2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

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$25,850–$32,890 MSRP range
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Revised styling makes it look rugged
  • Park Assist technology is helpful
  • Responsive engine both on- and off-road
  • All-wheel drive moves torque quickly
  • Panoramic moonroof is very large

The Bad

  • Cost premium over the SportWagen
  • Backseat has a high floor
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay only on SEL models
  • No rear USB ports
  • Tires not suited for off-roading
  • Accelerator too twitchy in Sport mode

Notable Features of the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

  • New model for 2017
  • Based heavily on the Golf SportWagen
  • 170-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Standard 4Motion all-wheel drive
  • Standard heated front seats
  • Standard backup camera
  • Off-road driving mode

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Road Test

Brian Wong
The Verdict:

While there is much to like about the Golf Alltrack, it may not offer enough gains in capability and features to warrant its price premium over the Golf SportWagen it is based upon.

Versus The Competition:

While it's not quite as capable, the Alltrack has the cargo capacity and many of the abilities of a compact SUV, but its closest competitor may be the more affordable Golf SportWagen upon which it's based.

The Golf family welcomed its latest addition this year, as the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack joined the brood. That now makes six members of the family for 2017: Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, e-Golf and now Alltrack.

The Golf Alltrack shares a lot with the SportWagen (compare them here), including its powertrain, general dimensions and trim levels (S, SE and SEL). There are a few key differences, mostly in styling and price. The Alltrack starts about $2,000 more than a similarly equipped SportWagen, which is a big markup for the changes it offers.

The off-road-oriented, all-wheel-drive-touring Alltrack aims at the Subaru Outback, which is another raised wagon-like vehicle. The Alltrack also offers enough cargo room and capability to go up against compact SUVs like the Subaru Forester and Jeep Cherokee. Compare these competitors with the Alltrack here.

I spent a week with a mid-trim 2017 Alltrack SE, including time at an off-road park to see if its add-ons are worth its added cost.

Exterior & Styling

The Volkswagen GolfAlltrack looks like a butched-up SportWagen: The bumpers are different and there are silver (instead of black) roof rails, but the biggest styling change is the addition of black plastic lower cladding all around the car that makes it look more rugged. There's also 0.6 inch of added ride height and an extra 1.4 inches of ground clearance, bringing the total up to 6.9 inches.

S models get 17-inch wheels and halogen headlights, whi...

The Golf family welcomed its latest addition this year, as the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack joined the brood. That now makes six members of the family for 2017: Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, e-Golf and now Alltrack.

The Golf Alltrack shares a lot with the SportWagen (compare them here), including its powertrain, general dimensions and trim levels (S, SE and SEL). There are a few key differences, mostly in styling and price. The Alltrack starts about $2,000 more than a similarly equipped SportWagen, which is a big markup for the changes it offers.

The off-road-oriented, all-wheel-drive-touring Alltrack aims at the Subaru Outback, which is another raised wagon-like vehicle. The Alltrack also offers enough cargo room and capability to go up against compact SUVs like the Subaru Forester and Jeep Cherokee. Compare these competitors with the Alltrack here.

I spent a week with a mid-trim 2017 Alltrack SE, including time at an off-road park to see if its add-ons are worth its added cost.

Exterior & Styling

The Volkswagen GolfAlltrack looks like a butched-up SportWagen: The bumpers are different and there are silver (instead of black) roof rails, but the biggest styling change is the addition of black plastic lower cladding all around the car that makes it look more rugged. There's also 0.6 inch of added ride height and an extra 1.4 inches of ground clearance, bringing the total up to 6.9 inches.

S models get 17-inch wheels and halogen headlights, while the SE adds a standard panoramic moonroof. SEL models get 18-inch wheels and optional bi-xenon headlights.

How It Drives

The 2017 Alltrack shares the SportWagen's powertrain: a 170-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes a gratifying 199 pounds-feet of torque. The Alltrack also has standard 4Motion all-wheel drive and comes only with Volkswagen's six-speed, dual-clutch automatic (a manual transmission option is coming in early 2017). VW chose wisely in stealing from the SportWagen. Peak torque comes on at just 1,600 rpm, and it feels lively and peppy, both on- and off-road.

4Motion functions like a front-wheel-drive system most of the time, but when it detects a loss of traction, an electronic center differential can send up to 50 percent of power to the rear axle. If power needs to be moved laterally, 4Motion can use the electronic stability system to brake the wheel that's spinning freely to transfer torque to the other wheel. The Alltrack has unique suspension tuning and its Driving Mode Selection system adds an Offroad setting, which changes the steering feel and accelerator response for more delicacy off-pavement.

Though it's positioned as an off-road-oriented vehicle, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is a blast to drive on the street. The powertrain and steering are both very responsive and have great feel. The additional ride height doesn't affect ride quality; it still has that inherent sportiness that members of the Golf family possess in spades.

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Off-road, returns aren't as positive. The added ground clearance means the Alltrack gets over small obstacles the SportWagen may not have, but it's not enough clearance to make it a bona fide off-roader. I wouldn't be comfortable taking the Alltrack on anything more than a dirt or gravel road; any trail involving suspension articulation or crawling is a no-go. Also problematic were the Alltrack's tires: When I tried to climb a dirt hill, the 4Motion system was working overtime, but there just wasn't any grip to be had. Put on a different set of shoes and the story might be different.

