The 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is an unusual vehicle, blurring the distinctions between body styles. But that’s one of its strengths. It has the space of a compact crossover along with standard all-wheel drive and a fairly useful ground clearance of 6.9 inches. It even has SUV like body cladding, and its hill descent control can help the driver negotiate tricky slopes, paved or unpaved.
Yet the VW Golf Alltrack also has many of the attributes that make the regular Golf so good, such as sophisticated and understated designs both inside and out, excellent cabin materials for the class, sensible ergonomics and a comfortable ride quality balanced with fine control — thanks in part to a center of gravity that’s lower than a typical compact crossover.
The Alltrack is based on the Golf SportWagen with a slightly raised ride height (0.6 of an inch), while its fuel tank is also larger than the SportWagen’s: 14.5 gallons as opposed to 13.2. For someone who doesn’t necessarily want to follow in the tire tracks of the crossover/SUV herd and prefers a little more finesse to their driving experience, here’s an intriguing choice.
What’s New for 2019?
The midlevel SE becomes eligible for a Driver Assistance and Appearance package, which includes lane-keeping assistance, parking sensors front and rear, parking steering assistance, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, a self-dimming rearview mirror and 18-in alloy wheels.
The top SEL trim level now comes with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard. See the 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack models for sale near you
What We Like
Golf like driving manners; AWD; cargo space
What We Don’t
Gets a bit pricey; fuel consumption could be better
Propulsion comes from a turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine making a reasonable 168 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is the default setup, with a 6-speed automatic (VW’s DSG dual-clutch transmission) available as an option.
AWD (referred to by Volkswagen as 4Motion) is standard.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption with the manual transmission at 21 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving. With the automatic, those figures change to 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.
Standard Features and Options
The 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack compact wagon comes in S, SE and SEL trim levels. The automatic transmission is an extra $1,100 for each model.
S ($27,790) has 17-in alloy wheels, roof rails, LED daytime running lights/taillights, heated side mirrors, heated windshield washer nozzles, heated/6-way partially power-adjustable front seats, leatherette seating surfaces, single-zone climate control, selectable driving modes (including an off-road mode), LED ambient cabin lighting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob/brake lever, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera, a 6.5-in infotainment touchscreen, an 8-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, smartphone integration for Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Mirror Link devices, HD radio and a USB port.
SE ($31,390) adds a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry/ignition, a 115-volt outlet, rain-sensing wipers, an 8-in touchscreen, stolen vehicle location, boundary alerts, CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio input. This trim may be specified with the Driver Assistance and Appearance package (contents listed above) costing $2,395.
SEL ($35,890) includes 18-in alloy wheels, LED headlights, automatic high beams, adaptive front lighting (that moves with the steering), a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a self-dimming rearview mirror, a Fender-branded audio system upgrade, navigation, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, parking sensors front and rear and a semi-automated parking feature for parallel spaces.
With the rear seats in place, cargo space is a massive 30.4 cu ft., expanding to 66.5 cu ft. when they’re folded flat. Conveniently, there are seat release levers in the cargo area.
As well as all the mandatory safety equipment, the Alltrack (along with every other VW) has something called an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. After an accident, the car will apply the brakes to stop a second accident from happening, or at least prevent it from being worse.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the Alltrack its top 5-star overall safety rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it top marks (Good) in most major categories of its crash test program, except the passenger-side small front overlap test, where it was awarded the second-highest score of Acceptable.
Behind the Wheel
Volkswagen’s XDS Cross Differential System was originally developed for the excellent enthusiast-focused Golf GTI and comes as standard here. It’s really a computer-controlled way of subtly braking one front wheel at a time to tighten the cornering line in an attempt to mimic a mechanical limited-slip differential. It actually works well, giving the Alltrack a sportier attitude than is usually found in run-of-the-mill compact crossovers.
Under normal circumstances, the AWD system favors just the front wheels, optimizing fuel consumption. When conditions dictate, however, 50 percent of the engine’s torque can be directed to the rear wheels within milliseconds. Select off-road mode and a display gives altitude, steering wheel angle and compass direction readouts.
Engine output of 168 hp in a car of this size and weight is far from breathtaking, but progress is quick enough for most tastes.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Subaru Outback — The closest AWD wagon/crossover rival to the Alltrack. Well equipped, while offering more engine choices and greater ground clearance, but comes with an unpleasant continuously variable transmission (CVT).
2019 Mazda CX-5 — A straightforward compact crossover, but with sporty driving abilities and the option of AWD.
Used BMW X3 — Great engines, excellent chassis, luxury cachet. Also quite generously proportioned in the luggage area.
Our starting point would be the SE, which is still less expensive than the SEL even with the driver assist/appearance package added. Buyers will no doubt order the automatic transmission, as well. It will certainly be an asset when resale time comes along. Find a Volkswagen Golf Alltrack for sale