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

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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.

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