2017 VW Golf Alltrack Long-Term Update: VW vs. Audi
The Audi Allroad is an off-roader version of Audi's entry-level wagon model, sporting rugged-looking exterior enhancements and backed up with mechanicals that have been upgraded for dirt-road driving. It brings with it all the luxury and refinement expected from Audi, and all the goodness that is the new A4 as well; check out our Quick Take of it and see what we mean.
But if you don't have the $53,000 it takes to get into the Allroad we drove, recent experience tells me that the $32,000 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is a darn fine alternative. The Golf Alltrack is basically the Volkswagen version of the Allroad. Like the Audi, the Alltrack starts with the excellent Golf Wagon and adds a dirt-road-ready all-wheel drive system, plus the rugged necessary visual trappings.
Now, I'm not going to oversell the Golf here. The Audi is clearly the superior vehicle, offering more room, higher tech options and features, and the kind of head-turning premium-valet style that you only get from a luxury brand like Audi. But the Volkswagen sure comes close in a lot of important ways.
First, there's the way the Golf drives. While it lacks the Dynamic drive modes of the Audi, its ride and handling compromise is so good that we hardly miss the ability to adjust the suspension's firmness, and there is an off-road mode if you really do decide to test the marketing behind the car. Features like active cruise control, along with the comfy ride and great fuel economy, make the Golf an excellent choice for road tripping, as we recently discovered. Then there's the Fender audio system with Apple CarPlay, the Golf's own sharp good looks, and the generous cargo space that's bigger than expected.
I came away from my drive surprisingly satisfied, especially since it came such a short time after my time in the Audi. While there's no doubt the Audi makes a strong case for itself, in my opinion our long-term VW Golf Alltrack is about 80 percent of the way there, for only 60 percent of the price. And that's a bargain in anybody's book.
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