It is arduous to argue towards a automobile as well-rounded and helpful as Volkswagen’s Golf Alltrack. It won’t take a conventional SUV form, but it surely’ll do every thing your crossover will do — and in some circumstances, it’s going to do it higher.
The Alltrack joined Volkswagen’s Golf vary in late 2016 as a 2017 mannequin, so it troopers on into 2018 with no main mechanical enhancements. As an alternative, improved onboard tech and higher gear packaging throughout its numerous trim ranges end in a Golf Alltrack that is someway much more interesting than earlier than.
Butch fashion, helpful form
You’ll spot a 2018 Alltrack because of its redesigned lighting components. All fashions get LED taillights, and the top-level SEL will get LED working and headlights. In any other case, the Alltrack’s design is similar because it ever was. No complaints right here.
The Alltrack brings a type of faux-SUV look to the Golf Sportwagen, with grey cladding, stylized facet sills and polished roof rails. You additionally get 6.9 inches of floor clearance right here, an inch and a half greater than an ordinary Golf Sportwagen. That is useful do you have to truly end up in rutted trails out within the woods, or if that you must drive over packed snow on winter days. It makes the Alltrack that a lot simpler to get out and in of, too.
Raise the hatch and you will find 30.four cubic toes of house, or 66.5 do you have to fold the rear seats flat. That is only some cubic toes lower than what’s provided in compact crossovers just like the Ford Escape or Volkswagen’s personal Tiguan; except you are filling your automotive to the brim each time, you seemingly will not discover the marginally smaller dimensions. As an alternative, you will recognize the Alltrack’s low load-in top and huge hatch aperture. What you will not discover, nevertheless, is an influence liftgate.
Turbo punch with two methods to shift
Each Alltrack makes use of the identical 1.Eight-liter turbocharged I4 engine as different Golf fashions, with 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. That is true for both transmission, too — lesser, front-wheel-drive Golf fashions solely make 184 pound-feet when paired with a five-speed handbook transmission, however the all-wheel-drive Alltrack provides a sixth gear to the row-your-own social gathering, permitting for the elevated torque score. You may get the stick on S and SE fashions, whereas the SEL is completely obtainable with the six-speed dual-clutch automated, a $1,100 possibility elsewhere.
Both transmission pairs properly with the 1.8T. Fast, clean shifts accompany DSG fashions, whereas the handbook transmission, even with its lengthy shift throws, is satisfying to make use of. The engine produces sufficient energy to supply ample acceleration round city and for merging onto freeways, however load the Alltrack up with 4 adults and a few baggage and it will require a deeper dig into the throttle to get it on top of things. No shock, an engine that feels completely advantageous in a 2,945-pound base Golf displays indicators of anemia in its three,395-pound, all-wheel-drive Alltrack software.
Nonetheless, the Alltrack is pleasing to drive, with a balanced, properly managed experience. It is comfy always, and regardless of its raised experience top, physique roll is basically stored in test for largely flat cornering. The default steering tune is mild but correct; Sport mode provides some welcome weight to the wheel’s motion, nevertheless small it could be.
The highest-level Alltrack SEL pictured right here rolls on fashionable 18-inch wheels, although I do not suppose the downsized 17s of the S and SE fashions look too small by comparability. What you lose in alloy diameter you acquire in tire sidewall — 205/55R17 in contrast with 225/45R18 — and the result’s improved experience consolation with none noticeable loss in dynamic capability.
Gas financial system is on par with equally sized compact crossovers. Handbook Alltracks are EPA-rated at 21 mpg metropolis, 30 mpg freeway and 25 mpg mixed; automated fashions do 1 mpg higher in each the town and mixed cycles. After a protracted weekend of driving within the mountains exterior of Denver, I am seeing nearer to 23 mpg mixed, however I’ve frolicked with Alltracks in flatter locales and have had no bother hitting EPA-spec numbers.
Similar inside, higher tech
Volkswagen opted to depart a lot of the Alltrack’s inside alone — advantageous, since there wasn’t actually something unsuitable with it within the first place. Positive, I can nitpick issues just like the annoyingly half-powered driver’s seat on S and SE fashions (you possibly can electronically alter fore/aft and top place, however transferring the seat again requires handbook adjustment) or the awkward placement of the primary USB port deep inside the middle console cubby, however on the entire, the Alltrack’s cabin is good-looking, comfy and really properly appointed.
As an alternative, a giant improve comes within the type of improved infotainment tech. The bottom Alltrack S makes use of the identical 6.5-inch touchscreen as earlier than, with normal Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however SE and SEL fashions get a bigger Eight-inch touchscreen with flush-mounted arduous buttons on both facet. The show is fast to reply to inputs and makes use of a proximity perform to cover most of the controls till it detects a hand approaching. In all, Volkswagen’s infotainment system stays considered one of our favorites in the marketplace in the present day. Too dangerous you possibly can’t match a Golf Alltrack with VW’s nifty Digital Cockpit.
Should you’re in search of a full suite of security tech, be ready to spend. The bottom Alltrack solely comes with a rearview digicam and post-collision braking. Transferring as much as the SE will get you ahead collision warning, automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, however if you need issues like adaptive cruise management, park distance management, lane-keeping help and lane departure warning, you are locked into the top-level Alltrack SEL just like the one you see within the images accompanying this evaluate, which begins at $36,760, together with $850 for vacation spot.
How I would spec it
Exactly like this. Critically, my Alltrack SE check automotive is just about good, with its Nice Falls Inexperienced exterior, Marrakesh Brown leatherette inside and six-speed handbook transmission. I do not want quite a lot of lively driving tech, and the midrange SE comes properly geared up with issues like a panoramic moonroof, pushbutton begin and the aforementioned Eight-inch infotainment display, all for an easy-on-your-wallet $30,865, together with vacation spot.
After all, you possibly can go even cheaper and go for the Alltrack S, beginning at $26,805. It nonetheless comes with numerous nice options, together with the identical 17-inch wheels because the SE, heated seats, automated headlights and foglights. Even in base spec, the Alltrack doesn’t really feel like a “base” mannequin.
Who wants a crossover?
I definitely perceive the attraction of compact crossovers: nice utility for carrying folks and issues, all for a worth that will not break your checking account. However tall, all-wheel-drive wagons just like the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack — and Buick Regal TourX, Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, and so forth. — supply almost the identical utility. You get bonus cool factors for holding the wagon section alive, too.
Within the case of the Alltrack, it is full of the identical core DNA that is made Volkswagen’s Golf such a profitable small automotive. Enjoyable to drive, lots economical and tremendous useful, it is an awesome various to a barely larger, to not point out myriad different small CUVs that now flood American roadways. It is a completely different strategy to a well-recognized method, and a extra compelling one at that.