by Larry Lark, Herald Special Sections Writer
Anything with the word golf in it, you know I’m engaged and probably not objective.
And, just so you have full-disclosure, our family has been a proud, two-vehicle Volkswagen family for quite some time. Without issues.
So it’s not a colossal surprise that I very much enjoyed my week behind the wheel of the all-new, 2017 Volkswagen Golf AlltrackTSI S with 4Motion wagon. And despite the Dieselgate scandal, VW recently became the top-selling auto brand in the world.
The Golf Alltrack, while new, still felt familiar. And the vehicle is a perfect marriage for Northwesterners looking for practicality mingled with a fun-to-drive quotient and rugged exterior styling.
Outdoorsy traits include 4Motion all-wheel drive, increased ground clearance, hill-descent control and an off-road mode that alters the ABS system and accelerator pedal character, and activates the hill descent function, helping Alltrack deliver exceptional performance off the beaten path.
My tester was powered by a powerful and fuel-efficient 1.8-liter TSI turbocharged and direct-injected, four-cylinder engine, which makes 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The TSI engine will initially be offered with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, with a six-speed manual available later in the model year.
The Alltrack seats up to five adults – but only with a squeeze as we found out on a recent sojourn to a brunch in Bellingham. The cargo area is larger than normal (30.4 cubic feet) and a cover discretely hides possessions from prying eyes. Under the rear deck is a full-size spare tire.
Golf delivers 30 miles per gallon down the highway, as rated by the EPA and has a large 14.5-gallon fuel tank, which offers a greater range for extended adventure.
Available advanced driver-assistance systems include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, front and rear park-distance control, lane-departure warning, and high-beam control.
Gadgets and creature comforts are a surprise as well. Highlights include a premium Fender audio system with eight speakers, AM/FM/XM and compact disc player, leatherette heated seats, rear-view camera, Bluetooth, USB port, footwell lights and interior ambient interior lighting.
Exterior features include 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, heated side mirrors and washer nozzles, halogen headlights, chrome exhaust tips and silver anodized roof rails.
In addition, Volkswagen’s Car-Net Security & Service offers layers of convenience, such as remote vehicle access, remote door lock and unlock, remote honk and flash (of lights), last parked location information and remote status check (doors and windows).
The Golf platform offers the utility of a compact SUV — cargo volume, roof rack —without a compromise in road manners. Since I’ve already admitted to my bias, I don’t have a problem writing I would buy one of these in a heartbeat.
2017 VW GOLF ALLTRACK
BASE PRICE: $26,950
AS TESTED: $28,615
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. Prices may vary at local dealerships.