Have you ever considered the Golf but thought, ‘Hey, this car could use more room’? Or have you always been a fan of wagons, but hesitated because of the fact that there wasn’t one in the market that you fell in love with, and that your wallet also loved? If you answered YES to either of those questions, I might just have the answer for you.
The vehicle feels pretty awesome when driving enthusiastically, credited to its well-developed MQB frame, along with its lighter weight compared to its main competitor, the Subaru Outback. Having driven a few Outbacks, I can tell you right off the bat that the transmission in the Outback is absolutely abysmal. A sad, exhausted 14 year old monkey could probably shift faster than the automatic gearbox in the Outback, and even though the 2.5L Boxer engine has more displacement than the 1.8L in the VW, the throttle response is nowhere near the peppy feel of the turbo 1.8L. On top of that, the Outback has 1.9 inches of extra ground clearance sitting next to an AllTrack, causing it to have more body roll.
That isn’t to say that the AllTrack reigns supreme over the Outback. The Outback is cheaper, has more cargo room, more space for passengers, and the Subaru Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system is miles ahead the 4Motion in the AllTrack. But at the end of the day, if someone were to ask me which car I’d rather go for, I wouldn’t even have to hesitate and would answer with a firm “AllTrack”, any day of the week. And here’s why:
Instead of conforming with the rest of the tree-huggers who are standing outside the parliament building yelling, “Save the Leprechauns”, I’d rather hop in my AllTrack, drown out the sound of those subaru-owning protesters with the sound of the fantastic Fender speaker system, and make my way down to the local roof rack store and get myself a ski box. I can always compensate for the lack of luggage space or ground clearance, but you can’t make up the lack of style and driving feel. I can already hear the Subaru Fanboys’ angry voices yelling, “You could up the boost pressure and throw some coilovers on and the Outback would be oh-so-much better than the AllTrack”, but I beg to differ. By the time one would have installed coilovers in the Outback, the AllTrack would’ve driven off, and would still have the factory warranty. All without compromising what really matters in a car, at least according to me. Plus, these cars are only really fitted with AWD instead of FWD for the peace of mind when the family is going up to the pass for a season of snowboarding, or going down gravel roads on the way to go camping for a weekend.
Looking at its price and its creature comforts, the AllTrack really does seem like the obvious choice to me. Unlike its competitors, the test car came with Adaptive Cruise Control, along with angle adjusting headlights and even LED front and rear lights. The infotainment system in the VW is one of the most comprehensive, and the implementation of the proximity sensor is quite amazing; it brings up an independent set of submenus if you bring your finger NEAR the screen. Yes, it was the top of the line trim, but even with every option possible on the car it does not go over the $40k mark, which is amazing for its value.
All in all, the Golf AllTrack is simply better than the Outback. It rides better, drives better, and looks better. Though the base price may be $3k higher, that is a small price to pay for a higher quality trim on the inside, and everything else that is more desirable in the AllTrack compared to the OutBack; especially if you’re like me, and you want to actually drive the car that you bought.