This marks the third year on the market for the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. Despite being a recent addition to the brand's lineup, this compact wagon/crossover enjoys updates for the second straight year.
Like last year, the Alltrack is still available in range-topping Execline trim, but for 2019 gains a more affordable Highline package that builds on the Golf Sportwagen Highline model.
While there are a lot of similarities between the Sportwagen and Alltrack, the Alltrack boasts a 15-mm taller suspension and a 1.8L turbo four-cylinder engine (170 hp/199 lb-ft of torque) that replaces the Sportwagen's 1.4L. Volkswagen bucks industry trends by offering both Alltrack trims with a six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a six-speed automatic.
While the Alltrack is technically a station wagon, its AWD and tall suspension allow it compete for the attentions of shoppers in the subcompact and compact crossover/SUV category. You might cross-shop the Alltrack against uplevel versions of cars like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Kona. However, the VW is a more spacious car that can also cross the line to go up against the larger models the Tiguan was conceived to compete with, like the CR-V, CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.
We wish Volkswagen hadn't pulled the wool over so many drivers' eyes by cheating emissions standards with its TDI four-cylinder diesel engine; that motor's big torque and thrifty fuel economy would have made this excellent car even more compelling. Still, we'd happily live with the Alltrack's 1.8L gasser, which feels more powerful than its specs suggest and returns good highway economy even if city consumption is average for a car of this size.
Alltrack Highline standard kit includes an 8.0-inch infotainment display, six-speaker stereo, 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, body-coloured bumpers with black trim, panoramic sunroof, simulated carbon fibre interior trim, two-way power front seat adjustments, dual-zone automatic climate control, power windows, leatherette upholstery and heated front seats.
Highline cars can be optioned with a basic driver assistance package that adds adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection and frontal collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection.
Execline trim adds a nine-speaker Fender sound system, navigation, 18-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights and eight-way power driver's seat adjustments.
Here, VW offers a more comprehensive driver assistance package that adds rear traffic alert, lane assist, automatic high beams and park assist with proximity sensors.
Volkswagen's fuel consumption estimates are 10.7/8.0 L/100 km (city/highway) with the automatic transmission and 11.1/7.8 with the stickshift.