By on August 21, 2016

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Image: Volkswagen

Updated with details on all-wheel drive being standard equipment for Alltrack.

Volkswagen of America needs a winner as it reels from the ongoing diesel emissions scandal, and its forthcoming Alltrack — a jacked-up, all-wheel-drive version of the SportWagen — is hopefully just the ticket.

As Volkswagen prepares to launch the new model on American shores, it’s all hands on deck for the German automaker as it sends representatives from its internal training department to every single dealership in the United States.

“It is not at all unusual for us to send out Academy sales and product trainers to all of our dealerships to support a launch. Considering this is our big launch for the year, we would allocate resources to make this happen,” said Volkswagen of America representative Mark Gillies in an email to TTAC.

While it isn’t unusual to put this much effort into a model’s launch, Volkswagen has a lot riding on Alltrack.

For starters, Alltrack is the first new product to launch in U.S. — refreshed Passat aside — since the diesel emissions scandal effectively wiped out one-fifth of Volkswagen’s U.S. sales volume.

Additionally, the SportWagen derivative represents a shift in product focus for Volkswagen.

“Of course, Alltrack is important. It is the harbinger for our coming all-wheel-drive/SUV product drive,” said Gillies. “Also, the dealers are really excited about this car. So are we, because Subaru has had this space to themselves for a while.”

That space: jacked-up wagons with body cladding.

Subaru has marketed the Outback crossover successfully — wildly so — even during the doldrums of the recession. The Alltrack’s launch will prove whether Volkswagen can capitalize on the same formula in a record-setting sales environment, especially now that Volkswagen can’t play its high-efficiency trump card due to a pending technical fix for its 2.0-liter diesel engines.

As important as Alltrack is for Volkswagen as a whole, its launch will be very different north of the border.

Volkswagen Canada, which has been quite successful selling the Golf and its derivatives, won’t be sending trainers to each and every dealer in the country. As Volkswagen Canada representative Thomas Tetzlaff explained by phone, Canadian dealers are already intimately familiar with the Golf Sportwagon because the model is responsible for a greater percentage of Volkswagen Canada’s overall sales.

“There’s nothing new for dealers” with regards to Alltrack, said Tetzlaff, as the model is more-or-less a trim atop the Sportwagon ladder that uses the company’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system shared with other products.

Yet, just like in the United States, Volkswagen is dealing with the same emissions scandal and product shift in Canada. Volkswagen will also launch a new, yet-unnamed, three-row SUV and a longer Tiguan in the coming months, which the company needs to be successful in markets ga-ga for crossovers and SUVs. Expect Volkswagen on both sides of the border to put massive effort behind those vehicles.

Back to the Alltrack in the United States, Gillies says the vehicle’s launch is all perfectly normal operating procedure for the automaker.

“This is not beyond the usual order of business.”

The 2017 Alltrack launches with just a single engine: the 1.8-liter turbocharged “TSI” four-cylinder powerplant, which develops 170 horsepower and 199 lbs-ft of torque. First-run Alltracks will be equipped solely with Volkswagen’s six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. 4Motion all-wheel drive will be standard, and a six-speed manual transmission will arrive later in 2017 in the United States.

Volkswagen officially launches the Alltrack next month.

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52 Comments on “It’s All Hands On Deck for Volkswagen’s US Alltrack Launch...”


  • avatar
    seth1065

    depending on how it is priced it should do ok esp w a row your own, many TDI wagon drivers go for a stick and they need a new car if they trade in so they may have some built up sales but time will tell if they can get folks who would just flock to the outback to give it a drive.

  • avatar
    gasser

    What’s the difference between VW Alltrak all-wheel-drive and 4Motion?? (Article says Alltrak launches with all-wheel-drive buy 4Motion will follow later.)

    • 0 avatar

      Alltrack is the model. 4Motion is the all-wheel-drive system that’s available on the Alltrack as an option. Curiously enough, 4Motion all-wheel-drive is not standard equipment on the Alltrack.

      • 0 avatar

        “A six-speed manual transmission will arrive later in 2017. 4Motion all-wheel drive will be an option.”

        The manual arrives later. All-wheel drive will be available from Day 1.

        • 0 avatar
          trackratmk1

          Mark, according to the VWoA order guides, 4-Motion will be standard equip on the Alltrack across all trims for MY2107. 6-spd manual available.

