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While Australia’s obsession with SUVs shows no sign of abating, Volkswagen’s Golf Alltrack offers a middle ground between the dynamic advantages of a car or wagon, paired with the raised ride-height and four-wheel drive for the all-terrain ability of some SUVs.
In Mk7 form, the Golf Alltrack was available in just one variant, but Volkswagen has had two years to evaluate the model’s potential in Australia and a warm reception has prompted the car maker to boost the Alltrack range to three variants as part of its 7.5 mid-life update.
If introducing just one Alltrack in 2015 looked like a lack of confidence on Volkswagen’s part, a tripling of the line-up is a statement of intent.
- With a 20mm ride-height increase, all-wheel drive and tougher plastic body protectors you would be forgiven for thinking the Alltrack sacrifices on-road ability for off-road advantages, but you would be wrong. On winding country roads, the all-terrain Golf is a real hoot with excellent dynamics and confidence inspiring grip.
- Just one offering in the previous Golf 7 range had to cater for all Alltrack adopters but the new three-variant line-up has something for everyone. A carry-over 1.8-litre petrol is on offer for the most affordable Alltrack at $34,490, a mid-range 132TSI Premium offers the same engine for customers wanting a little more kit, while a new 135TDI diesel rounds out the range.
- Top-shelf 135TDI Premium pumps out 135kW and a chunky 380Nm of torque, which will appeal to owners wanting to tow with their Alltrack. Its impressive output is the highest ever offered by a diesel Golf in Australia.
- 4Motion all-paw transmission is not just a repacked version of the Golf R’s road-focused system and has an off-road setting in the Driving Profile Selector as well as hill-descent control. The Alltrack has surprisingly capable off-road manners and ability that far outstrips some high-riding SUVs. It even has a bash plate under the engine and transmission.
- An interior update has replaced the previous 6.2-inch touchscreen with a more handsome and seamless 8.0-inch version, which is easier to use and has sharper graphics. It also incorporates the latest technology including App-Connect, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is now standard for all three variants.
- A $2300 Infotainment package adds a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen and Active Info Display fully-digital instrument cluster to Premium versions, while the entry versions can be optioned up to the digital dash with an $1800 Driver Assistance Package.
- A 605-litre boot offers a generous luggage capacity but can be expanded to 1620L with the rear seats folded. If that still isn’t enough, standard-fit roof rails allow the secure installation of roof storage options.
- Road noise can be intrusive on coarse surface roads - possibly exacerbated by the voluminous cabin. A smaller-diameter wheel and higher-profile tyre might reduce the noise but all three variants are offered with 17-inch rims.
- Excellent diesel is only offered with the pricier Premium version. An entry-level version would combine the gutsy donk with a more attainable price tag.
- The Alltrack’s higher ride-height allows it to go further into the wilderness than any other Golf, but the ground-clearance and low-profile tyres would be the limiting factor off-road and would cause the Volkswagen to come unstuck before a more traditional SUV.