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VW Golf Estate Alltrack 2.0 TDI 4MOTION 150PS

Click to view picture gallery“You might think that on every big
  boy’s wish list is a Crossover or SUV.
  Maybe, but a large number of drivers
  still prefer a well-handling estate car
  with 4WD — just like Volkswagen’s
  Golf Estate Alltrack...”


AS ESTATE CARS GO, with its polished road manners and established German pedigree, the regular Golf Estate has the potential to be all things to all drivers: it's as classless as new money, is meticulously put together, and offers vast loadspace for its 4.5-metre footprint.

But if you need grip with a capital 'G' and all-weather dependability then what you really need is a Golf Estate with the 'Alltrack' badge on its rump that denotes four-wheel drive all-weather capability but which doesn't come at the expense of comfort and driveability.

A week’s hard driving
over mixed roads
saw a real-life average
of 50.4mpg.
Forget about trying to
match the official figure
and take your satisfaction
where you find it —
a real-life 50mpg from a
spacious, four-wheel
drive load-lugger should
keep anyone smiling...”
If an Alltrack sounds just the job for you then know now that you'd better like diesel because that's all its two engines (1.6- and 2.0-litre turbodiesels) offer — power outputs are 108bhp in the 1.6 and a punchier 147 or 181bhp in the 2.0-litre. The less potent pair get six-speed manual 'boxes (with a 'clean' and very usable change action) while the 182bhp version comes with a six-speed DSG twin-clutch autobox.

Go, like most customers do, for the 147bhp version and you'll get a hefty 251lb ft of torque, a top speed of 129mph and 0-62mph acceleration in a lively 8.9 seconds. On paper 58.9mpg is claimed for the Combined Cycle although our week's hard driving over mixed roads saw a not-to-be-sniffed-at average of 50.4mpg.

Forget about trying to match the official figure and take your satisfaction where you find it — a real-life 50mpg from a spacious, four-wheel drive load-lugger should keep anyone smiling.

With maximum torque on tap between 1,750 and 3,000rpm, the Alltrack's turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine serves up strong mid-range power; better still, the punchy turbodiesel goes about its job willingly and smoothly. That's also good news for cruising, when you'll appreciate its high-speed refinement.

For many, the well laid-out and refreshingly uncluttered cabin will be a major pull to 'Go Golf' when it comes to choosing an estate car; just like on any regular Golf you're guaranteed fine ergonomics, well-sited switchgear and controls — and scrupulous fit and finish.

The Alltrack's predominantly black interior trim is lifted by decorative metallic and satin chrome highlights, while centre stage of the fascia sits a 5.8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment (DAB digital radio, CD player with eight speakers, Multi Device Interface with iPod connection cable) and the standard-fit SatNav with road sign speed limit recognition and display and 3D mapping — and clearly spoken turn-by-turn directions. Just beneath the screen is a two-zone climate control system with automatic air recirculation and dust and pollen filters.

Also included is three-years' Car-Net 'Guide and Inform' providing online access to a range of useful information such as traffic, fuel pricing, parking space availability, weather and news feeds. For which you'll need the optional (125) Carnet App-Connect, which gives you combined functionality for Apple CarPlay, Google Android Auto and MirrorLink for mirroring a smartphone display on the infotainment touchscreen.

This is a Golf and as such you can be sure of one very important thing — a spot-on driving position. Upholstered in all-year-round-comfortable black cloth with Alcantara side bolstering, the 'Alltrack' branded seats are supportive and comfortable on both short and long journeys.

The well laid-out and
refreshingly uncluttered
cabin will be a major pull
to ‘Go Golf’ when it
comes to choosing an
estate car;
just like on any regular
Golf you’re guaranteed
fine ergonomics,
well-sited switchgear
and controls — and
scrupulous
fit and finish...”
Both have handy good-sized under-seat drawers plus height and lumbar adjustment and there's plenty of height and reach adjustability for the multifunctional, leather-wrapped, flat-bottomed, sporty three-spoke steering wheel too. The fast-warming, three-stage seat heating comes as part of the 380 Winter Pack, along with heated windscreen washer jets.

Flanked by a pair of analogue dials covering rpm and mph, the driver's information display shows digital speed, range, oil temp (useful when towing), etc, as well as graphic SatNav prompts. Roadside speed limit signs are recognised and highlighted on the mapping.

In addition to kit already mentioned there are one-shot power electric windows, an automatic-dimming rearview mirror, heated electric door mirrors (powerfold on-demand and automatically when locking and leaving, with puddle lights, and reverse-activated kerb-view adjustment on the passenger side), an electric parking brake with auto-hold function, a sunglasses holder, drive-away automatic door locking, front and rear audible parking sensors, cruise control and speed limiter, Bluetooth, auto lights and wipes, brushed stainless steel pedals (and there's a left and a right footrest for when 'in the cruise'), four-wheel drive, six driving modes, driver's computer, tinted glass, cornering lights, LED daytime running lights, and a misfuel prevention device.

Standard safety features are equally well-specced with seven airbags (including one for the driver's knee), stability and traction control systems, an electronic differential lock (for improved traction and handling), active front head restraints, Automatic Distance Control including Front Assist and city emergency braking system (monitors the traffic situation ahead and applies the brakes for you to prevent a collision), Driver Alert System, PreCrash preventative occupant protection, automatic post-collision braking system, and that absolute essential during the UK's winter months, a rear wash-wipe!

