Entering showrooms in the fall of 2017, the VW Golf Alltrack is a larger, more crossover-like version of the SportWagen with many identifiable elements from the Golf line. VW was careful not to mention diesel engines, however, when we saw the prototype in Denver, Colorado earlier this month.

The Golf SportWagen has proven to be a popular new wagon worldwide, building on the former Jetta wagon whose diesel variant was one of the most popular VW models sold in the US. With the craze for compact crossovers, though, came an opening for VW to exploit by offering a larger, more capable SportWagen to compete with Subaru, which dominates the wagon-styled sub-segment. The Alltrack offers all-wheel drive through Volkswagen's 4MOTION system and sits a bit higher off the ground than its Golf brethren. It's also a bit larger in both track and length.

Powering the new Golf Alltrack is the same 1.8-liter TSI four-cylinder noted in other VW vehicles including Golf and Jetta models. This engine produces 170 horsepower (127 kW) and 199 pound-feet (270 Nm) of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission will be standard equipment with a six-speed manual being offered after launch. All-wheel drive will also be standard.

The AWD system uses a current-generation Haldex-5 coupling system which is activated through an electro-hydraulic oil pump. During normal driving, front-wheel drive will be the norm in the Alltrack with the coupler engaging to give up to 50 percent of the drivetrain's torque to the rear wheels when necessary. Electronic differential locks at both front and rear further aid stability and power delivery when required.

The interior of the 2017 VW Alltrack is similar to the SportWagen, but with more upscale materials, including leatherette seating as standard. Aluminum pedals, door sill covers, and ambient lighting are also standard. A 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreen is standard for infotainment and includes a rearview camera and VW Car-net App-Connect connectivity. This is the latest-generation infotainment from Volkswagen. A prototype was on display at the Denver Auto Show in Colorado in early March and Gizmag was able to get inside the car to gain a feel for the interior. Rear seating is excellent, with plenty of legroom even when a tall driver is up front – something that can't be said of the SportWagen. Headroom and shoulder room are also good. VW did not yet have the new-generation infotainment on display for us to try, however, but we were impressed with the clarity and size of the new infotainment screen. A driver-centric cant to the center stack makes visibility of this small screen much better than can be had from a larger, rear-facing screen.

Cargo space stands at 30.4 cubic feet (860.8 liters) behind the rear seating, which expands to 66.5 cubic feet (1,883 liters) when the 60/40 rear seats are folded down. Release levers at the rear hatch add convenience to that folding action. Roof rails are optional or standard on several trim levels for the Alltrack.

Volkswagen will offer a myriad of active and passive safety systems in the 2017 Golf Alltrack. Highlights include automatic post-collision braking (to minimize whiplash and other injuries) and an intelligent crash response system as standard equipment. Optional upgrades include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane assist, and more.

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