Wagons haven't been hot sellers since the '70s before minivans and crossovers became the de facto family haulers. Well, consider the fact that VW has decided to kill both the Golf SportWagen and the Alltrack another nail in the coffin of the station wagon segment. It's depressing news to us since we love the drivability and utility of station wagons, and the Golf SportWagen and Alltrack are two of the best wagons to toss around.
VW noted that over half of its sales in the U.S. come from crossovers, so the move makes sense. As far as the timeline is concerned, it appears the SportWagen will die first after 2019, but the Alltrack will survive through the end of 2020. Production of both wagon models is currently in Puebla, Mexico. After the wagons are gone, it will only build Golfs.
The Golf Alltrack isn't just a sensible wagon, it's also attractive with a clean design that's not overdone. The interior has great seats, despite the fact that you can't get them in leather, but the vinyl is very well done and can be confused for leather. It's the only station wagon in America where you can outfit every trim level with a manual transmission, from the base model S all the way to the top trim SEL model.
All trims come with VW's punchy 1.8-liter turbo-four with 168-hp and199 lb-ft of torque. You'll find the engine responsive and with plenty of grunt, especially mated with the excellent 6-speed manual transmission. The dual-clutch automatic is also very good with its quick-shift response. The interior isn't super fancy, but everything's easy to operate from the 8" touchscreen with proximity sensor, crisp analog gauges, flat-bottom steering wheel, and the easy HVAC control knobs.
Even in base S trim, you get a great set of standard equipment including 4Motion all-wheel drive, Off-Road mode, alloy wheels, Hill Descent Control, heated seats, and for 2019 a huge set of safety features with automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
It's a mystery to us that the SportWagen and Alltrack don't sell better. VW is spending more on crossovers and EVs, but the Alltrack is just totally overlooked. Hell, it even has better cargo space than some crossovers. 30.4 cubic feet behind the second row (better than the Mazda CX-5) and an impressive 66.5 cubic feet with the seats folded flat (better than the Ford Escape) means you don't have to compromise on practicality. The Alltrack just happens to be one of the best cars in the business that doesn't sell, and it deserves far more recognition.
We just might head out to our local VW dealer to buy one for ourselves (with a stick shift, of course), and you'd be smart to do the same before the model is gone, possibly forever.