– Detroit, Michigan

Station wagons are an unconventional choice in the U.S., with crossovers and SUVs instead luring car shoppers want a roomy, practical vehicle. But Subaru has shown that if you make small concessions to the SUV crowd – standard all-wheel drive and a raised suspension – you can sell wagons like the Crosstrek and Outback to Americans. Volkswagen wants a piece of that sales pie.

The formula for the Golf Alltrack is pretty simple: take the already excellent Sportwagen, lift its suspension by 0.6 inch, fit all-wheel drive, and bold on some black plastic cladding for that rough-and-tumble look. There’s also an off-road mode that optimizes the powertrain and traction control for scrabbling through mud or snow. Most of all, though, what the Alltrack delivers is practicality and roominess in spades, without a big fuel or purchase-price bill. Find out how it stacks up against other crossovers as we put the Alltrack through our Why Buy? treatment.

This isn’t the last time you’ll hear about this car, by the way. It’s Motor1’s first long-term car, and over the next year we’ll be updating you regularly on what it’s like to live with the Alltrack day-in, day-out, through all four seasons. Check in with our latest updates in our long-term logbook here.

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Engine Turbocharged 1.8-Liter I4
Output 170 Horsepower / 199 Pound-Feet
Transmission 6-Speed DCT
Efficiency 22 City / 30 Highway / 25 Combined
As-Tested Price $31,350
Got a tip for us? Email: tips@motor1.com