REVIEW: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack – The Wagon Makes a Comeback

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Station wagons were once the go-to choice for families, but they were usurped by minivans. Crossovers and SUVs came along to kick minivans to the curb and even sedans have suffered in the face of larger more versatile vehicles. Still, minivans remain popular with families and station wagons, though far different than how they looked years ago, have their own place in the automotive mix.

They don’t technically call the Golf Alltrack a station wagon. It’s simply a wagon, as if that removes the stigma of those giant station wagons of yore with wood paneling and rear-facing seats in the back. It was always the best place to sit, but you won’t find kids treating the back of any car like their own personal playground these days.

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What you will find in the Golf Alltrack are the benefits of a sedan combined with crossover-like versatility. Lose the high crossover profile and stretch out that rear and you have a modern station wagon.

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack features 4Motion, which is Volkswagen’s all-wheel drive system. There’s also a drive mode selector with an off-road setting and it’s not just for looks. This station wagon is ready to take you past where the road ends.

That’s not something that can be said of every crossover or SUV, much less a station wagon, but Volkswagen is serious about this car being for those with active lifestyles. Off-road mode optimizes traction control while hill descent control makes tackling steep inclines easy.

That doesn’t mean it’s a slouch on the open road. There are even paddle shifters so you can take full advantage of the 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It provides 170 horsepower with 199 lb-ft of torque that make this wagon fun to drive. It’s no sports sedan, but it’s still surprisingly peppy.

Our tester was the base model with a price of $27,770. It doesn’t feature the fanciest interior, but there were heated leatherette seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. It’s a nice compromise between feeling like a rental special and being luxurious.

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The Golf Alltrack handles more like a sedan than a crossover. This is the strength of today’s wagons. They provide a taste of crossover capability while still providing the comfort and handling of a sedan. The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is the just-right car in between sedans and crossovers with a sporty ride that makes it fun off-road or on.