Alltrack Back from a Month of Repairs

Oof! Alltrack repair invoice $12,570

It took one month exactly from dropoff to pickup. The bill was an eye-watering $12,570! Of course, I didn’t have to pay a dime of that because the motorist who hit my Alltrack was insured, and her insurance company covered it.

The final invoice detail document runs six pages. See my previous post that shows my Alltrack’s damage from the collision. Keep in mind this was a low-speed parking lot hit, not a traffic hit. It doesn’t take much to crank the repair bill up over ten grand(!).

I wish they’d have totaled it out, honestly. I’d have gotten a check for around $15k and gone straight to Emich VW where I got this Alltrack and bought a 2019 Alltrack, which they (might) still have on the lot.

I’d have gotten a manual transmission again, no question. Ideally, it would have been a white over (again) Marrakesh brown interior.

Brian at Hampden Auto Body was my rep, and he was good. If you’re in Denver, I recommend them. They’re at 2801 W. Hampden Avenue, Englewood, CO 80110 (303) 761-0677.

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My Alltrack Smashed In Parking Lot — $10k Damage

Alltrack collision

A young driver backed out of a spot way too fast, and without looking.

I was driving past and didn’t have time to do anything except yell “WHOA!”, which didn’t work. The driver started her Indy 500 backup when the nose of my Alltrack was even with her Kia.

If it had been sooner, I could have braked to avoid it. If I’d been moving faster, I might have been able to accelerate out of it.

On the upside, she didn’t run, and had insurance.

I took my Alltrack to the finest collision repair place in Denver, according to many car enthusiasts I spoke to. That was on Monday, five days ago.

No word yet.

The other driver’s insurance company, Nationwide, sent me a $5900 check after I sent them photos, but I’m not touching that. Hampden Auto Body estimated $8-10k, maybe more.

I’m hoping they’ll total it — a $12-15k bar — so that I can get a 2019 Alltrack of which several are still on dealer lots. My friend’s girlfriend bought a 2019 SE automatic four weeks ago, brand new. Good discount too.

Alltrack MPG Report 90% Highway

Alltrack MPG
  • 34 MPG over 50 miles
  • 60 MPH average speed
  • 90% highway
  • 95 MPH = 3000 RPM in 6th gear
  • 65 MPH = 2000 RPM in 6th gear
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Denver to Castle Rock

I took my 2017 Alltrack 6-speed Denver to Castle Rock this morning. Round trip was 50 miles in 50 minutes, for an average speed of 60 MPH.

For note: 95 MPH = 3000 RPM in 6th gear. 65 MPH = 2000 RPM in 6th gear. This drivetrain was made for highway cruising. If the seats were more comfortable, it would be a long distance Gift from Heaven.

See our many other Alltrack Fuel Economy reports.

Death of the VW Alltrack – Why?

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Last summer, Volkswagen announced that they would no longer offer the only two wagon-style vehicles that are still manufactured in the United States. Both the VW Golf SportWagen and the VW Alltrack were selected as models that the German car manufacturer would cease producing after 2019

But why?

Recently, many small vehicles from a bevy of manufacturers have found their way to the discontinued side of the market. For instance, models like the Ford Focus and the Chevrolet Cruze are no longer being manufactured. So, why are so many small car models failing instead of catching on?

Wagons and Smaller Cars

In the case of both wagons and smaller cars, it seems that the SUV and crossover market is booming in the United States. Americans are not buying wagons or smaller cars as much as they did, and are instead opting for SUVs and crossovers. The number of purchases for both SUVs and crossovers is on the rise across the country.

Much of what is happening with the car market nowadays has to do with supply and demand. What drives the market is whatever types of vehicles the consumers want to purchase at any given time. Wagons no longer are a standard trend for American car owners, although they were once upon a time.

Nowadays, SUVs and crossovers are what’s in style. So, because people were no longer buying wagons since they preferred SUVs, it seems the attraction to both the VW SportWagen and the VW Alltrack died out years ago with the wagon trend

The SUV Trend

Volkswagen made changes to its lineup years ago to become well positioned for the SUV trend. VW debuted its first three-row SUV, the VW Atlas, as a 2018 model. Following that, VW spruced up its Tiguan crossover. These two models are trendy and sell like hotcakes.

As recently as two decades ago, we’d routinely see station wagons and minivans used as the typical family car. However, that was long before the inception of the SUV, and the introduction of the crossover. Once SUVs and crossovers hit the market, they became the staple cars for families. Both wagons and minivans are now dying automotive breeds. 

Most car manufacturers, including Volkswagen, seem to have an ever-increasing list of SUV and crossover models because technology and marketing are allowing for ever more models. 

Wagon sales were 0.6% of vehicle sales in 2018, a decrease from 0.9% in 2014.

Wagons are not selling, mainly because people prefer SUVs, so that’s the primary reason why the VW Alltrack was discontinued

When wagons first appeared on the American car market, they originally were all the rage. People loved them because they were roomy, and they responded well. Although they were spacious cars, they were easy to drive. But SUVs and crossovers nowadays handle much better than wagons of the 60s, 70s and 80s, and are much more stylish. The demand for style and a car that handles well are now being met by SUVs and crossovers. 

