What Is It?
First it was the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, then the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen. Now the latest version is the Golf SportWagen Alltrack, an all-wheel-drive version of the Golf SportWagen with increased ride height that appears to be aimed directly at the popular Subaru XV Crosstrek.
On the outside, changes compared to the standard Golf SportWagen are obvious: There’s new plastic body cladding along the sides and the wheel arches, and there’s a skid plate (or perhaps a faux skid plate, since we don’t expect these will go too deep off the pavement) in back. There’s also a 0.8-inch lift compared to the standard Golf SportWagen to reinforce the SUV-like character.
Under the skin, changes go a little deeper thanks to a newly standard all-wheel-drive system that operates normally in front-wheel drive until it detects wheel slippage. When that happens, up to 50 percent of the Golf SportWagen Alltrack’s power can be diverted to the rear wheels for extra traction.
Although Volkswagen has not yet confirmed what engines will be available in the Alltrack, our money is on at least VW’s 170-horsepower 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which is standard fare in the Golf SportWagen. Given the popularity of diesel-powered Golf SportWagen models, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a turbodiesel also make its way into the Alltrack, but Volkswagen isn’t confirming it for now.
Volkswagen hasn’t announced pricing, but all-wheel drive doesn’t come cheap. We’d expect a fairly hefty bump over the standard Golf SportWagen’s base price of around $22,500 with shipping.
When Can You Get It?
Sometime in 2016 (as a 2017 model).
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The all-wheel-drive-wagon segment has been hot for several years now, with Volvo, Audi and Subaru reaping almost all of the rewards. The 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Alltrack proves that Volkswagen has taken notice — and its debut means shoppers will get to choose from one more go-anywhere station wagon, with wagon-like cargo capacity and SUV-like capabilities. Although we’re not sure if it’ll be better than rivals such as the Subaru XV Crosstrek, we’re excited to test it out for ourselves.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Subaru Outback — Although the Outback is larger than the Golf Alltrack, its prices aren’t much higher. Like the Alltrack, the Outback features standard all-wheel drive, a 4-cylinder engine and a car-like driving experience.
2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek — Undoubtedly, the Golf SportWagen Alltrack’s closest competitor is the Subaru XV Crosstrek, which offers much of the same: all-wheel drive, increased ride height and good fuel economy on a compact-car chassis. We’re eager to put the two head-to-head.
Used Audi allroad — The SUV-like allroad combines the styling and functionality of an Audi A4 Avant with standard all-wheel drive and an SUV look. Steep prices start around $43,000, though, so you may want to consider a used model.
Used Volvo XC70 — The Volvo XC70 is part wagon, part crossover — just like the Alltrack. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a car-like ride and a luxurious driving experience. But as you might imagine, prices are higher: The XC70 starts around $37,000 with shipping, meaning you may want to check out a used or certified pre-owned model instead of a new one.