It seems that station wagons have always been popular in Europe, particularly less than full-size wagons. Not so much here in the U.S. for the past few years. In fact, there was a time of late when the station wagon was predicted to become extinct, with SUVs and Crossovers taking their place. Now the scenario has changed, and wagons, especially of the smaller variety are becoming popular once again. An excellent example is the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack S 4MOTION TSI for 2018. It is a small station wagon that could also be described as a diminutive vehicle on the order of a reduced size crossover.
The new Volkswagen Golf Alltrack features all the right attributes: all-wheel drive as standard fare, a raised ground clearance, and protective composite black cladding around wheel wells, the lower body and fascias, all of which , contribute to a capable off-road persona. The Alltrack is based on the same award-winning platform as the rest of the Golf family.
This is the second year for the VW Alltrack, which benefits from an exterior styling refresh and some updates in technology, including a new infotainment system and a broader availability of active safety features.
Our test VW Golf TSI Alltrack S 4MOTION started at $27,055., which costs just over $2,000. more than a similar Golf SportWagen 4Motion S. Of course it’s possible to pay more for the higher SE and SEL trim levels, which provide more features., but the S, serves up an impressive inventory of standard equipment, including: a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; Heated front seats; All-wheel drive; and Leatherette upholstery.
Powering this latest iteration VW Alltrack is a 1.8-liter TSI® DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with Direct fuel Injection that makes 170 horsepower at 4,500 rpm while developing 199 pound feet of torque at 1,600 rpm. Motive force is geared through either a standard six-sped manual gearbox or a six-speed DSG automatic transmission for an extra $1,100. To either the front wheels or to all four via VW’s 4MOTION. .
The final price tag for our Tornado Red test vehicle with a Titan Black leatherette interior came to $27,905 after adding the Destination charge. There were no extra cost options, and if you want things like push-button start, a panoramaic sunroof, blind spot monitoring and forward collision warning, the SE and SEL trims are available.
The VW Alltrack is a visually appealing as sub-compact wagons. In profile, the Alltrack displays a flowing contemporary form with soft character lines on the sloping hood to the “A” pillars and just below the cabin’s shoulder. The roofline tapers smoothly to the rear, where the Alltrack projects a wide stance. It’s styling is certainly more pleasing than say a Subaru Outback.
SUMMARY: The 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack TSI 4MOTION wagon has a lot to offer for its less than $30,000 price tag. Acceleration from the normally aspirated 4-cylinder is more than simply adequate, and the handling characteristics are on the sporty side of the chart with an athletic and energetic response to driver input.
The cabin showcases a simple, yet refined fit and finish with an intuitive operational layout, and the cargo area is both versatile and spacious. Ride quality is comfortable without being either too mushy or too firm. Fuel economy is okay, but could be better to compete with some competitors. Connectivity, Infotainment and driver – assist features abound, with even more in the higher trim levels.
On the bottom line, the new VW Golf Alltrack is an ideal small wagon, even though the Golf SportWagen 4MOTION is less expensive. The Alltrack is more SUV inspired, which will be more favorable to some but perhaps not so much to others.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack TSI S 4MOTION
Base Price: $27,055.
Price as Tested: $27,905.
Engine Type and Size: 1.8-liter TSI® DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder with Direct fuel Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 170 @ 4,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 199 @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed DSG automatic.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / All-Wheel Drive
Suspension: Front – Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, 22-mmdiameter anti-roll bar
Rear – Multilink, coil springs, telescopic dampers, 19 mm diameter anti-roll bar.
Brakes: Power assisted, dual circuit, 11.3 x 1.0-in vented front discs and 10.7 x 0.4-in solid rear discs
Tires: Falken Singer 205/55 R17 All-Season mounted on 5-“V”-spoke Silver painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 103.5 inches
Length Overall: 180.2 inches
Width: 70.8 inches
Height: 59.6 inches
Curb Weight: 3,351 lbs.
Turning Circle: 35.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 14.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 21 mpg city / 30-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.31
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.