Alltrack Highway Manners, MPG, Crosswind Behavior – Alltrack Road Trip!

I’ve done about 350 miles on my Alltrack road trip, Denver to Santa Fe. Plus a few more dozens driving hither and yon to campgrounds, food trucks, and cafes.

Average speed is 66 mph, top speed was around 90 mph, and fuel economy is ranging from 38 mpg to 28 mpg, the lower number because of sometimes significant headwinds, perhaps reaching 30 mph. That’s my estimate based on getting out for a few rest stops and giving it my best guess. They were strong, pushing me as I stood.

My Alltrack is performing well. I can’t believe how good Apple Carplay is. Its maps aren’t as good as Google Maps with the odd destination request, like campgrounds. The routing for instance insisted I drive around the Santa Fe National Forest to get to the Black Canyon Campground, which was incorrect and circuitous.

Otherwise, CarPlay and its Apple Maps are great co-pilots. I don’t know how I did roadtrips before.

I use an app called Libby to listen to audio books (The Sea-Wolf currently), and of course it isn’t given an icon on the CarPlay desktop, but it is available under a generic catch-all icon called Now Playing. I can start, stop, FF and rewind with the steering wheel controls. Pretty cool.

Now, complaints

  1. seats — I’m just not happy with the base seats… they’re not as comfortable as those in my 20-year-old Volvo 850 that I traded in on the Alltrack
  2. slight crosswind drifting/buffeting

Alltrack Roadtrip Capability Summary

If the seat uncomfortability thing was solved (I’ll post at length about this coming up soon – OEM seat alternatives), the Alltrack would be a nice inexpensive highway cruiser. Maybe the nicest out there. As it is, if you want long legs capability, go up trim levels to the Alltrack SEL.

Going up to the SEL is a big dollar jump, and it wipes out much of the Alltrack’s fantastic value. It’s the classic car value proposition: buy the top trim of Car A, or the bottom trim of Car B, which in this case would be a base Audi A3 ($31,200 MSRP) or base BMW X1 ($33,750 MSRP), for example.

Golf Alltrack base, AKA “S” (from $26,950 MSRP)

  • Rearview camera
  • V-Tex leatherette seats
  • Touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
  • Heated front seats
  • 17-inch Valley wheels
  • Off-Road Mode

Golf Alltrack SE (from $30,530 MSRP)

  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Fender Premium Audio System
  • Keyless access with push-button start
  • Automatic headlight activation

Golf Alltrack SEL (from $32,890 MSRP)

  • 18-inch Canyon wheels
  • Discover Media touchscreen navigation
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Comfort sport seats/power-adjustable driver’s seat

Alltrack Value

I got my base Alltrack for $24,400, and considering its MSRP of $26,950, it’s a very, very good car. If the seats were great it would be the best deal in cars, ever.

Lifetime MPG Improves to 22.9 MPG – Golf Alltrack

… and by lifetime, I mean three weeks and 623 miles. After the first week of exploring the Alltrack’s power, I’ve moved to the Gentle Zone of Fuel Economy Zen, where I short shift to keep the RPMs down.

Dictating Notes via CarPlay Works

For the fun of it — not expecting much in terms of success  — I used CarPlay to create a note. Like most others out there, I think of things while I’m driving.

I didn’t know any keywords or how to go about it. I just said “Create new note” and Siri responded by asking what I want the note to say, and we went from there.

Notes land in the iCloud section
Notes land in the iCloud section. As good a place as any… maybe better, because right off they’re available not only on my phone, but on my Mac laptop and iPad also. Plus, they’re backed up more reliably than my home backup system allows.

Not only did it work straight up, I found the notes pretty much where I’d expect them — in my iPhone 7’s Note app. Very cool.

After not having any trouble with the voice command “Create new note” and dictating my thought, I did another. This makes driving “productive” in that I can dictate thoughts as they come to me and save them in a format (Notes app) that makes it easy to share and edit. I’m happy.

For what it’s worth, I’ve found iOS to be near 100% at transcribing my voice. I can’t remember the last time I had to repeat something.

Don’t Lose Those Two Keyfobs You Get

The first note I made was because of a bit of a revelation. There are no keyholes on the Alltrack doors. There is nowhere to insert a key on the outside of the car. There’s the ignition, and that’s it.

If the keyfob doesn’t unlock the doors, you’re not getting in your Alltrack. Well, you’re not getting in that moment… there’s always Car-Net. See my Car-Net posts.  With Car-Net, you can (supposedly — haven’t tried) unlock your VW from the Car-Net app, or call them and they’ll do it remotely.

Infotainment/Carplay Sometimes Forgets What It’s Doing

The second note I made while driving was that the infotainment system sometimes has glitches. For instance today I did the usual CarPlay directions command (hold down the driver talk button on the steering wheel) to get the best route to my destination. Siri read back my command which was correct, then the system glitched and the Sirius XM station resumed playing. No route, no error message, no explanation.

Press the talking head button on the steering wheel
Press the talking head button on the steering wheel to trigger all this stuff. It’s how you begin any CarPlay interaction.