Volkswagen Golf Alltrack: 2017 Canadian Car of the Year winner

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor

2018 Volkswagen Golf AlltrackVolkswagen’s Golf Alltrack, is a compact All Wheel Drive crossover/wagon, an offshoot of the Sportwagen Highline model. Sitting slightly higher than the Sportwagen, with mild body cladding, fender flares, and Volkswagen 4Motion All-Wheel Drive system, it arrives with a few changes for the 2018 model year. It has already received a number of accolades. Bagging, in particular the 2017 AJAC Canadian Car of the Year Award. This versatile five-seater offers some updated styling tweaks and the availability of a manual transmission option for sporty drivers. There are new front and rear bumpers, new halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights. The Alltrack also adds a high end Fender audio system to its list of standard features, along with paddle shifters in cars with the six-speed automatic transmission. The Alltrack is powered by the same engine as found in the rest of the Golf lineup, namely, a 1.8L turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 170 hp and uprated to 200 lb-ft of torque, mated to either a six-speed automatic, or the new six speed manual transmission. The Alltrack uprated suspension comprises of longer springs and shocks to raise the ride height all of 20mm. We tested a stunning- looking Tornado Red 2018 Golf Alltrack 4MOTION, equipped with 18-inch Canyon wheels, and all season tires with a base MRSP pf $35,295.

The interior is a smart blend of sleek, efficient design. It is a roomy cabin with lots of space for all occupants and of course the wagon format allows it great flexibility with cargo carrying with the 60/40 flat folding rear seats. The Alltrack spec includes power driver’s seat, ambient interior lighting, automatic headlights, chrome exterior trim, leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, sports seats, rain-sensing wipers and navigation. Also added is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and leather trim for the steering wheel, shifter and parking brake lever, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen, passive keyless entry and satellite radio. Alltrack options include a Light and Sound Package that adds adaptive LED headlights; and an excellent and highly recommended Driver Assistance Package of adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection with rear traffic alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, lane assist, automatic high beams, park assist and park distance control. Our tester was equipped with options including the Driver Assistance Package and the Light and Sound Package for a total price of $38,215 plus freight, PDI and excise tax.

On the road, the Alltrack is very capable with good stability, and impressive grip from the fifth-generation 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. With its Golf underpinning, the Alltrack does indeed feel similar to its sibling, although a tad slower with all that four wheel drive equipment. It has the same solidity and firmness of steering and handles very well on the curves and around town and on the highway. The Alltrack’ s selectable off-road drive and hill-descent control ensure the Alltrack can handle all terrains, light trails and gravel, rocky road, although the lack of skid plates and ground clearance will prohibit from real boonie bashing. The as standard 4Motion All-wheel Drive system can alter the torque distribution side to side and front to rear wheels or vice versa according to changing road conditions. The Alltrack gets Volkswagen’s six-speed DSG (Dual-clutch automatic) instead of a normal automatic transmission. The result quicker, more precise, smoother shifts.

In summing up, the Golf Alltrack is a rather clever idea. You get the attributes of a mild off-road SUV in a more car-like package, and, bests of all it feels like a Golf. It can get a little pricy, but then again you do get an excellent high-quality cabin, and extras such as 4Motion AWD system and the brilliant driver-assistance features.

Highly recommended and with 2017 AJAC (Automotive Journalist Association of Canada) Car of the Year award under its belt, the Volkswagen Alltrack must be considered if the  specification meets your needs.

2018 Volkswagen Alltrack: Priced from $35.295. Price as tested $38,215 plus freight, PDI ($1625), and excise tax.