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Urban Explorer: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack TSI® SEL 4Motion®


In life, there are too many unanswered questions, too many ponders, too many things we just won’t understand. We’ll never really know how many licks it takes to get to the center of that lollipop. Why there is brail on a drive-thru ATM. Or why Volkswagen decided to give their Golf SportWagen All-Wheel Drive, a 1.5-inch lift and call it a crossover. The world is mysterious – but we don’t ask… we just go with it.

The way we look at it, the Alltrack is the urban crossover for the urban adventurer of today. It’s the latest addition in the Golf family that has a more rugged appeal to those thrill seekers. Ready to explorer roads a normal Golf wouldn’t dare let its tires see. Volkswagen wanted the Alltrack to look more aggressive and athletic – it has fatter tires, 18-inch wheels, black lower cladding and enough badges on the back to let the world know you’re an urban hipster with class and style.

The biggest competitor for the Alltrack is Subaru and their hard to part with Outback. Volkswagen’s goal here is to attract Subi consumers who may want a simple tote around in the snow or back woods drive while being a fun to drive car the rest of the year. Good news, it is. Volkswagen kept the main ingredients that made the Golf ever so good. It carries over its smooth sailing 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Even though its gained 200lbs over the SportWagen, it’s still as spry as it once was. With 170-horsepower, it takes an average of 7 and half seconds to sixty miles per hour and because the Alltrack is fitted standard with Volkswagen’s dual-clutch DSG automatic, it’s pretty quick to respond. DSG is nothing new to Volkswagen and nor is it no longer the most advance transmission; however, using it here through the steering wheel paddle shifters, it still just as fun as it was a decade ago. The Alltrack can come in a six-speed manual if your heart desires a third pedal; however, it’s only available on the base trim model and won’t arrive till early this 2017 year.

Since Volkswagen didn’t forgo the Golf’s integrity, the Alltrack still remains a spirted wagen. Like a puppy that’s always happy to see you, it just does everything you want it to do. The steering is light, smooth, and precise – the steering wheel is even skinny and easy to grip. The chassis responds well to the road, everything feels solid and well put together thanks to its independent suspension. Ride height has been raised by nearly an inch and half mostly because of the larger tires and wheels. There are four separate drive modes to control the Alltrack’s behavior between Sport, Normal, Personal, and Off-Road. Each mode controls the throttle response and transmission mapping. Outside of Off-Road Mode, the Alltrack’s power is delivered to the front wheels; however, if the powertrain detects slippage, Volkswagen 4MOTION all-wheel drive system comes into play transferring torque to the rear-wheels. When engaging Off-Road Mode, it automatically splits the power meaning you can go just about anywhere your heart desires as long as it’s not too far off the beaten path.

Because the lift on the Alltrack is so small, there isn’t that feelingness of driving a crossover. There is a still a commanding view, but not that take on the world demeanor that you get from driving a riding SUV. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Because Volkswagen hasn’t made any changes to the interior – it still carries the same German finesses of excellent built quality, premium fit and finish materials and an attractive presence. Materials have been adjusted from the Sportwagen replacing the piano black finish with a more satin gray – better on dust, fingerprints and scratches.

Even though our tester hear was the top spec’d SEL starting at $32,890, it was missing one key option that we’d recommend when getting the higher trim level: Driver Assistance and Lighting Package. That package brings in active HID headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Parking Aid Forward Collison Alert with Emergency Braking and much more. But that didn’t stop us from loving the new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the spacious cargo area with quick folding rear seats, and the attention to detail on the interior with illuminated lights in the door trim, carpeted finish in the door storage areas and a large panoramic sunroof.  

When crossovers are just too much of a lifestyle mood crusher, but still serve a much need purpose in our lives, it’s good to know that Volkswagen now offers something that still carries it’s fun to drive sporty attitude in a more rugged, capable Golf.  

Vehicle Specifications:
2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Base Price: $26,950
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $33,710
Performance Specs:
1.8-liter Turbocharged  4-Cylinder – 170-Horsepower, Six-Speed DSG Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±7.5 seconds
EPA MPG: 22/30/25 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average:  22 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±450 Miles


    • It is surprising how smooth it handles such little power and how efficiently its produced. I agree on looks too, the body cladding definitely add a more aggressive stance.

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