Volkswagen Looks To Make Amends With The Golf Alltrack
Although it predates the #dieselgate fiasco, you'd be forgiven for thinking the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is the brand's mea culpa to U.S. buyers. An all-wheel-drive wagon with lift kit, that'll eventually be available with a manual transmission? That's like catnip on wheels to VW's core audience, or at least that's what VW is hoping. With consumer confidence hitting embarrassingly low levels, and a deeply tarnished brand reputation, the Alltrack is an important proposition for Volkswagen, so expect them to push it, and push it hard. With the Subaru Outback dominating the segment, the Golf Alltrack will have its work cut out for it. In addition to the Outback, it'll be competing internally with the Golf SportWagen, which has done OK, considering the bulk of its sales were expected to be diesel models. Speaking of which, the Alltrack was originally announced with a dino-bone burning option, and that has been shelved for the time being, along with all other V.A.G. diesels. RELATED: See Photos of the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
Instead, the lone engine will be the same 1.8-liter turbocharged four cylinder found in the SportWagen, and a smattering of other VW models. The little four makes a respectable 170 horsepower and 199 lb-ft torque, just as it does in all its other applications. Though, the off-the-line shove should feel more substantial with the 4Motion all-wheel drive system routing up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels.
Adding to the fun will be the aforementioned manual transmission, which will be available at some point shortly after the vehicle launches this fall. It is with three pedals and the option to row your own gears that the Alltrack may be most compelling, and that's important in a crowded market.
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An extra inch of ground clearance, and an Off-Road mode that activates hill descent control and makes adjustments to the traction control are nice bits for press releases, but it is the availability of a manual transmission that will be the X factor for the Alltrack. The Audi Allroad isn't available with a manual, neither is the Subaru Outback, or Volvo V60 Cross Country. Volkswagen stands to capitalize on these other brands abandoning the enthusiast market, and all they have to do is not duff the tee shot.
Though pricing has yet to be announced, you can be sure it'll be competitive with the Outback, possibly even positioned to slightly undercut it. In this segment, a few hundred dollars can be the difference between making and losing a sale. Lots of questions remain, but the big one is will the Alltrack be enough to lure the faithful away from the house of Fuji Heavy Industries, and restore faith in a brand once known for their loyal customers?
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