. If we transition towards the sports wagon's rear, the vehicle has dark-red taillights, a new bumper as well as chrome exhaust tailpipe outlets on both sides plus special and distinctive body badging.

Alltrack's spacious interior offers up just under 95 cubic feet of passenger volume as well as 30.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats. With the rear (second row) seats folded forward, cargo volume increases to 66.5 cubic feet.

V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces are standard equipment across the product mix. A 12-way power driver's seat is standard on the SEL trim. The unique interior equipment of the Alltrack adds a black headliner, a 4Motion-branded chrome strip on the center console, stainless-steel door kickplates and custom aluminum designed performance foot pedals.

Driver controls are positioned to help optimize ergonomics and usability. The seat position, height of the shifter and the spacing between the pedals are fine-tuned for increased driver comfort. This driver-centric design focus is evident from the center stack, which is angled towards the driver, a feature is frequently seen with premium luxury or performance vehicles.

Ambient lighting further highlights this vehicles upscale character as well as the use of premium materials throughout. The short list includes: soft-touch interior surfaces and a leather-wrapped hand brake and shifter knob plus a multi-function steering wheel.

The car comes equipped with a long list of modern comfort, convenience and entertainment features including: power windows, locks and mirrors, rearview camera, Bluetooth technology and Volkswagen Car-Net Security Service's that come with a lengthy list of driver enhancements. Keyless access with push-button start is standard equipment on SE and SEL trim levels, as is the Fender Premium Audio System. Automatic dual-zone climate control is also standard on SEL models.

The Alltrack S entry model is equipped with an eight-speaker audio system. Available security related features offered include Automatic Crash Notification, which can seamlessly notify an operator who can contact first responders in the event of a collision.

The new Alltrack shares its proven 1.8-liter TSI Turbo gasoline direct injected engine with other members of the Golf lineup. Output is rated at 170 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 199 pound-feet of torque. This turbo tends to function just fine on regular grade fuel.

Currently, all trims come with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission will be available early in 2017 on the S and SE trim lines. Regardless of the transmission, power is routed to all four wheels effortlessly via the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is 30 mpg highway and 22 mpg city.

Thanks to the extensive use of modern construction techniques,there is both "high" and "ultra-high" strength steels used throughout. Alltrack’s chassis manages to remain lightweight, despite its upscale features and enhanced crash structure. The design provides an intelligent combination of both passive and active safety systems. Alltrack achieves a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

It will be available in three trim levels: S, SE and SEL and comes with Volkswagen’s standard five-year/60,000-mile (whichever occurs first) powertrain limited warranty and three-year/36,000-mile (whichever occurs first) new vehicle limited warranty. The base pricing starts out at $26,950.