The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack builds on the excellence of the little Golf compact hatchback by extending it into a station wagon and adding all-wheel drive as standard. For the price point, the Alltrack offers a lot more than might be found in a competing crossover option.

Quick Specs & Info

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Class: Compact station wagon
Base Model As Tested: SEL
Powertrain 1.8L t4, 6spd manual Powertrain 1.8L t4, 6spd auto
Base MSRP $25,995 MSRP as tested $36,805

Overview

For the Alltrack, Volkswagen too the 2018 Golf and added a foot of length to it, extending the rear into a station wagon-style hatchback. This upped cargo space to 66.5 cubic feet in total, putting the 2018 Alltrack on par with most crossovers in the compact class.

Compared to most crossovers on the market, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack has a sleeker appearance and more road-ready appeal. The Alltrack offers everything that the Golf and the Golf Sportwagen do, but with more.

Similar to the Sportwagen, the Alltrack’s greatest upgrade from that other wagon-styled offering from VW is its AWD. It can go off the road when required, thanks to its full-time all-wheel drive as standard, but gives a lot of confidence to those looking for the stability AWD offers on the road. Especially when the weather turns sour.

For 2018, VW added a lot more standard equipment as well, upgrading the Alltrack with several safety option throughout the trim level lineup.

Trim Packages

The 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is a four-door station wagon that comes in three trim levels, the S, the SE, and the SEL. A few upgrade options are available in each trim. All Golf Alltrack models come with the same 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive.

  • S – The S trim includes a six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, LED running lights, heated side mirrors, roof rails, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, split-fold rear seating, and a few other items. These include a rearview camera, 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), VW’s Car-Net communications, and more. Options include an upgrade to the dual-clutch automatic transmission (six-speed “DSG”).
  • SE – The SE trim builds on the S by adding automatic wipers, heated windshield washer nozzles, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry/ignition, an 8-inch infotainment display, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, and a 115-volt outlet in the rear cargo. As with the S, the DSG transmission is an optional upgrade. Also optional are blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
  • SEL – This includes all of the features of the SE model and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, the DSG transmission as standard, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate, navigation, and premium Fender audio. Also added are adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights (bend towards a turn), automatic high beams, lane departure warning, and a semi-automated parking system. Optional is blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Exterior and Interior Design

The 2018 Golf Alltrack has a strong, well-done design. It’s very similar to the Sportwagen upon which it’s based, but has a few changes to denote its more versatile readiness. The Alltrack sits a bit higher off the ground with more wheel well clearance above the tires, making sure onlookers know it’s an all-wheel drive machine. Standard roof rails and more prominent lower protection elements enhance that motif further.

Inside, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack has a large, open cabin with plenty of glass to see outside. The layout and ambiance are simple, aiming towards VW’s usual penchant for function making form. Things are user friendly inside the Alltrack, though the rear seat can be a bit cramped for taller folks, especially in headroom.

Volkswagen did a good job of making the Alltrack accessible, though, with wide doors, low sills, and a great driver’s position. Storage is at a premium, however, with few places for items to be stashed inside the Alltrack. Cargo space is, however, excellent in the Golf Alltrack, with 30.4 cubic feet available behind the second row and 66.5 when that row is folded (60/40 split-fold as standard).

Driving the 2018 VW Golf Alltrack

The Golf Alltrack has a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that outputs 170 horsepower in a fairly low power band. The Alltrack is heavier than the Sportwagen or the regular Golf using that same engine, however, so it’s a bit more sluggish. Still, a 0-60 mph sprint in 7 seconds is realistic in the Alltrack and not too shabby compared to many similar-sized crossover options.

We like the way the Alltrack handles itself, giving confidence to the drive in most driving conditions. Its braking is responsive, but not over-strong, and its acceleration and handling are very good. The slightly lower center of gravity compared to a compact crossover gives the Alltrack a better feeling of stability around corners as well.

Competition

There’s no lack for competition in the Alltrack’s field, of course. The 2018 Alltrack can be compared to its front-wheel drive sibling, the Sportwagen, with the Sportwagen having a lower price point and slightly better drive dynamics. The Subaru Outback is another option against the Alltrack, having a more upscale interior and larger size overall, but coming with a larger price tag to match. For more premium buyers, the very well done Buick Regal TourX is a very good-looking, well-done option too. Luxury buyers can go to VW’s Audi arm for the A4. There are also a myriad of compact crossover options offered on today’s market.

Strong Points

  • Solid, unassuming look to its exterior
  • Roomy, well-done interior with few downsides
  • Good powerplant and all-wheel drive

Weaknesses

  • Headroom in rear seat can be cramped
  • Lower fuel economy compared to many compacts
  • Hesitant automatic transmission at some highway speeds

Conclusions

All told, the 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is a wonderfully-made little wagon with AWD goodness and lots going for it. This is a solid choice for buyers in the segment who’d prefer a wagon over a crossover.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The 2018 Golf Alltrack was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, a total of about 220 miles were put on the car in varied conditions, including multiple passenger loads, various cargo configurations, etc.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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