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

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

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.

https://media.vw.com/releases/1180

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.

https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/a28421951/vw-golf-sportwagen-alltrack-dead/

Highway MPG Report – Golf Alltrack – Mountain Twisties

My Alltrack got 30.8 MPG at an average of 42 MPH on this tour of popular Colorado mountain towns. Everything off I-70 features 30-55 MPH state roads with some sections featuring lots of twisties. I-70 is a typical 65-70 MPH speed limit interstate. That’s the long east-west one in the map below.

  • Denver to Dillon
  • Dillon to Leadville
  • Leadville to Aspen
  • Aspen to Glenwood Springs
  • Glenwood Springs to Dillon
  • Dillon to Denver
Route

My 2017 Golf Alltrack S did really well at these very high altitudes. Power was down so little I didn’t notice any loss at all, even in Leadville, Elevation: 10,151 feet. Total distance was 399 miles with various non-highway meanderings.

Leadville has the highest elevation of any incorporated city in the United States.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadville,_Colorado
Highway 82 twisties
Highway 82 twisties, satellite map
MPG
Distance on 1 tank of gasoline

My new tires were a little squishy on turns, being all seasons made for snow and rain. Otherwise, the car handled about how I expected it to handle, which was better than 85% of other cars, but nowhere near sports-car or even sports sedan level.

AC worked great. Brakes never got hot, because with a manual transmission I did most of my braking via the engine. This is totally possible with an auto.

The Alltrack’s seats are not meant for spirited driving. I slid around like a puck on ice. They’re so-so for long-distance driving, being neither what I would call above average comfortable, nor offering many ways to adjust them. If you’re looking for long-distance Alltrack seats, look at the SEL models with their far-more-adjustible units.

Lake Dillon CO
Highway 82, Colorado
Glenwood Springs, CO

Alltrack Tire Replacement Size and Cost

Why Discount Tire?

Discount Tire meets any challenger’s advertised price, like Tire Rack, but in this case they didn’t have to. The two prices are a penny apart.

Why 225/50/17?

These Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 don’t come in the 17-inch Alltrack’s size, so I got a slightly wider size.

Original tire size:
205/55/17

These:
225/50/17

Alltrack’s tire size is a pretty rare size, so as this VW model comes in for its first round of tire replacement, there will be a little bit of Googling, hair-pulling and general head-scratching while owners look to source 205-55-17 tires.

I Just Ordered a Set of ExtremeContact DWS 06 for my Alltrack – Size 225/50/17

My 225-50-17 choice is an almost exact circumference match, so there is no gearing difference or speedometer/odometer difference. Also, the tires cause no rubbing on the fender liners.

Why Continental?

This is my third set of ExtremeContact DWS tires… so to say I love them is pretty obvious! The first two sets were on Volvos, which I’ve written about here. That car (Volvo V70 R) was, like our Alltracks, an AWD turbo wagon.

I ❤️ExtremeContact DWS

Alltrack MPG: Best City & Best Highway

2017 Golf Alltrack - MPG talk

Here’s my Alltrack fuel economy findings after two years and 20k miles in my 2017 Golf Alltrack:

City

Floor: 20 MPG, Ceiling: 30 MPG

Highway

Floor: 30 MPG, Ceiling: 45 MPG

The Truth About Cold Engines

There’s a city MPG caveat. Anyone can get 10 MPG city if you just drive a mile. That’s because there’s a hole you have to dig out of every time you start your car, and that hole is the warmup period. When the engine is cold, like when you start it, it’s just going to give you crap MPG. Every ICE (internal combustion engine) car is like this. Just please, don’t idle your car to warm it up. This pollutes more than if you just drive.

When the warmup is complete, usually after 1-3 miles or around 5 minutes, you’ll get decent fuel economy. My figures include warmup time, but exclude trips of less than 3 miles.

Driving Style Affects Fuel Economy

The reason I have floors and ceilings on my MPG numbers is because driving styles vary… in my case they vary wildly. Sometimes I drive fast (but safely). Sometimes I accelerate very slowly and try to preserve momentum to reduce the frequency of using the gas pedal.

How Fast Is It? Alltrack + JB4

Alltrack with rear hatch open

Now I’ve got a couple actual examples of how fast my Alltrack with a JB4 is: a little faster than a GTI.

Today marked the second stoplight duel between a Mk 7 GTI vs. me in my 2017 Alltrack with a JB4 set to max boost.

The GTI was at my back bumper halfway through 3rd gear. I didn’t gap him, but the victory was clear. His front bumper was at my back bumper. I wanted to chat at the next light and rolled down my window but he wasn’t interested :'(

If the GTI does 0-60 mph in 6.0 sec, then my Alltrack does 0-60 mph in 5.9.

Keep in mind Car & Driver test results are generally impossible to recreate in the real world. So take my 5.9 seconds with a grain of salt.

This marks the second time in recent weeks I’ve pulled against a late model VW GTI, and both have been in my favor.

But I Lost at Seating

The only place I lost was in the seats: as cool as my Marrakesh Brown interior is, it’s no VW plaid.

Alltrack World — New Domain, New Home

Hi VW folks, and happy New Year! If you went to MatthewsVWSite and are now here at AlltrackWorld, that’s on purpose. I bought the domain AlltrackWorld.com because this site over the last couple of years has been focused on the Golf Alltrack.

The focus on Alltracks is because I bought one in April 2017.

Why change? It’s not like you bought a Mercedes, Ford, i.e.: a different brand.

VW is just too large of a subject for one man to tackle these days. Too many models and too much news to cover. I want to do Alltrack news and ownership discussion well, not 20 models poorly.

So here we are. Thanks for reading!

Golf Alltrack — 45.3 MPG on a Short Freeway Trip

My Alltrack, now with 15k miles, has loosened up and gets even better economy than it did when new.

On a 32-mile route to Denver International Airport today I got 45.3 MPG. I measure it by selecting the Average MPG page in the Golf’s Multifunction Display, then pressing the OK button on the steering wheel after I’m on the freeway. It’s the best way to measure highway economy IMHO.

45.3 MPG Golf Alltrack
45.3 MPG Golf Alltrack

I drove at or above the speed limit, in 6th gear as much as possible, and not  at all aggressively. Voila,  45 MPG.