          As you mentioned, Alltrack is the model… in the same vein as an Audi Allroad. But there will also be a MY17 Sportwagen (not an Alltrack), with available 4-Motion and 4-Mo stick shift as an option.

          • 0 avatar
            trackratmk1

            Not sure about allocation timing for 6-spd and reg Sportwagen 4-Mo

          • 0 avatar

            Ahhh, now I see the error of my ways. Volkswagen has a document outlining Alltrack /and/ SportWagen together. I was reading the SportWagen section. For MY2017, 4Motion is available on SportWagen as an option.

          • 0 avatar
            la834

            The manual will not be available in the top-line Alltrack SEL at least in the U.S., which (given the reduced option availability in 2017) you probably can’t get the HID adaptive headlights or the nicer seats with the stick. (note: the old Golf TDIs were available with a 6 speed manual on any model, including sportwagens)

            At the low end, the non-Alltrack Sportwagen will now offer AWD in only the low-end S equipment/trim package as an alternative to the pricier Alltrack. It will offer eith auto or manual trans both with 6 speeds.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Well, good luck to VW with this. It seems like a space worth pursuing for them. Personally, I’d keep my Forester over this.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Mmmm…not so sure.
      Although I really like the Forester turbo, it is really will come down to the MPG of the ALLtrack.
      For me.
      The EPA, according to C&D, is 24/34.
      This is a whole lot better than the turbo Forester.
      They say the drive is fantastic and way better than anything in its class…as they usually say about VW.
      And I don’t really like the drive of the Forester over any VW.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    They should have launched this 10 years ago. Still, should do well.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    An ingenious play by VW marketing.

    Launch a new product, and make sure when it inevitably breaks down in the traditional VW manner it happens off road and out of sight from the roadway.

    • 0 avatar
      markf

      “An ingenious play by VW marketing.

      Launch a new product, and make sure when it inevitably breaks down in the traditional VW manner it happens off road and out of sight from the roadway.

      Too funny. I was gonna say what is the point of AWD when your car is on the side of the road or in the shop…..

  • avatar
    Fred

    I can’t see how this is going to “save VW” Does the similar Audi All Road sell much? Or any jacked up wagon from Volvo or Subaru? They need small SUVs something to compete against the CRV. Not a jacked up wagon. But first they need to clean management’s house and get this dieselgate behind them.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      They have the Tiguan for the silly CUV market, but even they’re sort of unpopular. The Alltrack isnt going to change much but it might unload extra wagon shells.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      Of course the Sportwagen Alltrack alone isn’t going to “save” VW. But it’s a start, and it will give VW dealers an alternate to the ultra hot Outback. (Something the allroad is not.) It’s the success (or failure) of the Alltrack, Tiguan, CrossBlue and new Touareg combined that will ultimately determine VWs fate in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        Nostrathomas

        I’m not sure I really see this competing with the Outback, considering its quite a bit smaller, while the Outback is basically an SUV now. Perhaps if they had the Passat version of this.

        I think in many ways this is closer to a Subaru Impreza, or Volvo V60 competitor.

        • 0 avatar
          Cactuar

          I think VW should market it as a Subaru Crosstrek competitor. Similar engine and ground clearance, more torque, standard AWD but with more cargo room (wagon vs hatchback) and most likely better NVH than the Crosstrek. It would essentially be a more spacious and refined Crosstrek for close to the same money.

        • 0 avatar
          HenryE

          The Alltrack is smaller on the outside, but quite large on the inside. For passenger space and cargo space, it’s almost the size of the Outback, and bigger than the Impreza (and, for cargo space, the Forester).

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Honestly it looks to me like this was an opportunity not a plan as such. Vw just brought haldex to both of “our” factories. We know this wasn’t done for a wagon, but for their suv push. However, having the all trek come out first gives the new parts supply some business, answers some customer demand, and the whole damn car is 100% engineered anyway and already on sale in europe. This has got to be one of the cheapest variants ever (because no exchange rate issues) from volkswagen america’s point of view. Why wouldn’t they do this?

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Does the similar Audi All Road sell much?”

      Nope.

      But the Alltrack won’t start at $42k – the “estimated” $28k makes it somewhat more plausible.

      (Likewise the Volvos – they’re expensive.

      Subaru, on the other hand, sold 150,000 Outbacks last year.

      So, yeah, they sell pretty well – starting at $25.5k.

      VW might have a chance here, though this thing is smaller than an Outback at a higher price point, and probably less nicely optioned than the Outbacks that compare.

