WASHINGTON — Last week we looked at the Golf SportWagen with AWD.
While it’s a neat ride let’s face, it, there is a large group of people who just won’t consider driving a station wagon even though it might have more space than some crossovers, is more economical on gas and can be bought for a price less than many crossovers.
Still, it seems Volkswagen has a solution for those who don’t care for the usual wagon look.
The Golf Alltrack differs from normal wagons by added height with a raised suspension, and it looks like a more serious off-road machine. And so, it loses some of that staid station wagon styling with that taller stance. Think more along the lines of the Subaru Outback, basically a tall station wagon that has done well in the market.
The Alltrack is still a compact wagon but it looks bigger than the regular SportWagen even though it isn’t. The body appears tougher with lower body moldings in a different color, lending itself to a more crossover off-road look. Larger 17-inch beefy looking wheels also lean toward the crossover styling. Special Alltrack bumpers, front grill and exterior trim pieces give a more macho look than the wagon sibling.
Toss in the Tornado Red paint, and it’s certainly a stand out.
The Alltrack drives differently than the SportWagen. With a higher center of gravity, there is a bit more body roll. The roll is nothing like a crossover but just enough to know when you push it in faster, tight turns.
The same turbo engine lives in the Alltrack that was in last week’s car, so it’s pretty peppy most of the time, only showing it could use a bit more power when the seats and back are stuffed. There is also a driving mode selector with off-road mode. I didn’t get to test it, but it looks like some light off-roading should be doable.
For rough surfaces and bad roads, I prefer the ride over the SportWagen as it seems to really have good suspension. The fuel economy was also a bit better than sticker, as I averaged 26.4 mpg for my week of mixed driving.
I drove the midlevel SE trim level of the Alltrack. For around $31,000, you get more equipment for a higher price. That includes a power sunroof and leatherette seating surfaces that appear and feel like leather. With the SE trim level, there is an upgraded Fender audio system that is coupled with 6.6 inch touch screen that works well. I wish the screen was larger, but the graphics are improved from before, and phone integration is easy. Again, space is a big plus with the Golf Alltrack. It seems large for the compact class, and those in the back have nice space and good vision with all the glass.
The VW Golf Alltrack takes the station wagon and makes it cool by changing the way you see it. By adding some ground clearance and AWD this is no longer just a normal family hauler. No, this is an adventure machine that also doubles as a good weekday driver that’s ready to go on roads less traveled by a mere station wagon.
Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by STI, FMI or Event Solutions for the purpose of this review.