Volkswagen’s Alltrack Is a German Outback Alternative
If you want a hatchback or a wagon, it’s hard to find a company in the States that offers more options than Volkswagen. The Golf is a great little hatch, and if you’re looking for more fun, the GTI is hard to beat. Above that, the Golf R adds all-wheel drive and a huge boost in power to make what is perhaps the most practical sports car on the market. Do you prefer torque and fuel economy over raw power? If so, Volkswagen will gladly sell you the diesel Golf TDI.
If you need more practicality than what a hatchback can provide, however, the Golf SportWagen is available to fill all of your station wagon desires. If you wanted something a little more rugged, you used to have to move to an SUV. That’s not the case anymore, now that Volkswagen has announced that the SportWagen Alltrack is coming to the United States. You might not be tackling Moab in one, but for a combination of everyday practicality and soft-roading capability, the Alltrack is going to be hard to beat.
To make the Alltrack more capable than the regular SportWagen, Volkswagen added an extra inch to the ride height, as well as 4MOTION all-wheel drive with a Haldex coupling. This setup allows the Alltrack to run as a front-wheel drive car under normal conditions, minimizing the hit to fuel economy that comes with adding an all-wheel drive system to a vehicle. Once the system detects wheel slip, however, it can send up to 50% of its power to the rear wheels. Electronic differential locks at both the front and the rear allow power to be sent side to side as well, braking the slipping wheel, while sending more power to the wheel that still has grip.
To protect the body from brush and debris, Volkswagen then added flared side sills, wheel arch moldings, and new bumpers. On the inside, the Alltrack will be more upscale than the regular SportWagen. Volkswagen interiors are already quite nice, so a more upscale interior could push the Alltrack into near-luxury territory. Specifics on engines have not been released, but don’t be surprised if the same gasoline and diesel engine options carry over from the regular SportWagen.
As for pricing, Volkswagen has yet to say anything, but with the all-wheel drive system and a promise of a more upscale interior, a base price somewhere around $30,000 wouldn’t be surprising. Similar in concept to the A4-based Audi Allroad, the Alltrack should certainly start well below the Allroad’s $42,400 base price.
Volkswagen isn’t crazy though. It knows that the SportWagen Alltrack is going to naturally be compared to vehicles like the Volvo V60 and the Subaru Outback. It will have to carve out its own niche in the segment, but at the same time, it’s also going to have to be equipped to hold its own against some serious competition. Subaru has been at the lifted wagon game for years, and the Outback already has a very good reputation, especially in the Northeast. Volvo, on the other hand, is just as popular, if not more popular than Subaru. Its reputation for safety makes its vehicles incredibly popular with families.
If the Volkswagen SportWagen Alltrack is as good as it has the potential to be. It could end up stealing sales not just from Subaru and Volvo, but from Audi, too. The Allroad is very good looking, but the Alltrack is no slouch in the looks department. With similar capabilities and an upscale interior, Volkswagen could end up giving its corporate sibling some serious competition.
If Americans can get past the fact that it’s not an SUV, the SportWagen Alltrack could be quite a compelling package. After all, it’s hard to argue with a vehicle that offers the same off-road capability and cargo capacity as a compact SUV while also providing car-like fuel economy and driving manners. At this point, the biggest question is, will it sell?
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