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

2.5 years in what i love and hate 2017 alltrack 1200x480 - 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

2017 Golf Alltrack 1.8 – Tracking Engine Oil Color in Photos

golf alltrack engine oil 10 2017 1 1078x480 - 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.

golf alltrack engine oil 10 2017 1 - 2017 Golf Alltrack 1.8 - Tracking Engine Oil Color in Photos

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.

Tracking Engine Oil in Photos on a 2017 Golf Alltrack 1.8

Alltrack engine oil — I’m tracking its condition over the months. I missed the first few days… so this oil progression photo log starts at the 30-day mark.

golf alltrack engine oil - Tracking Engine Oil in Photos on a 2017 Golf Alltrack 1.8

I’m drawing no conclusions from this. I’ll have August up soon, and I’ll take a better photo then.

All dates are in 2017. Oil samples taken from a 2017 Golf Alltrack 1.8 bought new in April… This is engine oil. The paper is photo mat board touched by dipstick.

How to Install JB4 on a Golf Alltrack

jb4 install overview plugs 3 1200x480 - How to Install JB4 on a Golf Alltrack

Why Burger Tuning JB4 for a Alltrack?

As promised in my VW forum post, here’s my JB4 install guide…

So I wanted a little more power delivered safely — well within the VW 1.8 4-cylinder’s happy place. And I didn’t want even “bolt-on” level of mods. This Burger Tuning JB4 isn’t even bolt-on level because it’s so easily reversed and removed. And at $429 it’s not cheap but it won’t break the bank either.

Additionally, if I didn’t like it I could remove it and sell it fairly easily.

On a new car, that’s the level of commitment I’m comfortable with.

 

JB4 Install on a 2017 Golf Alltrack – Overview

  • The install took about 2 hours. It’s one of those where the next time you do it it takes 1/2 the time.
  • I removed the battery to get the OBDII wire through the firewall. It makes it so much easier with the battery gone.
  • Some people say they can get the lowest connector done without jacking the car or using ramps. I have no idea how. I didn’t even try without jacking and removing the belly pan/splash guard. Wrong! I tried this last night, a week after the install, and I could get my hand down there. Undid the clip even.
  • Some of the connection clips are difficult to undo. A very small flat blade screwdriver helps, and IMHO is the best tool.
  • Battery terminals: 10mm socket.
  • Belly pan torx: T25.
  • Belly pan bolts: 13mm socket.

I used these sources for reference

  1. Burger Tuning’s JB4 install PDF
  2. JB4 install video
  3. For jacking points, I found this, but it’s really the same as any modern car: use the strong points on the subframe, when raising the front of the car.

JB4 Install Notes and Tips

Plugs B, C and D are pass-throughs. That means they go in-between the female and male connection that are already there. Unplug what’s there, insert the JB4 connector, then put what’s left into the JB4 connector. Of course, the blue AFR wire and OBDII connections you don’t do this with.

JB4 driving and power impressions coming soon in a post here. Also look for a post about the effect of the JB4 on my Alltrack’s MPG.

Alltrack Photos

One week of ownership in the books, and everything is great. No problems or concerns. The car is wonderful.

So for no reason whatsoever, here are some Golf Alltrack photos.

I Bought a 2017 Golf Alltrack S

This post is my first regarding my new 2017 Golf Alltrack S. I’ll will update this site frequently with posts on my new VW.

The Day I Bought a 2017 VW Golf Alltrack

After 17 years driving a durable, comfortable 1997 Volvo 850 T5, the day came. I’d been looking at a GTI, but in the end I fell toward  utility and AWD. On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, I bought a new Golf Alltrack S.

It checks all my boxes:

  • wagon
  • manual transmission
  • turbo (for future tuning)
  • AWD for taking my son camping and skiing
  • in my price range

img 2451 - I Bought a 2017 Golf Alltrack S

Oddly, now that I’m writing about this big decision, safety didn’t enter into my thinking when selecting this model. I (perhaps dangerously) assume all new cars are safe these days.

Compare/Contrast 1997 Volvo 850 vs. 2017 Alltrack

The Volvo seat is better, more comfortable, with better thigh support. That’s all the Volvo was better at. Everything else is far in favor of the Alltrack. Ride, composure, NVH, conveniences, fun-to-drive, looks…

I love the MQB architecture that is the “bones” of the Golf line. It’s very solid feeling.

img 2452 - I Bought a 2017 Golf Alltrack S

Things That Nag Me on My Alltrack

I’m looking for a comfortable seating position. Being 6′-3″ means no cars fit me great. Currently I’ve got the seat back almost all the way, medium height on the seat bottom, steering wheel toward me max,steering wheel tilt down max. The #1 problem I have with seating position in the Alltrack is thigh support — the seat bottom adjustment frustratingly raises and lowers the rearward part of the seat but doesn’t help with the front of the seat bottom.

VW Extended Warranty

I bought a 10-year/100k extended warranty on Friday. It was my last day to decide, and with VW’s mediocre (but improving) reliability, it was a no-brainer. A 7/70k was $2100 and change, and this was $2900 and change. They can roll it into your monthly payments when you buy it at time of purchase, so it doesn’t hurt as bad. Tyson, the finance manager at Emich VW, threw in the first three scheduled maintenances. Nice.

I’ll be updating this spot frequently with thoughts on my new VW. Check back.