A Golf SportWagen with FWD may best fit the traditional definition of a station wagon; the Alltrack variant has slightly more ground clearance, some additional body cladding, and standard AWD. Still, it looks like a station wagon, and nobody will ever confuse its appearance or its limited off-road capability with those of, say, a Jeep Wrangler.
On the road, the Alltrack performs like a Golf—and that’s a great thing. The turbo 4-cylinder engine provides enthusiastic acceleration. The steering is sharp, and the suspension is well controlled, making for fun on the twisties. Kudos to VW for giving buyers the option of shifting for themselves with a 6-speed manual transmission. The ride is a tad firm, and a little road noise seeps into the cabin, but overall, the Alltrack is unusually refined for a car with a modest price tag.
Thanks to its boxy configuration, the Alltrack is impressively spacious inside—nearly 67 cubic cargo-carrying feet with the rear seat backs folded, rivaling that of small SUVs. Moreover, outward visibility is largely unobstructed. The controls and layout of the dash are pure Golf—clean, simple, and attractive. The base model lacks advanced safety features, although they’re available on higher trim levels. And every Alltrack comes with an unusually long warranty.
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Model years: 2015–2019
Vehicle layout: Compact wagon, 1.8-liter inline 4 (170 hp), 6-speed manual, AWD
MSRP, base model: $26,900 (base), $36,000 (well equipped)
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 21/30/24
Crash-test ratings: NHTSA overall: 5 stars. IIHS: good (driver front, side, roof), acceptable (passenger small overlap front)
Spare tire: Compact temporary
Final assembly: Mexico
Basic warranty: 6 years/72,000 miles