      The real killer against the Allroad is, unless you *want* four rings on the front or Smaller Because Reasons, an Outback 3.6 Limited is cheaper, faster, and really, really nice inside.

      The XC70 is more expensive … and this is their last year, so only die-hards are gonna buy one.)

      • 0 avatar
        HenryE

        Have you ever tried to buy an Outback 3.6L? Those things are rarer than hens teeth. And even when you find one, it might not be in the color you want, etc. And the price jump over the 2.5L Outback is huge.

        I’m actually quite excited about the Alltrack. I’ve driven the Sportwagen and it’s great. With the little extra ground clearance and the AWD, I am seriously considering the Alltrack.

  • avatar

    This thing better be BEYOND fantastic. It’s going to take a lot to overcome the stench created by the lies and cheating they’re now famous for.

    • 0 avatar
      Bazza

      That stench you smell is VW’s visceral hostility towards the U.S. market. Have they stopped building unreliable shitboxes? No. Have they stopped their “FU Americans” decontenting? No. Is there any chance at all that this too little, too late pandering will be BEYOND fantastic? No.

      Why exactly is anybody expressing any interest in what VW does?

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Because the golf is the compact car of note despite its small US footprint. Other c segment entrants invariably use it as a benchmark for all sorts of things. Every american market mid size sedan redesign has an accord sedan somewhere in the background for the exact same reason.

        What is it with everyone throwing shade for having different content and trim levels for us and euro markets anyway? This is literally how the entire industry works at this price point, and there are no exceptions that are a sales success. Deal with it or move up a price point when you buy vehicles, because that is essentially what you are telling the companies to do.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          “What is it with everyone throwing shade for having different content and trim levels for us and euro markets anyway? ”

          It’s not that.

          It’s that the content vs. price point in the US is *deeply uncompetitive*.

          (Or was, at least, before the latest crisis made them throw money on the hood of everything.)

      • 0 avatar
        HenryE

        I can go tonight to the closest VW dealership and get a new 2016 Jetta Manual 1.4 S w/ Technology package for UNDER $15,000.

        It is a great car? No. Is it better than anything else you could get under $15,000? I would say so.

        Did VW screw themselves by lying? Yes.

        Does VW screw themselves by sending us products from Mexico that are usually inferior to what’s made in Germany? Yes and no. Yes the cars are inferior to what comes out of Germany. No when you consider how much cheaper they are.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    One wonders if they’ll be smart enough to let buyers pair the 6-speed manual with the 4MOTION AWD. That would be a niche space that exactly *no one* is occupying.

    Of course this isn’t going to fool anyone wanting an SUV. The Golf SportWagen’s sloping hood and general profile mean that it doesn’t lend itself to being SUV-ized (unlike the Outback, which passes for one)…and I would know because I stare at my Golf SportWagen every day.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Its in the order guide for the 4 motion “s” and “se” with a six speed manual. My FIL already has one ordered, requested, whatever. He should end up getting one of the earlier manual se’s.

      There really aren’t any serious changes from the wagon that’s already available in either trim level content or interior styling. The only true difference is the new haldex setup (100/0 to 50/50), ride height and minor aesthetic changes. I think vw Canada is probably entirely justified forgoing dealer training for the car. Dealer training is a constant state of affairs anyway, I’m not sure why that was the lead on the article.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      It would be a niche nobody is occupying.

      But is nobody occupying it because there’s no way to make money in it?

      (Sure, lots of people here are saying “build that”.

      Is even one reader *actually going to buy one new*?)

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Kyree, you’re forgetting about the MINI Clubman All4, which, unlike VAG’s restrictive and frustrating packaging, does offer a manual, regardless of any other options you choose.

      I’d take that car over this VW any day!

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Kyree beat me to it….

    Will the stick be available with AWD?

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Doesnt VW already have the Tiguan to cover this market segment? An Outback knock off seems redundant.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      That’s been said about the Forester and Outback, too, and yet sales indicate each appeals to a different consumer. Besides, the current Tiguan is a joke, and the new model is still a year away.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Well if the current Tiguans no good I have my doubts for the Alltrack, same VW Golf underpinnings and hardware.

