Volkswagen Golf Alltrack: versatile and highly capable

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The Volkswagen 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, 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 Sportwagen 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 Sportwagen 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 168 hp and uprated to 199 lb-ft of torque, mated to either a  six-speed automatic, or the new six speed manual transmission. The Alltrack edition sits 1.5 cm higher thanks to longer springs and dampers, and is differentiated with matte plastic body cladding, aluminum mirrors, and skid plates underneath.

We tested a very classy looking Peacock green 2019 Alltrack model (Base priced from $36,670) equipped with the excellent six-speed DSG Tiptronic auto transmission and 4MOTION All Wheel drive. As standard features included: 18 inch Canyon wheels, panoramic sunroof, LED headlights and DRLs, Alltrack grille, Adaptive front light system. Options included the Driver Assistance package Plus ($1,750) comprising: Front Assist, autonomous Emergency braking,  with pedestrian monitoring, Adaptive Cruise control with Stop and Go, Park Assist with Park Distance Control, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Traffic alert and Lane Assist for a total price of $38,420 plus freight, PDI and excise tax.

The interior is a smart blend of sleek, efficient design. It one of the better cabins in the Golf line up with the soft creamy Shetland leather offset by silver trim mouldings. The 12-way power-adjustable and heated seats are comfortable and supportive, and the lighter-shade interiors are simply beautiful. The massive panoramic sunroof makes the cabin even lighter and airy. Keyless access, leather everything, dual-zone climate control plus the 115V power supply are all standard. 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 cargo area features a decent size at 861 L (1,883 L with the seats folded down) and is very versatile thanks to a large opening, fold-down seats, and a rear-seat armrest pass-through for long items. Also added is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and leather trim for the steering wheel, shifter and parking brake lever. The 8.0-inch touchscreen is a knockout with its rich, vivid graphic displays, colour and features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Large, easy-to-reach touchscreen buttons also work with hard buttons, plus knobs for volume and tuning control. The SiriusXM channels can display a range of information. Sorry but it puts the audio systems of cars costing megabucks to shame!

On the road, the Sportwagen 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 Sportwagen 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 selectable off-road drive and hill-descent control ensure the Sportwagen Alltrack can handle all terrains, light trails and gravel, rocky road, 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 Sportwagen gets Volkswagen’s six-speed DSG (Dual-clutch automatic) instead of a normal automatic transmission. The result quicker, more precise, smoother shifts.  Fuel economy is rated at 11.1/7.8/9.6 L/100 km city/hwy/combined. In summing up, the Golf Sportwagen is a rather clever idea. You get the attributes of a mild off-road SUV in a more car-like package, and, best 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.  Volkswagen Canada says the 2019 model Alltrack will be discontinued for while or permanently as the company shifts its production to a new compact SUV. So if you want one, now is the time to pull the trigger. Highly recommended for its versatility, space and all-round attributes.

2019 Volkswagen Sportwagen Alltrack: Priced from $36 670. Price as tested $38,420 plus freight, PDI ($1645), and excise tax. More info at www.vw.ca