£32,525 Price range
Volkswagen’s had quite a big spin-off splurge with the Golf range as of late. Whereas once you had just the vanilla version and a couple of performance models, you now have access to a whole variety of estate, hatchback and convertible body styles to choose from.
Joining the fray now, though, is this: the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, a more off-road-biased version of the already very capable and likeable Volkswagen Golf Estate.
Being so heavily based on the regular estate, there’s a lot to like about the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack: the interior is still top-notch, there’s acres of space in the boot and the ride/handling balance is very well judged. Having all-wheel-drive also gives it a decent amount of off-road ability, as well as the added sense of security should weather conditions deteriorate considerably.
The only major qualm with the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, though, is that its main rivals – the SEAT Leon X-Perience and Skoda Octavia Scout – all offer an incredibly similar package whilst being a fair bit cheaper. But can the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack offer enough perks to offset that price premium?
The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s interior is lifted straight from the top-spec Volkswagen Golf Estate, so there are very few issues with the car’s cabin. Overall build quality to be exemplary for the class standard, and the main controls are (being unchanged from the regular Golf Estate) easy to use and laid out intuitively.
Having the high-end trim fixtures also gives the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s interior quite a classy feel, with the gloss-black material and metal accents on the centre console boosting the premium ambience. A slight disappointment is that there aren’t any noteworthy differences between the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s cabin and the regular Volkswagen Golf Estate’s.
Facelifted models get an eight-inch infotainment screen, and the optional Discovery Pro system’s 9.2-inch display now features clearer graphics and gesture controls, so you can operate it without having to touch the screen.
Volkswagen Golf Alltrack passenger space
On top of keeping the interior layout the same, having the basic cabin architecture copied-and-pasted from the Estate into the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack means there’s plenty of space for passengers. The driver and the passengers in the front get good amounts of leg and headroom at their disposal, and it’s possible to fit three adults abreast in the rear row without them feeling too hemmed in.
The seats themselves were also deemed to be very comfortable and supportive in reviews of the regular Volkswagen Golf Estate, so it’s assumed the same will apply for the cloth and (optional) leather-upholstered ones in the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.
Volkswagen Golf Alltrack boot space
As is the case in the Volkswagen Golf Estate, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s boot is one of the car’s biggest selling points. With 605 and 1,620 litres to play with when the rear seat backs are folded up and down respectively, not only is it one of the largest load bays you’ll find at this price point, but also on par with cars from the class above – even the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack can only just beat the Golf for outright capacity.
The boot shape is quite boxy overall, and there’s not much of a boot lip to contend with, so sliding long or heavier items into the back shouldn’t be too difficult either. If there is one thing to criticise, though, it’s that the rear seat backs don’t quite fold down completely flat.
Though the extra cross-terrain features do seem quite comprehensive on paper, they don’t when brought together turn the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack into the ultimate green-laning estate. However, the extra under-floor protection, all-wheel-drive system and raised ride height do go some way to giving the car a decent amount of off-roading capability – even on standard road tyres.
Having more play in the suspension also means the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is marginally more comfortable (especially on bumpier roads) than the Volkswagen Golf Estate on which it’s so heavily based, though the trade-off is that there’s a bit more body roll in corners as well. Thankfully, the steering is still precise and light (though one tester reckons it gets overly heavy when set to ‘Sport’ mode), and there’s good overall grip.
Refinement levels are also pretty good, with road, wind and tyre noise being decently suppressed at speed. The only downside, it seems, is that the engines do get a bit loud when worked hard, which does spoil the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s otherwise impressive credentials as a motorway mile muncher.
Unlike many other Volkswagen Golf variants, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack doesn’t come with any petrol engine options – if you really want an all-terrain Golf Estate, you’re gonna have to stay put with the diesels.
If running costs are a primary concern for you, then the 1.6-litre will probably be the better choice – with 58mpg fuel consumption claimed, it’s the cheapest and most efficient option in the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack range. However, we’re more inclined to recommend the 160hp 2-litre diesel, given it’s got more power whilst also being almost as frugal (57mpg). Admittedly, though, it is more expensive.
There’s also the 184hp diesel (essentially the same engine used in the Golf GTD models), which unsurprisingly is the most expensive option and has the best performance stats (0-62mph in 7.8 seconds, 136mpg top speed) – though the claimed 56mpg fuel economy is shockingly close to what the 1.6 diesel can muster.
Sadly, you can’t specify a manual gearbox with the 184hp engine – only a six-speed ‘DSG’ automatic is available. In contrast, those who opt for one of the two other engines will have to make do with a six-speed manual.
Volkswagen’s regular Golf models are all lavished with plenty of safety equipment, so it’s no surprise that it’s business as usual for the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. As with the top-spec Golf hatchback, estate and convertible models, all Golf Alltracks are fitted with a full complement of airbags, ISOFIX mounting points on the two outer rear seats, adaptive cruise control and tyre pressure and brake pad wear alert systems.
The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack also comes with a plethora of systems that reduce the risk of a serious accident, ranging from automatic brake force distribution that lowers the likelihood of the wheels locking up under sudden braking, to front seat belts that automatically tense up should an imminent forward collision be detected.
In fact, the only disappointment with the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack regarding safety equipment is that rear side airbags don’t come as standard – fitting them to the car adds £275 to an (as we’ll come onto in a moment) to an already expensive car.
Being the in-all-but-name flagship in the Volkswagen Golf Estate family, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack appropriately comes with the heftiest price tag. With the range starting at £26,790, the Alltrack is nearly £2,000 more expensive than the Volkswagen Golf Estate in top-tier ‘GT’ trim (the equivalent spec for the Alltrack).
In isolation, that seems fair enough, given the added benefits the Alltrack’s standard-fit all-wheel-drive system has over the front-wheel-drive-only Golf Estate. That high spec level also means plenty of equipment comes as standard, which does help offset the steeper asking price.
What does do the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack harm is that similarly-specified rivals are considerably cheaper to buy, without sacrificing much in return: the SEAT Leon X-Perience and Skoda Octavia Scout (both sitting on the same platform that underpins the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, coincidentally) retail for roughly the same amount as the aforementioned top-spec Volkswagen Golf Estate, whilst matching the Alltrack’s equipment levels and – in the Octavia Scout’s case – beating it on outright boot space.
The only real ace cards up the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s sleeve are the marginally superior predicted residual values and the fact it comes with an engine option (the 108hp 1.6-litre) that isn’t available in the SEAT Leon X-Perience or Skoda Octavia Scout ranges. However, whilst it does boast the best fuel consumption in the Golf Alltrack’s engine line-up (58mpg), it’s only marginally better on paper than what the most efficient Leon X-Perience and Octavia Scout models can achieve.
On its own, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack seems like an enticing proposition. After all, the Volkswagen Golf Estate is already a mighty package, and the mild cross-terrain ability does give the Alltrack added appeal.
What holds the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack back, however, is that these additions don’t give it enough of a USP against comparable cars: the Skoda Octavia Scout and SEAT Leon X-Perience all do most of what the Alltrack can do for a decent sum less, and – if you’ll never take it off-road – the standard Golf Estate is fine enough.
Unless you’re absolutely set on owning one, then, we’d hesitate to recommend the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack over its more affordable rivals.
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