        The Forester and Outback at least have somewhat different guts, one being a boxy Imprezza the other a jacked up Legacy.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          The tiguan is on a version of the last golf platform. What’s wrong with it certainly isn’t that, the car drives well for a cuv, has 200hp and nicer interior materials so than many in its class still. The tiguan problems are price, the older stereo it was lugging around forever and overall size. When they fixed price and stereo in 16 sales shot up despite its older bones compared to the new golf products. There have been several mentions of that here. Calling it awful is a lazy swipe at vw, calling it a market failure over its lifespan is accurate. Its one of those typical vw mistakes. Build a car for europe, ship it to the us, expect it to sell despite the different priority list of the shoppers. This is why the us gets its own version of the tiguan next time with its own manufacturing origin (mexico).

  • avatar
    DavidB

    @Kyree: I know the Outback no longer offers a manual, but the CrossTek and Forester still do. Why would these models not be considered competitors to this VW? I own an ’04 Forester (AT), which replaced my ’96 Legacy wagon (MT) and these all seem similar in size.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Crosstrek is definitely smaller.

      The Forester is of similar length, as are other compact crossovers. But if you consider the Alltrack more of an (optionally-)AWD wagon, and not an SUV/crossover, then no one else is competing.

      • 0 avatar
        HenryE

        Yeah, the cargo space in the Crosstrek is a joke, unless you fold the rear seats down. The Alltrack has the same cargo space as the Sportwagen, which is a lot. And very usefully laid out.

        Also, the Crosstrek I test drove was quite loud. Not sure if all Crosstreks are as loud, but that and the tiny cargo space ruined it for me. (Good CUV otherwise; drove very well).

        To my mind, the Alltrack has the potential to be an almost perfect mix for a certain type of buyer. It’s not a real SUV, obviously, but it just carries so much more than a small SUV/CUV, while keeping the same small footprint. And if it drives anything like the Sportwagen, then it drives better than virtually all SUVs/CUVs out there.

        Unless you need the ground clearance of a real SUV or want to sit at SUV height in traffic, then the Alltrack makes a lot of sense.

        If VW manages to avoid messing it up.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “a jacked-up, all-wheel-drive version of the SportWagen”

    Jacked-up? Only compared to a vacuum cleaner.

    • 0 avatar
      HenryE

      6.3 inches isn’t true SUV ground clearance, but I doubt many people will really take an Alltrack out for true off-roading over car destroying boulders. Useful in snow or bad roads, though, especially with the AWD.

  • avatar
    kit4

    Way to rip off Toyota’s brand name, VW.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      That was All-Trac which is slightly different than Alltrack, and irrelevant since Toyota hasn’t used or renewed that trademark in over 10 years so they lost the rights.

      I bet someone at Ford wishes they would have called some of their post-WWII utility vehicles “jeeps”, keeping Willys and successor companies from obtaining sole use of the trademark Jeep. But they didn’t, and FCA thanks them every day.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    VW might do what no other Subaru Forester competitor has done of late: offer a more powerful engine as an option, ala the Forester XT. A sportswagen with the R power train (and interior other than the R’s depressing coal bin) could be very enticing.

    • 0 avatar
      Nostrathomas

      I’d settle for the GTI sportswagen.

      And if we’re talking about forbidden euro fruit we’ll never get, I’d like a Polo GTI too!

      • 0 avatar
        HenryE

        True, but the 1.8T engine is quite powerful. I’ve read that the true HP and torque numbers are higher than the advertised 170 and 199.

        Seems strange that VW would deliberately understate their engine’s power, but I will say that I’ve driven the 1.8T in several different VW’s and it always felt at least sufficiently powerful. Including in the pretty large Passat (where the torque is less for some reason, only 184 lb-ft). I would not be shocked if the real numbers are in fact higher than advertised.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I’m seeing a cheaper more practical Golf R without the punch but offering DSG.

  • avatar
    brentrn

    US MSRP will be from 25850 for a S with MT to 32890 for a SEL with DSG. All have 4-Motion. Manuals have hill holder, just like my old Subaru (I’m not sure if this is new to VW).

  • avatar
    Edgarof323

    It is interesting that Mr Tetzlaff( formerly Mr. TDI Canada) of VW Canada is available by phone to promote the new Alltrack when he is invisible and unavailable to the 10000 owners of Canadian TDI Dieselgate vehicles waiting impatiently for VW Canada to do the right thing by their Canadian customers.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Who would rather have this boddy cladding and raised suspension than

    1. A more powerful engine?

    2. A sport suspension option for the wagon?

    3. AWD in the wagon?


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