Higher plane shifter

VW’s el­e­vated wagon with AWD has the go to match its glam­our

Herald Sun - Motoring - - ROAD TESTS - CHRIS RI­LEY chris.ri­ley@news.com.au

ONCE they were known as 4WDs. These days they’re SUVs and hardly any­one takes them off road.

Ei­ther way they rep­re­sent the largest and fastest grow­ing sec­tion of the mar­ket, and Aussie buy­ers just can’t get enough of them.

That’s a good thing for VW, which has just added yet another to the mix.

The Golf All­track is a pumped up ver­sion of the Golf wagon, a com­pan­ion for the al­ready high-rid­ing sib­ling Tiguan and Skoda Scout cousin — each a Golf un­der the skin.

TECH­NOL­OGY

The 1.8-litre turbo in the All­track is a gem, seen pre­vi­ously in some Sko­das in­clud­ing the Scout but now on de­but be­hind a VW badge.

The four-cylin­der’s clever fuel de­liv­ery in­cor­po­rates old style mul­ti­point in­jec­tion with the latest di­rect cylin­der in­jec­tion. Add an elec­tric waste gate for the turbo and the re­sult is bet­ter fuel econ­omy and more power, with peak torque ac­ces­si­ble lower in the rev range.

The en­gine is hooked up to VW’s six-speed DSG twin­clutch trans­mis­sion, with pad­dle-shifters as an op­tion.

It turns VW’s 4Motion part­time all-wheel drive, which trans­fers power to the rear wheels as needed, sav­ing on fuel. There is also a new of­froad mode that pro­vides hill de­scent con­trol.

ON THE ROAD

The glam­orous look­ing wagon goes as well as it looks, with plenty of power for over­tak­ing from the 132TSI en­gine (not to be con­fused with Tiguan’s 2.0litre with the same badge).

The car rides 20mm higher than a stan­dard Golf wagon, with ad­di­tional un­der­body pro­tec­tion, the oblig­a­tory grey fen­der flares and al­loy-look skirts that com­bine to give it a chunkier, more macho ap­pear­ance.

With a larger boot than Tiguan it’s ideal trans­port for week­ends in the snow (bear in mind the Scout is slightly larger again).

The dash from 0-100km/h takes 7.8 sec­onds and fuel con­sump­tion is claimed to av­er­age 6.7L/100km (we got noth­ing like it on the launch).

The front seats, with man­ual lum­bar ad­just­ment, fit like a glove and are among the most com­fort­able we’ve ever sat in.

De­spite the wagon’s in­creased ride height, body roll is min­i­mal in corners and un­likely to in­trude.

The car laps up the kilo­me­tres on the black top, with elec­tric steer­ing that is di­rect and pre­cise.

The All­track is just as much at home on dirt roads where a lit­tle throt­tle irons out any drift through corners.

Rear legroom is lim­ited and the boot ac­com­mo­dates only a space-saver spare, which isn’t the pre­ferred op­tion if you’re any dis­tance from the road.

Leather trim and dual-zone cli­mate air­con are stan­dard, as are heated front seats.

The All­track gets VW’s new 6.5-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen, sup­port­ing Ap­ple Car Play and An­droid Auto for smart­phones, though the screen still looks small com­pared with ri­vals and ex­am­ples in other mar­kets.

It can tow a 1500kg load.

VER­DICT

Priced from $37,990, the Golf All­track is go­ing to run out the door. It’s a shame you have to spend $1300 more to get au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing in an op­tion pack.

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