Review of the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Do you think about an 80s-era Griswold mobile whenever someone utters the words, “station wagon?” You’re not alone. But all that is about to change.

Volkswagen’s Golf Alltrack has changed the rules, making station wagons cool again. And we all thought it was impossible.

The Golf Alltrack is Volkswagen’s answer to the Subaru Outback. It’s not a new category by any stretch, but it has all the makings of a great quasi-SUV. With raised ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive and an off-roading appearance, the Alltrack may just have everything you need for your most epic adventures. And it’s not too shabby on those family vacations either.

If you are cringing at the idea of a station wagon, you might be surprised to see what this zippy car can deliver. While most other automakers have shunned this body style, VW has endured with station wagons in their lineup for the past 50 years.

So what’s changed? Well, we could say they’ve taken a cue from the Subaru Outback and gave the old-fashioned station wagon an upgrade with more functional all-weather off-roading capabilities.

In a nutshell, the Alltrack is the VW Golf served up as a station wagon.

Alltrack Available Options

Standard features on the VW Alltrack include 4Motion all-wheel drive and a turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four making 170 horsepower.

The Alltrack S features a 6.5″ touchscreen sound system while upgraded models include an 8″ display.

With the SE model, drivers also get a panoramic sunroof, forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, proximity-key entry, and an 8-inch touchscreen console.

The SEL model features everything in the SE model plus dual-zone climate control and adaptive cruise control.

The MSRP for the 2018 VW Alltrack SE is $25,955.

Alltrack driving experience

Like the Golf, the Volkswagen Alltrack comes in stick-shift and automatic. Many drivers might be surprised to find that there’s a discernable difference between the two. The stick-shift seems exceptionally zippy compared to the automatic version.

According to Car and Driver’s tests, you might get from zero to 60 in 6.7 seconds with a manual Alltrack, but it would take 7.5 seconds in the 2017 Alltrack SEL automatic. All this is despite 15 lb-ft of additional torque in the automatic models.

Motortrend found similar results when they tested the Alltrack automatic, needing 7.1 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph.

New for 2019

The Alltrack was just introduced as a new model in 2017, so it’s not surprising that we don’t see any major changes in the 2019 model year.

Still, like every vehicle, the Alltrack must press forward to stay in line with the times. In 2019 VW introduces a new suite of driver-assistance features that will come standard. This includes automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warnings.

If you upgrade to the 2019 mid-range SE model, you’ll also get the Driver Assistance and Appearance package. This includes lane-keeping assist, a self-parking feature, parking sensors, and automatic high-beam headlamps.

And as a first for this model year, you’ll be able to offer the SEL with a six-speed manual transmission.

Final thoughts

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack sits at the top of the curve of sporty station wagons, and although this is currently a small market, it’s not alone. Other station wagons like the Subaru Outback have been in this space longer and even beat the Alltrack out on speed. But if you’re looking for a sporty wagon with a manual transmission, Alltrack is where it’s at. You’ll only find the Outback with automatic transmission.

The VW Alltrack is billed as an outdoorsy vehicle, and it does have features that make it appropriate for off-road driving, but like the Golf, this wagon is more at home on the road.

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