Day Run up to Copper 2

Alltrack day trip MPG report

Like my Alltrack day run four weeks ago, no problems. Everything worked, nothing broke, failed, triggered a warning light or displayed flaky behavior.

Tires are 7-month-old Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06, and because they’re the only thing that holds the car to Earth, they’re the most important elective item on your car. They’re good in snow, but would never be mistaken for actual snow tires. They’re all seasons.

Round trip was 155 miles, average speed an excruciating 27 MPH. Fuel economy on the way up was 29.8 MPG, and on the way down was around 32 MPG… I failed to check this when we got home.

Out leg was 1:45, return leg was 2:50, again featuring the mind-numbing hourlong climb up from Dillon/Silverthorne to the Eisenhower Tunnel that kills elapsed time and fuel economy.

Note: for this and my prior Copper Mountain day trip report, my JB4 was not installed. I took it off a few months ago for a trip to the dealer for maintenance and have been evaluating the car’s character without it. It’s been on my Alltrack for the majority of my ownership, otherwise.

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Copper Mountain Village

Day Run up to Copper Mountain

Alltrack at Copper Mountain, Colorado

26.5 MPG on the way up, which is good because it’s a climb from 5280 ft to 12,313 ft. I’ll have the overall MPG later this morning. My 2017 Alltrack got 32 MPG round trip. No traffic (6am) going up, bad traffic on the return leg.

Car ran fine, nothing to report. The heated seats work wonders in 7° F (-14C) cold.

On the way home there was traffic, of course, and I’m proud to announce the world’s only MPG report for a 2017 Alltrack 5-degree uphill idling creep in 1st gear (manual transmission) yields a constant MPG of 11.

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Alltrack Life: 2.5 Years In, These Are My Ownership Take-Aways

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The door stops are weak.

Bug level: high

They don’t hold the doors unless you’re on a level surface. This bothers me because it’s very annoying. My mom’s 2017 Subaru doesn’t have this problem. Why should my Alltrack?

The radio volume steps on the steering wheel button are perfect.

Praise level: high

Any greater stepping (larger “dots” on a continuum) would leave me wanting a little more or a little less. Any less stepping (smaller “dots” on a continuum) would cause unneeded button tapping. This? This is perfect.

The clutch travel is too long.

Bug level: high

It didn’t need this much travel, nor does it need an initial inch of dead travel at the top. It’s work that doesn’t need to happen… to simply use the clutch every day. Too much in and out, heh. It took me too long to get used to it because of this. I didn’t put my finger on it until recently.

The brakes are awesome.

Praise level: high

The brakes are damn strong. The pedal feel is just right. I haven’t tracked my Alltrack, so I can’t comment on brake fade after repeated stops. I’m still on the original brake pads and rotors on all four corners after 29k miles.

The AWD system I like.

Praise level: medium.

The AWD system is trouble-free and works well. My ownership has only seen me test the Alltrack’s AWD in wet and snow, no mud, sand or four-wheeling.

The handling is about the best one can expect from an economy wagon.

Praise level: medium

It corners mostly flat, the brakes stop the car damn well, it doesn’t freak out on rough/uneven pavement, and it’s a joy to drive.

Controls are well placed.

Praise level: medium

The turn signal stalk is right where it should be. The steering wheel is a nice size and positions well. The radio controls are not all relegated to the touchscreen (there’s a volume/on/off knob!). Many of the features of the radio and driving data and information are available on the steering wheel buttons.

The seats are meh.

Bug level: high

I’ve never liked them. I’ve talked about that here a few times. Yes, I should have sprung for the fancier SEL trim with the power seats. No, my budget didn’t allow the ~$7k additional.

It’s a good but not great roadtrip car. It gets decent highway MPG, and so-so city MPG.

2017 Alltrack Trim Levels, MSRP

Alltrack S MSRP $25,850

  • 6.5-inch touchscreen
  • Rearview camera
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • 17-inch aluminum-alloy Valley wheels
  • Silver roof rails

Alltrack SE MSRP $30,530

  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Push-button start
  • Keyless access
  • Automatic headlight activation

Alltrack SEL MSRP $32,890

  • 18-inch Canyon wheels
  • 12-way power driver’s seat
  • Automatic dual-zone climate control
  • Discover Media navigation unit

Alltrack RIP, We Hardly Knew You

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Yes, the rumors are true. The Golf Alltrack is done after the 2019 model year.

Volkswagen of America announced today that the critically-acclaimed Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and Golf SportWagen will end production with the 2019 model year. Volkswagen will continue building the Alltrack at the Puebla, Mexico plant through December 2019 to provide enthusiasts additional opportunity to own an affordable, European-designed wagon.

Also leaving us is the Alltrack’s sister, the Golf Sportwagen.

That leaves the world with just three years of production, model years 2017, 2018 and 2019.

So… Why?

Short answer: SUVs. VW says SUVs accounted for more than half of its total sales in the first half of 2019. Road & Track puts it in perspective:

Last month, Volkswagen sold 1314 wagons, accounting for a little over a third of total Golf sales (the automaker doesn’t break down Sportwagen vs. Alltrack numbers). That number pales in comparison to the 9378 Tiguans the brand sold in the same time period.