2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
Volkswagen has a host of big and even bigger crossovers hitting the market. But if you really don’t want to go “big”, and think that a compact all-wheel-driver would fill your needs; than may we suggest setting your sights on the Golf Alltrack. A 5-door wagon that is a true all-weather, all-road runabout.
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack follows a simple formula used by Subaru, Volvo, and even AMC’s Eagle if you want to go way back. Take a station wagon, jack up the suspension, make some form of 4x4 system standard, add a touch of exterior ruggedness, and voila; a fun little all-wheel-drive 5 -door that’s as easy to drive as it is capable. That’s the VW Golf Alltrack.
Like the Golf SportWagen that it’s based on, output from its 1.8-liter turbo I4 engine is modest, at 170-horsepower. But its 199 lb-ft. of torque helps it feel much peppier.
In the spirit of VW, a 6-speed manual transmission is standard; the option being a DSG automatic, also with 6-gears.
Things we’ve always praised about the Golf, including its super-solid feel, very little noise intrusion, and fun disposition, are all still here. Add in that you now sense you really can go just about anywhere in the Alltrack, and you’ve got a real winner.
We still think VW’s pop-out badge hatch release is brilliant, and were further impressed once we opened it up to find a very deep, unobstructed cargo space. There’s 30.4 cubic-ft. for filling up with stuff; 66.5 if you fold the seatbacks down. That’s just short of most compact crossovers; and much more than the typical subcompact utility.
As for the driver’s space, there are some special touches to help it feel a step above the SportWagen; including nicer materials and updated trim. It’s not SUV roomy, but there is adequate space to get comfortable up front, as well as more than expected room in back.
The touch screen interface doesn’t cut the edge as much as it once did, and the whole dash theme looks a bit outdated. For 2018, Alltracks gain an upgraded screen with more features.
VW still leaves plenty of manual controls however, and they all work very well.
More personality has been added outside. Now, we’d stop short of calling Alltrack truly rugged looking, but we very much like the brighter cladding over the usual black, as it helps it to look more outgoing, perhaps even classy; think remote country club, more so than back country. Ground clearance is up only 1.4-inches over the SportWagen, at 6.9.
And that does take away from the typical Golf handling experience somewhat. Body roll is not that much more pronounced, but we did experience a lightness to the rear that gave us pause at first. Until we realized that we were really flying through here.
So there’s no arguing, it remains highly capable; it just doesn’t have that nailed down feel we’re used to; perhaps we still had thoughts of GTI in our heads when we took to the slalom course.
While the engine is willing, there’s some hesitation at launch; as the car seems to be questioning your motives when you go full throttle. Once we got it rolling, we managed to hit 60 in a fine 7.4-seconds.
That same tardy feel exists in the transmission as well, really stretching out shifts. 15.8 was our best ¼-mile time, at 88 miles-per-hour.
We’d consider a 122-foot average stopping distance from 60 a touch long these days, but we did find the Alltrack to be very stable, and the brake pedal had a nice firm feel.
As for when the going gets rough, an off road setting has been added to the drive modes. It modulates traction-control and hill decent control to match rougher terrain. Together with the already capable 4Motion all-wheel drive system, you do feel kinda unstoppable.
On that note, active safety including automatic emergency braking is available.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an automatic Alltrack are 22-City, 32-Highway, and 26-Combined. For a slightly better than average Energy Impact Score of 12.7-barrels of annual oil consumption, and 5.7-tons of CO2 emitted.
With base pricing of $26,670, Alltrack is not overpriced by any means; but it is about $4,000 over a base Subaru Crosstrek, and about $2,000 over a 4Motion SportWagon.
We’ve been waiting for quite a while now, for a true Subaru-fighter to emerge; and while this 2017 Volkswagen Alltrack certainly qualifies, and there’s a lot to like about it; many will find it hard to justify the step-up in price. Still, no Subaru delivers driver satisfaction like a Volkswagen. So, just like the rest of the compact Golf lineup, VW has done almost everything just right, setting on the right track for Alltrack.
- Engine: 1.8 liter
- Horsepower: 170
- Torque: 199 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 7.4 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 15.8 seconds @ 88 mph
- EPA: 22 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 5.7 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined