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Car and Driver: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Debuts in U.S. Spec

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Here it is, the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, finally making its debut in U.S.-market spec. The all-wheel-drive version of VW’s Golf SportWagen has been seen in European-market form, but now it’s ready for North American consumption.

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The Alltrack follows the formula laid down by—and ridden to great success by—the Subaru Outback and now employed by the Audi A4 Allroad Quattro: Add four-wheel drive to a slightly lifted station wagon, garnish with SUV-like body cladding, and serve. For the Alltrack, that means taking  VW’s Golf SportWagen and fitting the brand’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system, which defaults to front-wheel drive in the interest of fuel economy but can send up to 50 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels via a Haldex-5 coupling when slippage is detected. Additionally, the system uses electronic differential locks to apportion torque across the front and rear axles.

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The torque the system is distributing—189 lb-ft of it—comes from the same 170-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbo that powers the regular SportWagen. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic is the only transmission offered at launch, although a six-speed manual will join the lineup later. The Alltrack’s drive-mode selector adds an Off-Road mode, which activates hill-descent control and also reprograms the traction-control system. In Off-Road mode, the display screen shows steering-wheel angle, a compass, and altitude.

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The Alltrack’s own altitude is 0.8-inch higher than that of the standard SportWagen, and to emphasize this increased ride height, the Alltrack is decked out with black cladding over the wheel arches and along the lower body. The Alltrack also gets a black honeycomb grille, model-specific front and rear bumpers, and silver accents on the side mirrors and roof rails. The Alltrack is offered in S and SE trim levels, which come with 17-inch wheels, and as an SEL that gets 18s. The interior features standard Leatherette (available in Alltrack-exclusive brown), aluminum-trimmed pedals, ambient lighting, and Alltrack logos. Standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen and a backup camera, while adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, parking sensors and Park Assist are all optional.

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Volkswagen hopes the Alltrack can siphon off some of the herds of compact-crossover shoppers, particularly since its own compact-crossover, the Tiguan, is aging and not particularly competitive. The Alltrack is the only way to get all-wheel drive in the sporty and engaging Sportwagen, and no doubt will expand its appeal when it finally arrives in U.S. showrooms this fall.

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2016 New York Auto Show Full Coverage

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