It is arduous to argue towards a automobile as well-rounded and helpful as Volkswagen’s Golf Alltrack. It won’t take a standard SUV form, but it surely’ll do every thing your crossover will do — and in some instances, it will do it higher.

The Alltrack joined Volkswagen’s Golf vary in late 2016 as a 2017 mannequin, so it troopers on into 2018 with no main mechanical enhancements. As a substitute, improved onboard tech and higher tools packaging throughout its numerous trim ranges end in a Golf Alltrack that is one way or the other much more interesting than earlier than.

Butch fashion, helpful form

You’ll spot a 2018 Alltrack because of its redesigned lighting parts. All fashions get LED taillights, and the top-level SEL will get LED operating and headlights. In any other case, the Alltrack’s design is similar because it ever was. No complaints right here.

The Alltrack brings a type of faux-SUV look to the Golf Sportwagen, with grey cladding, stylized facet sills and polished roof rails. You additionally get 6.9 inches of floor clearance right here, an inch and a half greater than an ordinary Golf Sportwagen. That is useful must you truly end up in rutted trails out within the woods, or if it’s worthwhile to drive over packed snow on winter days. It makes the Alltrack that a lot simpler to get out and in of, too.

Raise the hatch and you will find 30.four cubic toes of house, or 66.5 must you fold the rear seats flat. That is only some cubic toes lower than what’s supplied in compact crossovers just like the Ford Escape or Volkswagen’s personal Tiguan; until you are filling your automobile to the brim each time, you seemingly will not discover the marginally smaller dimensions. As a substitute, you will recognize the Alltrack’s low load-in top and extensive hatch aperture. What you will not discover, nevertheless, is an influence liftgate.

The Alltrack makes use of the identical 170-horsepower 1.8T engine as different Golf fashions. You possibly can even pair it with a six-speed guide transmission.

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Turbo punch with two methods to shift

Each Alltrack makes use of the identical 1.Eight-liter turbocharged I4 engine as different Golf fashions, with 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. That is true for both transmission, too — lesser, front-wheel-drive Golf fashions solely make 184 pound-feet when paired with a five-speed guide transmission, however the all-wheel-drive Alltrack provides a sixth gear to the row-your-own occasion, permitting for the elevated torque ranking. You may get the stick on S and SE fashions, whereas the SEL is solely accessible with the six-speed dual-clutch automated, a $1,100 choice elsewhere.

Both transmission pairs properly with the 1.8T. Fast, easy shifts accompany DSG fashions, whereas the guide transmission, even with its lengthy shift throws, is satisfying to make use of. The engine produces sufficient energy to supply sufficient acceleration round city and for merging onto freeways, however load the Alltrack up with 4 adults and a few baggage and it will require a deeper dig into the throttle to get it up to the mark. No shock, an engine that feels completely advantageous in a 2,945-pound base Golf reveals indicators of anemia in its three,395-pound, all-wheel-drive Alltrack software.

LED headlights and 18-inch wheels set the SEL mannequin other than lesser Alltracks.

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Nonetheless, the Alltrack is fulfilling to drive, with a balanced, properly managed journey. It is comfy always, and regardless of its raised journey top, physique roll is basically stored in examine for largely flat cornering. The default steering tune is gentle but correct; Sport mode provides some welcome weight to the wheel’s motion, nevertheless small it could be.

The highest-level Alltrack SEL pictured right here rolls on fashionable 18-inch wheels, although I do not suppose the downsized 17s of the S and SE fashions look too small by comparability. What you lose in alloy diameter you acquire in tire sidewall — 205/55R17 in contrast with 225/45R18 — and the result’s improved journey consolation with none noticeable loss in dynamic skill.

Gasoline economic system is on par with equally sized compact crossovers. Guide Alltracks are EPA-rated at 21 mpg metropolis, 30 mpg freeway and 25 mpg mixed; automated fashions do 1 mpg higher in each the town and mixed cycles. After an extended weekend of driving within the mountains exterior of Denver, I am seeing nearer to 23 mpg mixed, however I’ve hung out with Alltracks in flatter locales and have had no bother hitting EPA-spec numbers.

Alltrack SE and SEL fashions get a brand new Eight-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto normal. In order for you manufacturing facility navigation, it is an SEL-only affair.

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Identical inside, higher tech

Volkswagen opted to go away a lot of the Alltrack’s inside alone — advantageous, since there wasn’t actually something mistaken with it within the first place. Certain, I can nitpick issues just like the annoyingly half-powered driver’s seat on S and SE fashions (you may electronically alter fore/aft and top place, however shifting the seat again requires guide adjustment) or the awkward placement of the principle USB port deep inside the middle console cubby, however on the entire, the Alltrack’s cabin is good-looking, comfy and really properly appointed.

As a substitute, an enormous improve comes within the type of improved infotainment tech. The bottom Alltrack S makes use of the identical 6.5-inch touchscreen as earlier than, with normal Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however SE and SEL fashions get a bigger Eight-inch touchscreen with flush-mounted arduous buttons on both facet. The show is fast to answer inputs and makes use of a proximity operate to cover most of the controls till it detects a hand approaching. In all, Volkswagen’s infotainment system stays one among our favorites in the marketplace at the moment. Too dangerous you may’t match a Golf Alltrack with VW’s nifty Digital Cockpit.

For those who’re on the lookout for a full suite of security tech, be ready to spend. The bottom Alltrack solely comes with a rearview digital camera and post-collision braking. Shifting as much as the SE will get you ahead collision warning, automated emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, however if you would like issues like adaptive cruise management, park distance management, lane-keeping help and lane departure warning, you are locked into the top-level Alltrack SEL just like the one you see within the images accompanying this assessment, which begins at $36,760, together with $850 for vacation spot.

Nice Falls Inexperienced over brown leather-based? Be nonetheless my coronary heart.

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How I would spec it

Precisely like this. Critically, my Alltrack SE check automobile is just about excellent, with its Nice Falls Inexperienced exterior, Marrakesh Brown leatherette inside and six-speed guide transmission. I do not want a variety of energetic driving tech, and the midrange SE comes properly geared up with issues like a panoramic moonroof, pushbutton begin and the aforementioned Eight-inch infotainment display screen, all for an easy-on-your-wallet $30,865, together with vacation spot.

After all, you may go even cheaper and go for the Alltrack S, beginning at $26,805. It nonetheless comes with plenty of nice options, together with the identical 17-inch wheels because the SE, heated seats, automated headlights and foglights. Even in base spec, the Alltrack doesn’t really feel like a “base” mannequin.

Wagons are approach cooler than crossovers.

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Who wants a crossover?

I actually perceive the enchantment of compact crossovers: nice utility for carrying individuals and issues, all for a worth that will not break your checking account. However tall, all-wheel-drive wagons just like the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack — and Buick Regal TourX, Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, and many others. — provide almost the identical utility. You get bonus cool factors for protecting the wagon phase alive, too.

Within the case of the Alltrack, it is filled with the identical core DNA that is made Volkswagen’s Golf such a profitable small automobile. Enjoyable to drive, lots economical and tremendous practical, it is an awesome different to a barely larger VW Tiguan, to not point out myriad different small CUVs that now flood American roadways. It is a completely different method to a well-known components, and a extra compelling one at that.

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