There's a graceful slope to the Alltrack's roofline — enough to look good but not so much as to steal headroom. Combined with generous door apertures, it makes getting in and out of the rear cabin easy. Once in, passengers can make themselves at home in well-padded seats made more comfortable by relaxing backrest angles, well-padded headrests and a big, wide and comfy centre armrest.

Volkswagen's attention to detail extends even to the armrest's built-in cupholders — multi-repositionable 'bars' allow going from no cupholders but one big open tray to any combo of grande and regular cup sizes.

Views out are kept interesting thanks to long and deep side windows, and there's room for 'size nines' in the footwells. Rear passengers also get their own air vents, magazine pouches, outer armrests and bottle-holding door bins and plenty of space around them plus, above them, a full fist of headroom.

The turbocharged
2.0-litre four-cylinder
diesel engine
serves up strong mid-
range power; better still,
the punchy turbodiesel
goes about its job
willingly and smoothly.
That’s also good news
for cruising, when you’ll
appreciate its high-speed
refinement...”
The Alltrack's boot starts out big and then gets even bigger: pop the high-opening tailgate and you'll be faced with a sizeable 605 litres of luggage space; drop the fold-flat 60:40-split seatbacks (releases in the cabin and also in the boot) and this expands to a whopping 1,620-litre loadbay. And all exceedingly practical too — with the seats up the loadspace measures 1,055mm lengthways; with them folded there's room for items as long as 1,831mm.

In addition there's out-of-sight storage under the multi-level boot floor along with a dedicated slot for the roller-blind luggage-cover cassette. Deserving praise is the blind's helpful operation, with one-touch auto retraction to half- and fully-open. Dig deeper and you'll also find a steel space-saver spare wheel. Naturally there are sturdy bag-holders and when you run out of cargo room inside, the Alltrack will pull a braked 2,000kg.

If you're serious about towing you'll also want to tick the box for the swivelling towbar — for 690 this has everything that's needed including connections for the additional power supply for a caravan auxiliary battery charger, internal trailer lighting, and fridge.

Some external visual beefing-up accompanies, and tastefully underscores, the Golf Estate's 4MOTION-enhanced off-road capability: while the increase (approximately 15mm) in ground clearance is not glaringly obvious, you'll easily spot the anthracite-coloured wheelarch protection and 17-inch silver-finish 10-arm alloy wheels along with uniquely shaped, off-road-friendly bumpers and the rather subtle matt-chrome effect and anthracite side sill protection, matt-chrome effect door mirrors, nose and tail underbody shields, and the anodised roof rails.

In case you do somehow miss all of these clues, there's an 'Alltrack' logo at each end (and more on the brushed stainless steel sill kick-plates visible when you open a door).

The Golf Estate comes with VW's Driver Profile Selection which gives the driver the option of selecting from five driving modes: Sport, Eco, Comfort, Normal, and the driver-personalised Individual. The all-wheel drive Alltrack adds a sixth: 'off-road', which adjusts the throttle/engine response map and the ABS to best suit off-road conditions as well as activating the hill descent assist that safely regulates progress down steep slopes (just take your feet off the pedals and wait for it to get you safely to the bottom).

Once in the rough the Alltrack is surprisingly capable even though its extra ground clearance doesn't turn it into a hardcore 4x4 like VW's Touareg and it will still cope away from the beaten track even if you're unlucky (or careless) enough to get one of the Alltrack's wheels spinning in thin air, as can quite easily happen off-road to any 4x4.

While the Alltrack’s
suspension has been
raised to cope with
off-road conditions,
on-road it has favourably
benefited the ride quality.
Long motorway
journeys are smooth
while travelling over less
perfect roads and
in town, deep ruts and
potholes are taken easily
in the Alltrack’s stride...”
On everyday tarmac the 4MOTION works 'on-demand', sending drive to the rear wheels only when the fronts start to lose traction — so you can just drive and not worry about greasy or slippery roads underfoot.

While the Alltrack's suspension has been raised to cope with off-road conditions, on-road it has favourably benefited the ride quality. Long motorway journeys are smooth; travelling in town and over less perfect roads, deep ruts and potholes are taken easily in the Alltrack's stride. Capitalising on this is VW's variable suspension system (Dynamic Chassis Control) that provides three selectable ride settings: Sport, Comfort and Normal.

Neither, surprisingly, does the increased ride height prevent you driving quickly with confidence when the need, or desire, arises — even tricky bends and corners are taken with the same poise that you'd expect from a 'normal' Golf. Not only that, but thanks to well managed body control you don't ever notice the increased ride-height, even through the twisties. Like everything else about the Alltrack, its brakes and steering do their job with a competence you simply take for granted while thinking 'Well, it is a Golf'.

Enhanced by the 4MOTION all-wheel drive the Alltrack is not just a sensible all-weather-capable family/leisure vehicle with impressive carrying room for everything you can throw at it, including that proverbial kitchen sink, but is also a very capable tow car.

Apart from the obvious addition of some body cladding, under the skin the Alltrack is the same roomy, comfortable, well-equipped, fine-driving Golf Estate. With more than just a whiff of off-road ability. And far more satisfying to pilot than the majority of 'fashionable' Crossovers and SUVs. ~ MotorBar

VW Golf Estate Alltrack 2.0 TDI 4MOTION 150PS | 27,960
Maximum speed:129mph | 0-62mph: 8.9 seconds | Test Average: 50.4mpg
Power: 147bhp | Torque: 251lb ft | CO2: 125g/km