Fuel economy estimates are the same across all trim levels: 22/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined on regular gas. This matches figures for the SportWagen with the same powertrain but lags behind FWD versions by a good margin (29 mpg combined).

Interior

The Alltrack's interior mirrors the minimalist exterior design; it isn't flashy, but it gets the job done. Alltrack badging lets you know you're not in a SportWagen, and I liked the feeling of the imitation leather upholstery, which comes standard. The flat-bottom steering wheel makes the whole thing feel sportier.

The backseat has plenty of headroom, which is a concern at times in models with a panoramic moonroof (such as the one in my SE). Legroom is ample, but there's a high cabin floor, which means backseat passengers may find their knees raised and their legs poorly supported. That can be fatiguing over longer stretches.

There were, however, a few strange omissions in the SE for a car that costs over $32,000: it has no automatic climate control or navigation system. Those three items don't show up until you jump to the SEL trim, which starts at $33,710 (including an $820 destination fee).

Ergonomics & Electronics

All trim levels of the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack offer a 6.5-inch touchscreen in the center console, but it has different technology depending on trim level. On the S and SE, the screen is used for most controls, including the drive mode selector and some safety systems (if equipped).

Jump up to the SEL and you'll add the Discover Media system, which includes navigation as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It's especially frustrating that the lower trims don't have these smartphone interfaces, as they'd allow for mirroring of device-based navigation apps on the dashboard screen.

Cargo & Storage

Identical to the SportWagen, the Alltrack has 30.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, expandable to 66.5 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear seats folded. That's better than the Subaru Crosstrek (22.3/51.9 cubic feet) and Jeep Cherokee (24.6/58.9 cubic feet) but less than the Outback (35.5/73.3 cubic feet).

Safety

A backup camera is standard, but the Alltrack's exciting safety options come as part of an $845 Driver Assistant Package. It adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, and a self-parking system that handles the steering while you parallel park. The Alltrack also offers a system called Park Pilot, which uses the parking sensors to detect objects in the car's periphery. The proximity of these objects is shown on the multimedia screen, along with the path of the Alltrack, so you can see if you'll be able to pass the obstacle.

In the SEL, the Driver Assistance and Lighting Package gets a bit more expensive ($1,995) and adds more content, including bi-xenon headlights and an adaptive front-lighting system that turns as you steer the car, plus automatic high beams and lane departure warning.

The Alltrack earned top scores in all Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crashworthiness tests and the middle score of advanced for crash avoidance and mitigation. See where it stands in the IIHS Small Cars class here.

Value in Its Class

To assess the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack's value, you must start with its closest contemporary, the SportWagen, which starts at $25,750 for an S model with automatic transmission and AWD (all prices include destination). The Alltrack S starts higher, at $27,770 similarly equipped. It replaces the base SportWagen's cloth upholstery with imitation leather and adds the off-road upgrades.

My SE checked in at $32,195 thanks to the addition of the Driver Assistant Package. That struck me as expensive for what you get; a similarly equipped SportWagen (with Driver Assistance but sans AWD) runs $28,445.

There is one thing to note, however: The Golf SportWagen offers AWD only on S trims, so if you want an SE or SEL with AWD, you have to get an Alltrack. Is it worth it? In a way. AWD options are still few in this class; Subaru offers the Outback, but when you compare that with the Alltrack, it just makes the decision even murkier: An Outback — with more cargo and cabin space and safety features similar to the Alltrack SE — ends up at $30,565. It's harder to make a case for the smaller, more expensive Alltrack.

This makes the Alltrack a tough sell in many ways, which is a shame because I really like it. Its acumen on the street is unquestioned, and the interior is more refined than what's found in the Subarus. But that price tag makes it hard to swallow. Those who do pony up won't be disappointed, but unless you're really going to use that marginal gain in capability, my choice would be the SportWagen and a nice vacation.


Latest 2017 Golf Alltrack Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.9)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

The perfect city wagon for active people

by Chicago Northside Owner from Chicago, IL on July 10, 2018

I love this car. It's extremely fun to drive even though it's a wagon. It drives very well thanks to the 4-wheel drive. The exterior and interior are very stylish and sporty. One of the best features ... Read full review

(5.0)

Best car ever - My dream car!

by KK 's Dream Car from Denver CO on May 23, 2018

This is my dream care and has meet all my desires in a car! This car meets all my needs! Love the fun sun roof! Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack TSI S

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Volkswagen

Program Benefits

100+ point dealer inspection, 2 years of 24/7 roadside assistance, CARFAX Vehicle history report, and three-month SiriusXM All-Access trial subscription

  • Limited Warranty

    2018 model year or later: 1-year/12,000, 72,000 miles eligibility - 2017 model year or earlier: 2-year/24,000, 75,000 miles eligibility - 2016 model year or earlier TDI: 2-year/unlimited, 75,000 miles eligibility

    *See owner’s literature or dealer for your vehicle’s warranty coverage, exclusions, and limitations.
  • Eligibility

    2018 model year or later: 1-year/12,000, 72,000 miles eligibility - 2017 model year or earlier: 2-year/24,000, 75,000 miles eligibility - 2016 model year or earlier TDI: 2-year/unlimited, 75,000 miles eligibility

    Vehicles receive a 100+ point inspection and reconditioning.

Change Year or Vehicle

All Model Years for the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Golf Alltrack received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

A

Booster

(second row)

A

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

B
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker