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 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.

2017 Golf Alltrack — One Year in the Books

2017 Golf Alltrack

Part One

I still love her as much as Alltrack Ownership Day 1. She looks and performs as good as the day I took her home.

I had the 12-month scheduled service done at 10 months after the Service Due message appeared.  As it so happens, it looks like that service is actually a 10-month interval, and not based on driving style or cycles.

Every 10,000 miles: Engine oil (change), engine oil filter (change), brake pads (check brake pad thickness and brake discs), windshield washers, headlight cleaning system, service interval display (if applicable).

Every 20,000 miles: Engine oil (change), engine oil filter (change), battery (check), brakes (inspect brake system and shock absorbers), tires (check tread depth, condition, wear patterns, etc.), and much more.

Every 30,000 miles: Engine oil, engine oil filter, brake fluid (change), Haldex clutch (change oil), and so on…

Every 40,000 miles: Engine oil, engine oil filter, battery, dust and pollen filter (replace), brakes, spark plugs (replace), windshield washers, headlight cleaning system, transmission (change fluid), tires, body (visual inspection for corrosion), coolant level and frost protection (check), CV joints (check for leaks and damage), engine and compartment components, exhaust system (check for damage and leaks), headlights (check and adjust, if necessary), interior lighting and glove box lights, cigarette lighter, panoramic sunroof (check, clean, etc.), power steering (check fluid level), ribbed v-belt (check condition), test drive (check braking, steering, etc.), tie rod ends, and underbody sealant (check).

Alltrack Interior

The Marrakesh (brown) leatherette interior is still near-perfect with little or no signs of aging. The interior is durable and relatively handsome, for a sub-$30k car. I’m not crazy about the carbon fiber trim accent pieces, and they seem out of place in a car that has few sporting intentions, but they’re there and I’m not going to change them out.

The seats, which I’ve spent some time mentioning as my least favorite part of the Alltrack, continue to be my only substantive complaint. I’ve learned to live with them, and use a homemade thigh support pad I made out of hard foam.

Trips to the Dealer

Trips to the dealer amounted to just two. The first was for a smelly AC system, which was covered under warranty, and the second was the first scheduled maintenance. Both were quick and polite.

Golf Wagon vs. Volvo V60 – Which Has More Interior Volume?

V60 vs. Golf Alltrack interior volume

Golf SportWagen and Alltrack (sister cars) vs. Volvo V60… which has more interior space?

They’re the same. It’s a wash.

That by itself isn’t shocking. Far from it. You know what is? Here’s what’s shocking: one is more than twice as expensive as the other.

2017 Golf Alltrack MSRP: $27,770
2017 Volvo V60 MSRP: $62,595


Golf Climate Control – Cool Air Without AC?

In a word: yes. But only if the outside temperature is below 55°F.

It may sound strange, but this is a big thing for me. I want to maximize efficiency and as everybody knows, air conditioning is a hit to fuel economy.

So to avoid this I’d keep AC off but turn on the cool air — temperature dial on full cool and blower on 2 or 3. If it’s say 70°F outside and you need some cold air, this should work. Right?

Sadly, my Golf Alltrack’s climate control system simply doesn’t let cool, outside air into the cabin… there’s some degree (get it? heh) of heating that happens to ambient air. Continue reading “Golf Climate Control – Cool Air Without AC?”

Multifunction Display – Explanation and Use

2016 Volkswagen Golf cockpit

VW’s Multifunction Display (or “Driver Information Display“) is where you can see everything your VW has to tell you about its condition.

We aim to help you get an understanding of what Multifunction Display shows and how to navigate it.
This information applies to newer VW models, 2012-2018, including the fine new Golf Alltrack. (Shameless plug there because we have one!)

Multifunction Display top-level pages
Multifunction Display – top-level pages

Your VW Is Saying Something

Think of the Multifunction Display as a collection of messages about warnings (seldom) or information (always). It’s not where you adjust any settings, that’s for the Infotainment system, but rather where you can quickly see what’s going on in your VW.

You page through them using the controls on the steering wheel. See below:

Multifunction Display - how to use the steering wheel buttons to get to the page you want
Multifunction Display – how to use the steering wheel buttons to get to the page you want

Use the Left Page/Right Page button circled in blue above to cycle through the five Parent pages. Use the up/down button circled in orange above to move through the Child pages within any Parent page.

In some cases in Driving Data, the information available to display is more than the Parent/Child hierarchy can show, so Grandchild pages become available. Grandchild pages are cycled by pressing the OK button, circled in green in the illustration above.

Here are the five top-level Multifunction Display items (Parents), in order:

Driving Data

Driving Data page in the VW Multifunction Display
Driving Data page in the VW Multifunction Display

Driving Data is the most complex but the most useful of the Multifunction Display pages. It holds information like fuel economy (MPG), average speed, distance travelled, driving time, oil temperature, current speed, and more.

It has 9 child pages, and 4 of those have grandchildren. Here’s a dedicated post on Driving Data’s children and grandchildren.


Navigation/Compass page in the VW Multifunction Display
Navigation/Compass page in the VW Multifunction Display

Information displays for the navigation system (if equipped). When route guidance is active, turn arrows and proximity bars similar to the symbols shown in the navigation system are displayed.

If navigation is not equipped, it shows a 3D compass with the car image pointed in whatever direction it’s currently facing.


Audio page in the VW Multifunction Display
Audio page in the VW Multifunction Display

You guessed it! Audio page shows… what’s playing. How did you know?! Station display or station list in radio mode.


Telephone page in the VW Multifunction Display
Telephone page in the VW Multifunction Display

Information about the connected telephone.

Vehicle Status

Vehicle Status page in the VW Multifunction Display
Vehicle Status page in the VW Multifunction Display

Current warning and information messages.

This menu item only appears when warning or information messages are available. We’ve never seen any messages in it in the 2017 Alltrack test-ship. Zero, none, nada.

And That’s How You Pick Up What Your VW’s Putting Down

That’s the Driving Information Display, from a “10,000 foot view”. Later this week we’ll post about the Driving Data parent and its children and grandchildren. The rest don’t need much explanation, but Driving Data has more information than all the others combined, so it deserves its own post.

Thanks for reading! Catch more on our Facebook page.

2017 Golf Alltrack 1.8 – Tracking Engine Oil Color in Photos

Well, here’s the latest. It’s by far the worst change from month to month, as you can see.

Since August I’ve been going deeper into the revs… 6k RPM to 7k RPM, now that the 1.8 is broken in*. If that doesn’t explain the suddenly darker-than-expected engine oil color than I’m at a loss.

DARK -- Golf Alltrack Engine Oil - Tracking the changes

I’m going to look at the air filter. See if that offers any clues to the dark oil. Engine oil should not be this dark after 6 months and 5200 miles.

I don’t run the car in dirty conditions, off road, inside coal plants’ smokestacks, etc. I always run 91 octane, every time. Running premium fuel is one of the Three Things I Always Do for my Alltrack.

*There’s no power up there, at least no more than say 5k RPM offers. It’s flat from 5k-7.5k RPM.