Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is the latest Golf 7 variant to reach us downunder. A smaller brother of the Passat Alltrack, it has a tougher look than the standard Golf station wagon it’s based on and may appeal to some looking for a mild SUV, but don’t want to be seen as the macho type. While not really an SUV this Alltrack sits higher off the ground and has some off-road ability. In fact it this Alltrack competes in a market segment with many SUV lookalikes that only have 2WD, so the VW can outshine them. Strange, isn’t it? But all good fun.
It’s a useful little wagon on road or off, the squared off tail gives decent volume, with room for 605 litres of cargo. Safety and convenience are enhanced by a luggage partition net, as well as shopping bag and load restraint hooks.
Our test Alltrack had a $2500 Alltrack Sports Luxury Package with 18-inch ‘Canyon’ alloy wheels; tinted rear-side and rear windows; a panoramic, powered glass sunroof; and gearshift paddles.
Revised front and rear bumpers team with substantial body protection panels on the sides and wheelarches to give the Alltrack a semi-tough appearance. More importantly, if you do some exploring in the bush they will stop nasty, expensive paint scratches from spoiling your day. There’s also additional protection on the underbody so this wagon is no toy.
Inside, Golf 7 Alltrack has leather upholstery, and the steering wheel and gearshift knob are trimmed in the same upmarket material.
The latest VW infotainment system comes with an App-Connect system that works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It operates through a high definition 6.5-inch Discover Media unit. This is smaller than we are accustomed to in many new cars and while the quality of the images is good it’s not all that easy to see at a glance. A handy feature is the screen recognising that your finger is getting close, causing it to switch from display to input mode. There’s USB, SD card and Aux connectivity.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Power comes from a 1.8-litre turbo-petrol unit producing 132 kW. There’s up to 280 Nm of torque that arrives at a mere 1350 rpm and stays unchanged at that useful level until the tacho shows 4500 rpm. So most drivers will have maximum grunt on tap virtually all the time.
Transmission is by a six-speed dual-clutch DSG that passes the torque to Volkswagen’s propriety all-wheel-drive 4Motion system which includes a Haldex coupling. Drive is normally only to the front wheels, with the rears being brought into play when grip is lost at the front. Icy roads will be traversed with extra safety, as will normal road with rain bucketing from the sky.
Active safety features in this tough little VW wagon include ESP, multi-collision brakes, a driver fatigue detection system and a low tyre pressure indicator.
Passive safety is provided by seven airbags including front, front side, curtain, as well as a driver’s knee airbag.
An optional $1300 Driver Assistance Package has adaptive cruise control, front assist with city emergency braking, park assist and a proactive occupant protection system that prepares the car for a crash if it senses one is imminent.
So confident was Volkswagen Australia in Golf Alltrack’s ability that it included some off-road dirt sections on the drive program during the media launch in Canberra. This included the infamous ‘Mineshaft’ drop that’s very much part of top level car rallying in Australia. Alltrack’s off-road mode got us down the vertigo-inducing dirt slope without us needing to touch the brake pedal at any stage.
We found 4Motion fast acting in dirt running, indeed virtually instantaneous with only a few moments of wheel spin before the system allocated torque to the appropriate corner of the Alltrack and kept up our forward progress.
On road we found Alltrack to be smooth and comfortable in its ride during that session in Canberra, as well as on our home turf on the Gold Coast.
AT A GLANCE
Golf Alltrack 1.8-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon: $37,990 (DSG automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Volkswagen dealer for driveaway prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Volkswagen Golf Alltrack 1.8-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 1.798 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 132 kW @ 4500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 280 Nm @ 1350 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 95RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.7 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 158 g/km
Six-speed DSG automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4578 mm
Wheelbase: 2630 mm
Width: 1799 mm
Height: 1799 mm
Turning Circle: 10.9 metres
Kerb Mass: 1479 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Three years / 100,000 km