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Quick Take: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

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author photo by Will Kinton November 2016

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is a raised-up, all-wheel-drive version of the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen -- a vehicle that Volkswagen has created to beat the Subaru Outback at its own game. And after spending a little time behind the wheel, I can safely say they've made an impressive attempt -- as the Golf Alltrack is spacious, comfortable, well equipped and, best of all, actually fun to drive.

To start, the basics: The Golf Alltrack comes with VW's 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which provides 170 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. Yes, it would be awesome if you could get an Alltrack with the GTI's 2.0-liter turbo engine -- but the 1.8T provides enough muscle, especially at low engine speeds. The engine is attached to VW's famously good DSG dual-clutch gearbox -- a manual will be available next year -- and a standard all-wheel-drive system, which is capable of sending up to 50 percent of the engine's power to the rear wheels. The Alltrack also rides on Volkswagen's rigid MQB chassis, which makes it good for cornering -- and when you put the (standard) adjustable suspension into "dynamic" mode, the tall Golf corners very flatly, with surprisingly very little body roll.

Speaking of the adjustable suspension: The Golf Alltrack also features an off-road setting. While I didn't really have a chance to test it out, the system should be more than enough for somewhat poorly maintained dirt roads and unplowed snowy streets with less than six inches of accumulation.

Inside the Alltrack, there's a spacious cargo area, roomy rear seats and comfortable front seats. The Alltrack is also very well equipped -- even the base-level S model includes Volkswagen's V-tex heated leatherette seats, the brand's Car-Net infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the aforementioned adjustable drive modes -- all for $27,700. The midrange SE trim level adds a panoramic sunroof, keyless start and entry, and premium audio for $30,530, and the top-of-the-line SEL gives you dual-zone climate control and power seats for $32,890. The only option for all three trim levels is a driver assistance package, which includes automatic cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and parking assistance features for S and SE trims -- plus adaptive headlights, automatic high beams and lane-departure warning for the SEL. All in all, you can make your Golf Alltrack cost $35,705, which may sound like a lot -- but then again, the top-end Subaru Outback is $39,070.

Basically, the Golf Alltrack is a competent, capable vehicle -- and it's quite easily the most interesting model in the VW lineup. It's also a great alternative to a small crossover. If you want room for people and things, an enjoyable driving experience and the peace of mind of knowing that you could handle adverse terrain, the Alltrack should be on your shopping list.

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Quick Take: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack - Autotrader