2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Episode 3717
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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The touch screen interface doesn’t cut the edge as much as it once did, and the whole dash theme looks a bit outdated.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. 

Specifications

  • 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
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles