• The Differences Between the 2017 VW Golf SportWagen 4Motion and Golf Alltrack [News]

    2017 vw golf sportwagen 4motion vs golf alltrack

    Those who are not sucked into the crossover craze know a good wagon or hatchback has many virtues over the bulky and ungainly small SUV. They are easier to maneuver, have better fuel economy, and loading them up is a snap due to the lower ride height. Now Volkswagen has added full-time all-wheel drive to the Golf Sportwagen and created a new model based on the Golf Sportwagen called the Alltrack.

    At first glance, the two models have a lot in common. Both are dimensionally identical using the same chassis, sheet metal, and powertrain. And both have VW’s 4Motion full-time all-wheel drive system using a fifth-generation Haldex controller to distribute power to the wheels. Look closer and there are some significant differences between the two models.

    To begin with, the 2017 SportWagen 4Motion is only available in the base S trim. The Alltrack has three levels of trim starting with the base S and tops out with the SEL trim that features a full complement of convenience and safety features. The entry-level trim of the Sportwagen comes with cloth seats, but the V-Tex leatherette covered seats of the Alltrack are standard across all three trims.

    The SportWagen 4Motion retains its demure looks while the Alltrack has a stronger appearance with ruggedized body panels and underbody composite panels to deflect the hazards of off-roading. 16-inch alloy wheels and black roof rails also come standard with the Sportwagen. The Alltrack has 17-inch alloys and silver roof rails.

    2017 vw golf alltrack off-road

    The Alltrack also distinguishes itself with a higher ride height, fog lights, and Reflex Silver mirror caps. The beautiful panoramic sunroof is also something you won’t see on the Sportwagen S trim.

    Yes, both models use the same 4Motion AWD system that adapts well to changing driving conditions, but unique to the Alltrack is a larger fuel tank for greater range and four selectable driving modes – normal, sport, custom, and off-road. Additionally, the off-road setting has integrated hill descent control. Something not available with the SportWagen 4Motion.

    2017 vw golf alltrackClick the image or link to ready about my initial driving impressions of the 2017 VW Golf Alltrack

    Watch the video below as Roman interviews Megan Garbis, Product Manager for the Volkswagen Golf family, to learn more details that differentiate the two models and help you decide which AWD wagon is right for you.

    2017 VW SportWagen 4Motion vs Alltrack
    Golf SportWagen 4MOTION S trim Golf Alltrack S trim
    MSRP $23,830 $26,950
    Price as tested $25,750 $27,770
    Engine 1.8L turbocharged and direct injection 4-cylinder TSI 1.8L turbocharged and direct injection 4-cylinder TSI
    Power (hp) 170 @ 4.500 rpm 170 @ 4.500 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft) 199 @ 1,600 rpm 199 @ 1,600 rpm
    Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
    Drivetrain layout front engine / all-wheel-drive front engine / all-wheel-drive
    Curb weight (6MT) 3,305 lbs. 3,369 lbs.
    Curb weight (DSG) 3,358 lbs. 3,422 lbs.
    EPA-estimated fuel economy 22/30/25 mpg (city/highway/combined) 22/30/25 mpg (city/highway/combined)
    Fuel tank capacity 13.2 gal. 14.5 gal.
    Passenger volume 94.3 ft3 94.3 ft3
    Cargo volume 34.4 ft3 34.4 ft3
    Max. cargo volume 60.4 ft3 60.4 ft3
    Wheels 16×6.5-inch aluminum alloy 17×7-inch aluminum alloy
    Ground clearance 5.5 in. (measured with 15-in wheels) 6.9 in. (measured with 17-in wheels)
    Roof height 58.3 in. (measured with 15-in wheels) 59.7 in. (measured with 17-in wheels)


    Derek Mau
    Derek Mau
    Before becoming an automotive journalist, Derek was diving into engine bays and wiring car audio systems for competitions since high school. Granted, there were a few extra bits and pieces after reassembling everything but nothing ever fell apart on the road. Today Derek applies his enthusiasm and gearhead knowledge into the latest cars, unraveling today's complex automotive technology, and learning the rich history of classic cars.

    42 thoughts on “The Differences Between the 2017 VW Golf SportWagen 4Motion and Golf Alltrack [News]

    1. Seriously looking at the Alltrak or the Sportwagon Highline. Trading in my 2010 Passat Wagon (last year they were available in North America. Do both models have real leather seats? Also, both models have low profile tires which I find are a firmer ride. Is there an alternative rim for a tire with more rubber?

      1. Hey Mike,

        Unless the Sportwagon’s standard equipment has changed, by default it comes with cloth seats because it is a base model. The Alltrack is available with Leatherette covered seats, which something close to leather but not real leather. You can ask the dealer to order Leatherette seats if you really want the Sportwagen but the additional cost will close the gap on the Alltrack.

        Tire and wheel combination is another question for the dealer if you plan to buy new. Otherwise, just purchase the tires you want. IMO, tires are too important to ignore and are easily changed.

        1. Thanks Derek for your reply. I was looking at the sportwagon “Highline” vs the Alltrack and the price is basically the same. When I say look I mean reading reviews and doing research before going to the dealer. I do like the look of the Alltrack better with its cladding etc plus it has the 4 driving modes, slightly bigger fuel tank and I think some underbody protection. I will be using it for some mild off road use for my drone business and the cargo area is perfect to haul my gear.
          Thanks for the heads up about the leatherette seats and your article was of great help!

    2. I am awaiting arrival of my 6-speed manual Alltrack to replace (reluctantly) my 2010 TDI Sportwagon. I get to keep the same car with new technology and AWD, and I lose the clean-toxic TDI I once falsely loved so much.

      1. OB1,

        Just took delivery yesterday 2/9/2017 of a DSG Alltrack. Loved my TDI DSG version and followed the 2.0 litre scandel closely. My research is the gas 1.8 L will add a little over twice the CO2 (upper atmosphere / warming) polution of the TDI but 1/4 of the NOX (lower atmosphere / smog). Hated seeing the TDI go, was one of my favorite cars in 40 years of driving.

    3. I have a 2012 VW TDI Jetta Sportwagen with DSG and have been towing an 4 x 9 aluminum utility trailer with it a lot. No issues so far other than the Curt bracket hitting on steep driveways. I am replacing it with a 2017 Alltrack S with driver assist package. I want to get a hitch for it like they sell in Europe. Its called the hidden hitch https://www.amazon.com/Volkswagen-SportWagen-Secret-Trailer-Autoblog/dp/B00VU3COGY. I do not like the sunroof. Too hot and noisy in Florida plus there have been leaks on previous models. They also run into roof rack cross members sometimes.

    4. I have a 2012 TDI/DSG Sportwagen and tow a 2000 lb. Key West boat. I tow it 4 or 5 times a year with no issues. I live close to the water, so these are not long tows,, but have not had any issues.

    5. The DSG cars can certainly tow — that’s why the Euro versions are rated for towing. VWoA lawyers are the ones withholding a towing rating (because they think that Americans are untrained in towing…which is arguably true…so they don’t want any legal issues popping up). I use my DSG-equipped 2010 2.0T Passat wagon to tow a 1100-pound pop-up camper, with no problems (the Euro car is rated to tow 2,886 lbs).

    6. Will the manual transmission get the same MPG? My current TDI JettaSportwagen MT gets much better MPG than the AT variant of the same car, and it can tow. The towing part strikes me as stupid if they don’t have it on the Alltrack — European versions of this car are rated for towing. Looking to replace my TDI (reluctantly) after the emissions scandal, so I’m naturally interested in the same — good MPG, MT and towing ability.

      1. David,

        Spoke with the dealer about using a trailer with the Alltrack, as long as you keep the combined weight to 1,000 to 1,500 lbs you should be OK.

    7. One brand two cars identical in every way aiming at the same crowd doesn’t seem smart business wise, they have made the same decision though with the Lambo brand and the Bugatti so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised

      1. Brandon,

        You need to check the equipment list more carefully though perhaps now better details are available.

        Sportwagen 4Mo Alltrack S
        Seats cloth Leatherette
        Heated seats N/A Std
        Wheels/Tires 16″/60Series 17″/55series

        For me the S version of the Alltrack fit just in between the lower trims of the Sportwagen and higher trims of either. VW’s strategy was to offer greater variety with the least amount of individual options for greater production volumnes.

