Volkswagen Golf Alltrack runs on roads and off-road trails

2017, Volkswagen, Alltrack

Volkswagen's 2017 Golf Alltrack, a high-hiked 5-door and 5-passenger wagon sized for the compact class, totes a turbo-boosted powertrain plus all-wheel-drive traction.

It has the rigid unibody structure of a car, but a suspension with the ride height jacked up by half of an inch to forge a ground clearance of 6.9 inches, which compares to a sports utility vehicle. And it carries VW's 4Motion all-wheel-drive traction system with added Off-Road Mode. With all tires clawing for grip and the chassis elevated, an Alltrack can bump across a rocky field, scamper through a creek bed or scoot through snow like a snowmobile.

But Alltrack also delivers the poise and easy-to-drive traits of a beautiful sedan -- it owns a curvy mountain road and mainlines on a freeway with a cushy ride quality, then provides a spacious passenger compartment stocked with comfy seats and cabin perks comparable to a luxury car.

The front-wheel-drive MQB (meaning "Modularer Querbaukasten" in German or "Modular Transverse Matrix" in English) uniform platform of Volkswagen's seventh-generation Golf hatchback serves as the foundation for the Golf Alltrack. This platform supports the slick aerodynamic structure of the shapely Alltrack wagon which has four flank doors like a sedan and a flexible seat plan in the cabin plus the aft cargo bay with access through a tail-side liftgate.

Alltrack's robust unibody framework is impressively stiff to resist torsional twisting and forms a bedrock foundation to carry suspension and powertrain components.

Alltrack's body measures 180.2 inches long, and 70.8 inches wide with a wheelbase length of 103.5 inches and the wheel track width of 60.9 inches front and 59.7 inches rear.

The passenger compartment comprises 94.3 cubic feet in a layout with two front bucket seats and a 3-place rear bench followed by the cargo bay with 30.4 cubic feet of flat-floored stow space with rear seatbacks raised or 66.5 cubic feet of room with the rear seatbacks folded down.

Alltrack has unique suspension tuning. In front there's a strut-type layout with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, and 22-mm anti-roll bar. In back, Alltrack has a multilink arrangement with coil springs, telescopic dampers, and 19-mm anti-roll bar.

Brakes on the 2017 Golf Alltrack consist of large discs tied to intelligent electronic controls. The equipment includes ABS (anti-lock brake system) with EBD (electronic brake pressure distribution) and VW's ESC (electronic stability control) device.

Optional driver assistance equipment includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, front and rear Park Distance Control (ParkPilot), and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist).

Volkswagen outfits the Alltrack in three trim tiers: Entry-issue S, well-equipped SE, and top-drawer SEL.

All trim issues stock the same engine, a goosy 4-in-line TSI (turbocharged and inter-cooled) plant which displaces 1.8 liters with dual overhead cams and direct-injection. Power numbers tally to 170 hp at 4500 rpm with torque rising to 199 lb-ft at only 1600 rpm.

A 6-speed manual transmission or electronically controlled 6-speed DSG (direct shift gearbox) automated manual with paddle shifters link to the TSI plant and EPA-estimated fuel economy figures climb to 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway using the DSG automatic.

Alltrack base S models provide 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 205/55R17 all-season tires, front fog lamps and daytime running lights, power controlled and heated exterior mirrors. Leatherette upholstery is covering cabin seats with driver's seat manual controls and heated front seats, power controls for windows and door locks, air conditioning, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity and a 6-speaker audio kit with AM/FM/HD/USB.

Alltrack SE adds a panoramic sunroof, keyless access with push-button start, automatic windshield wipers and Fender premium audio system.

Alltrack SEL rolls on 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels capped by 225/45R18 all-season tires and stocks the 6-speed DSG automatic transmission, Climatronic dual-zone auto-sensing temperature climate controls and the Discover Media 6.5-inch Touchscreen Navigation equipment.

Volkswagen's MSRP figures for the 2017 Golf Alltrack wagon begin at $25,850 for the Alltrack S/6MT and stretch to $32,890 for Alltrack SEL/6AT-DSG.

By Bob Plunkett

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Images of the 2017, Volkswagen Alltrack

2017 Volkswagen Alltrack
2017 Volkswagen Alltrack
2017 Volkswagen Alltrack cockpit
2017 Volkswagen Alltrack cockpit
2017 Volkswagen Alltrack center stack
2017 Volkswagen Alltrack center stack
2017 Volkswagen Alltrack rear 3/4 view
2017 Volkswagen Alltrack rear 3/4 view