+ Light off-road ability
+ More fuel-efficient than an SUV
+ Retains Golf Estate comfort and space
- Looks expensive relative to Golf Estate
- Frustrating Golf infotainment
- Many will want an SUV driving position
Verdict: There aren't many people who'd choose a jacked-up estate before an SUV these days, but for that minority, the Golf Alltrack is a sound buy. Ask yourself if you really need all-wheel-drive, though, because for most a standard Golf Estate remains a better buy.
2022 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack review: the five-minute read
Anybody who was around to witness the demise of the CD will understand how things are going for the humble jacked-up estate car. There are still a few about, like this Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, but the MP3 of the car world, the SUV, has come along and largely taken the former's place.
Like its competition such as the Volvo V60 Cross Country or Audi A4 Allroad, the Alltrack is based on an estate. In fact, you can read our full review of the Volkswagen Golf Estate here.
Also like those others, the Alltrack gets a more rugged appearance. It's been pumped up by 15mm over the standard Golf Estate to give it better clearance over rough ground, plus gets a chunkier set of bumpers, wheel arches and sills for better protection against scrapes and bumps. There's also a handy set of silver roof rails and unique 17-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, aside from some cloth seats with a design unique to the Alltrack and a smattering of Alltrack badges, the Alltrack is much the same as the standard Golf Estate. That means a very well put together cabin that looks and feels high quality. Chrome trim, piano black plastic and ambient lighting help things further.
There's less good news when it comes to the infotainment system. It's the same one that you get in the standard Golf Estate – a 10-inch touchscreen that comes with just two physical buttons. The screen is high-res and responsive and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but the touch-sensitive surfaces for the climate control system are tricky to use, just like the steering wheel's touch-sensitive set too.
Still, four tall adults will enjoy a very generous amount of space inside to stretch out, fitting child seats in the back is easy and the Alltrack doesn't lose any of its massive and practical 611-litre boot despite being fitted with all-wheel drive as standard.
That's right, all-wheel drive is standard for better off-road traction and the only engine and gearbox available with the Golf Alltrack is VW's strong but efficient 2.0-litre diesel engine with 200hp mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
VW says nearly 50mpg is possible in mixed driving and we saw around 45mpg, which is impressive given the engine's stout low down pull and the Alltracks subsequently decent pace. It isn't the quietest engine when pushed hard, but is fine at a cruise and the automatic gearbox is slick in all situations.
The standard Golf Estate is a comfy car at low speeds and the same is true here, plus you'll have no trouble seeing out to thread through traffic and park more confidently. Adaptive suspension is available as a pricey option, but we really wouldn't bother with it.
And the 15mm suspension raise doesn't translate to sloppy country road cornering either – the Alltrack is every bit as grippy and reassuringly precise to drive as the standard Estate.
The Alltrack makes a great long-distance companion too. It's even comfier at speed and as the range-topping model gets VW's brilliant Travel Assist adaptive cruise control and Lane Change Assist tech as standard, making motorway driving even more relaxing.
Should you need to head off the Tarmac the Alltrack's on-demand all-wheel drive is on hand to provide extra purchase. There's also an off-road driving mode not available in other Golf Estates that's adjust the stability control and brakes to better live with rough terrain. Ultimately, you won't be challenging Land Rovers but it'll help in winter you live in the sticks or tow a horsebox. That horse box or caravan can weigh up to 2000kg.
So why doesn't everybody just buy the Alltrack version of the Golf Estate then? Well, at more than £37,000 it's the most expensive one by some margin and most could do without the addition of all-wheel drive. There's also the fact that SUVs have become popular for their raised riving positions, which the Alltrack can't offer.
Still, if you've decided a jacked-up estate is for you, the Golf Alltrack is a decent bit cheaper than a Volvo V60 Cross Country or Audi A4 Allroad and doesn't have any other competition at the same money. If this is your type of car and your sort of budget, it's a sound buy.
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