    8. I’ve been trailering my Polaris Ranger on the back of my 2009 Sportwagen for years. Those of you who say you cannot do this are…..uninformed.

    9. I believe it was Car & Driver who said they raised the suspension height .75″. Smaller 15″ wheels generally wouldn’t have a 55 profile like the 16 & 17″ rims used here but a 65 profile. If a likely 195 tire width the 15&16″ would have the same height tire and rim combined. The 5″ effect from the difference beween 16 & 17″ rims and .75″ suspension lift almost squares with the ground clearance difference.

      They did say the Alltrack was 300 pounds heavier than the Sport wagon and probably compared the FWD Sportwagen with the Alltrack so they are not perfect!

    10. I noticed in the comparison chart the ground height is designated as ‘measured with 15 inch wheels’ and ‘measured with 17 inch wheels’ respectively. Question: isn’t the diameter or height of each Wheel and Tire combination the same from one to the other?

      1. The differences in wheel diameter and tire profile height account for the differences in ride height and ground clearance. The Alltrack, with the bigger diameter wheels has a ride height 1.4 inches taller and 0.6 inches more ground clearance. All of which is due to the larger radius of the wheel/tire combination.

      2. Gary,

        Very much true, the smaller wheels are fitted with higher profile tires. I believe 15 inch is 65 series and the 16 is 60 series.

      1. Jamie, I’m guessing you haven’t driven a DSG much, there’s a number of performance advantages of dual clutch auto trans. Gas mileage, little loss since there’s no torque converter, and performance (quick shifts).

        To each there own, there are a few times I miss the clutch and stick, thats why I keep an old Miata.

    11. Why wait for a manual tranny when you can put the DSG in Tiptronic manual mode and use the shift handle or, better yet use the paddle shifters on the steering wheel – best of both worlds.

    12. In a comparision between the Subarus there is one thing that is glaringly missing that would be a killer for me, trailer towing. I have seen no info for trailer towing capacity.

      1. Towing capacity was a question that was asked during our time with the VW product team. The official answer is that towing is not recommended with the Alltrack and SportWagen. Makes sense to me since the underpinnings are still a Golf. Anything more than a bike hitch rack on the back of a Golf is probably not a good idea.

        The 2015/2016 Outback has a towing limit of 2,700 – 3,000 lbs.

        1. I currently have a Sportwagen (manual) and can tow. The DSG cannot. Hopefully the Alltrack (manual) can tow or that is a deal breaker

      2. Towing for the VW’s is more limited than the larger Subarus especially those with upgraded engines. I’ve towed small boats and trailers with combined load/trailer weights to 1k to 1.5k pounds. Hitches for the Sportswagen and Alltrack are readily available.

    13. Russ,

      You have the correct prices for the 4Motion S trim. I updated the specs table.

      It was easy to see which is the better value when compiling the list of have and have nots between the SportWagen 4Motion and the Alltrack. The Alltrack is one helluva deal all things considered.

      One thing I left out is the panoramic sunroof. One cool feature not available on the 4Motion S trim of the SportWagen.

    14. Those MSRP numbers make no sense to me.

      4Motion S (From VW’s press release)
      $23,830 with manual transmission (plus $820 destination)
      $24,930 with automatic transmission (plus $820 destination)

      (From Car and Driver) The Alltrack S’s base price is $26,670, although that’s for the model with the six-speed manual transmission, which won’t arrive until next year. The six-speed DSG automatic verison will start at $27,770…

      1. Apples to apples, the difference is only $2,020 more the Alltrack. Considering all of the standard features on the Alltrack (the leatherette and Haldex AWD for starters) it is a no brainer to go for the Alltrack. The Sportwagen 4Motion is either overpriced or the Alltrack is a great deal.

          1. Ground clearance for the 4Motion S was measured with 15-inch wheels; the Alltrack was measured with its standard 17-inch wheels — this explains the 1.4-inch difference. Yet, the Alltrack’s ride height is only 0.6 inches higher.

    15. The good news is that you don’t have to wait too long before the Alltrack begins arriving in dealerships mid-October. If you really prefer the 6-speed manual, then it’s definitely worth waiting for.

    16. The Alltrack is exactly what I am looking for camping/kayaking/cycling – retired white male, 60+. May wait for the manual, but willing to give the automatic a test drive. Can hardly wait!

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