• 2018 Volkswagen Alltrack
  • 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Road Test: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

A Great Crossover Wagon Gets Even Better

Volkswagen has been hard at work beefing up its CUV/SUV offerings over the last 12 months. In 2017 they replaced their German-built Touareg with their first US-built full-sized SUV, the Atlas, introduced an updated Tiguan with American-sized version and introduced an upscale version of the Golf SportWagen named the Alltrack.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Don’t call it an off-road station wagon

The Alltrack, introduced in 2017 is a compact AWD station wagon that is designed to compete in the space occupied by the likes of Subaru, Volvo, Audi and Mitsubishi. Granted that US buyers are somewhat averse to the name “Station Wagon,” so VW has revamped the Golf wagon with increased ride height, aggressive body cladding, and VW’s 4Motion AWD system, along with other upscale content.

For 2018, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack continues to improve with added content, new styling, added safety features and lower pricing.

Here’s what’s new for 2018

The 2018 Alltrack is still available in three trims, S, SE, and SEL.

The base S receives new LED taillights, front daytime running lights (DRLs) and automatic headlights with a rain sensor. Inside, the S has a new MIB II infotainment system with VW CarNet, Apple Carplay, Android Auto and Off-road display, with a 6.5-inch color screen.

The 2018 Alltrack SE adds forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking (front assist), as a standard driver assistance feature along with pedestrian monitoring and blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

The upgraded, refined interior is full of tech

SE trims also upgrade to an 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment display.

The top-of-line 2018 Golf Alltrack SEL gains a new 8.0-inch Discover Media touchscreen infotainment and navigation display, as well as LED headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System. Safety systems that were previously optional are now standard equipment, including:

-Forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring (front assist),

-Adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane departure warning (lane assist),

-Front and rear park distance control with maneuver braking (ParkPilot),

-Parking steering assistant (park assist) and high beam control (light assist), and

-Standard blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert.

The Power Behind Alltrack

The Alltrack is still powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder power plant, which is a destroked version of the 2.0-liter EA888 engine found in the GTI. The Alltrack has 170 horsepower and 199 pounds-feet of torque on tap. This engine is a VW tuner’s favorite engine with a vast number of aftermarket parts to increase both

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Steady power comes from a turbo four

horsepower and torque. The Alltrack offers two choices of transmission with a six-speed manual transmission or VW’s silky smooth six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic with Tiptronic and paddle shifters.

Delivering power to the road is through VW’s 4Motion AWD system that uses electronic controls to provide power to whichever wheels have the most traction in a variety of terrains via a center differential. On regular road conditions, the differential disconnects the rear drive for maximum fuel economy. Utilizing the stability controls, individual wheels can be locked to prevent slipping while power is transferred seamlessly to the wheel on the opposite side. Up to 50 percent of the drive torque can be transferred to the rear wheels. Hill descent control, an “Off-Road Mode” and increased ground clearance provide exceptional performance on a variety of terrains. The Alltrack borrows VW’s XDS+ cross differential system from the GTI and Golf R. XDS+ is an electronic version of a mechanical limited slip differential for all four wheels for maximum traction.

The Alltrack unibody chassis is beefed up over the regular Golf wagon with two solid-mounted sub-frames, one for each set of drive wheels. The suspension is unique to the Alltrack with a .06-inch increased ride height and tuned shocks, springs and front and rear roll bars for ride comfort on regular roads, but increased travel and rebound control for off-road conditions.

The Key Numbers

For 2018 EPA ratings keep the Alltrack in the AWD 30-MPG Club with scores of 21 city/30 highway/24 combined for the six-speed and 22/30/25 for the automatic. We observed an average of 28.6 MPG during our test of the 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. With the addition of a 14.5-gallon fuel tank, range is increased.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

If you squint, it becomes a crossover

Pricing for the 2018 Alltrack is slightly less than the 2017 version mainly due to the shifting of content. The only options for the S and SE trims are the choice of transmission. The SEL only offers the six-speed DSG.

Alltrack S – Six-speed manual $25,955 / Six-speed DSG $27,055

Alltrack SE – Six-speed manual $29,765 / Six-speed DSG $30,865

Alltrack SEL – Six-speed DSG $35,660

The destination charge for all trims is $850

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is a worthy competitor to the other CUV wagons on the market today. The build quality is solid, power is smooth, but a bit buzzy at higher RPMs, and the transmissions are flawless. If you are in the market for a small station wagon with some off-road moxie, then make sure the Alltrack is on your consideration list!

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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

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About Author: Gary Lieber

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