Tom Crosby: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is all new

Tom Crosby

Volkswagen has often juggled the line-up of its Golf vehicles. This year VW adds a new model, the all-wheel drive Golf Alltrack with a turbo-charged motor and similarity to the less expensive Golf SportsWagen, which replaced the Golf Jetta wagon in 2015.

All 2017 Golf vehicles are currently four-door and Alltrack joins Golf, high-performance Golf R, SportWagen, GTI, a new Wolfsburg Edition and the electric e-Golf models.

The Alltrack has S, SE and SEL trims and we tested the sprightly, well-handling, good-looking SE with no options added.

Volkswagen Golf has been listed as one of the 10 best cars annually for 10 years by Car and Driver magazine and in October Volkswagen was named the industry’s most reliable automotive brand.

The Alltrack doesn’t diminish the reputation but enhances it with off-road performance and on-road handling. The standard 4Motion four-wheel drive puts power to the wheels that need it, hugging curves tightly with a well-modulated ride utilizing the four-wheel independent suspension over rough pavement or on a dirt road.

The turbo-charged engine generates sprightly acceleration with only minimal turbo lag in getting top rpms humming. With a price below the national average for a new vehicle, it’s wallet-friendly with owner expense coming in the recommendation for premium gasoline for best performance. It has earned top overall safety ratings in government and insurance agency crash tests. However, our test drive was absent optional driver safety aids like lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection.

Four drive modes (comfort, sport, individual and off-road) mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission (manual is available). Our Tornado Red exterior was complemented inside with Titan Black Leatherette that got thumbs up in the parking lot. VW’s Car-Net smartphone integrates with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with Fender audio for legible listening. Racing style pedals, panoramic sunroof, 6.5-inch touchscreen and heated front seats come standard.

Outside, the Alltrack has gray cladding surrounding the base, a matte-aluminum radiator crossbar with a black honeycomb grill. Silver roof rails add to the looks along with 17-inch aluminum wheels. Cargo space is more than ample with rear seats folded and rear seating is adequate for normal height adults. It has a spare tire, low trunk lift-over and extendable visors.

Volkswagen Group of America, which produces Volkswagens, Audis, Porsches and five other vehicles, became the world’s best selling automaker last year.

LIKE: Price, quickness, good looking, interior, handling

DISLIKE: Safety options needed, premium gas

BOTTOM LINE: Joins award winning line-up of Golf vehicles at decent price




  • Base price with destination fee: $31,350 (no options tested).
  • Curb weight: 3,422 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 103.5 inches.
  • Length: 180.2 inches.
  • Width: 70.8 inches.
  • Engine specs: 1.8 liter, turbo-charged inline 4-cylinder, DOHC.
  • Horsepower: 170 hp at 4,500 rpm
  • Torque: 199 lbs.-ft. at 1,600 rpm.
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic.
  • EPA rating: 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
  • Range: 14.5-gallon tank, premium recommended.
  • Performance: 0-60 in just over 7 seconds.

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.