Almost 3 months ago I bought a 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SE with a six speed manual transmission. It’s powered by a turbocharged 1.8l variant of the EA888 and that power is sent wherever the Haldex AWD system decides (Mostly to the front wheels).
This vehicle was bought for the purpose of having a safe and convenient vehicle for my child, without sacrificing my driving soul in the process. A slightly used RRS had been my planned “Dad whip” for years, but after owning the S3 I decided that I need the third pedal. This made the decision relatively easy for me because I wanted a brand new, fast, wagon, with 3 pedals. After you subtract “fast”, the options are:
VW Golf Alltrack
VW Golf Sportwagen
The sportwagen is the same car, lowered without the plastic cladding and a different set of options. The only way you can get the GSW with 3 pedals, the 1.8 engine (as opposed to the 1.4), and the Haldex AWD is with the base model. That means cloth seats, poop headlights/lighting in general, and no sunroof.
The Alltrack however can be had with a manual in any trim, and even the base Alltrack is AWD with vinyl seats. I however was only looking at the SE and SEL trims mainly because of the lighting package and the upgraded wheels, but also because of the sunroof! I am a “slicktop” guy I don’t like a sunroof. However the sunroof on the GSW/Alltrack is pretty much the entire roof, and when the salesman rolled it back on the test drive...My little girl quietly utters from the back seat “whooooooooooooawooooooooowwwwwwwwweee”, as she looked up at the sky. The SE and SEL come with the added bonus of those enhanced driver nannies...You know auto braking, and lane keep assist... I hate that kind of stuff appreciate it when the baby is with me.
This car was relatively difficult to buy...First because of me. I was getting a green one with the tan interior or nothing! I will almost never sacrifice on a new car, because it’s a new car...I should be able to get whatever I want. So dealer number one went looking for a green one, and said they’d call me when they had ANY stick shift all track for me to drive. He never called but did send me an email asking “what he need to do to get me down to the dealer”...Fuck off guy.
Here I paused my search for a few days and called Jalopnik’s Patrick George and he recommended that I drive one before I proceed. So I found another dealer with one further away, and scheduled the drive.
Dealer number two really helped with my decision, but I didn’t buy from them. They helped because they had a green one albeit automatic, parked right next to the grey one they had for me to drive. In pictures I hated the grey and absolutely loved the green. In real life I thought damn the grey is nice! And the green, while dirty looked more blue and just didn’t do it for me the way I thought it would. Anyway this dealer offered me $1000 for trade on my 2001 Ranger 5 speed manual 3l V6 with 71000 miles! I said no thanks to the trade and they printed their offers and showed me the door!? I never said no thanks to buying the Alltrack...I was super disappointed but I wasn’t going to turn around and buy from someone who was just like “Ok, peace.”
It’s worth stopping here to say that every dealer that I have spoken to thus far (4 in total) have all tried to sell me a Tiguan either over the phone, when I got there, or both...
Finally I called dealer number three. I asked if they had the car (identical to the one that I drove at the previous dealer), told them I was coming to drive it and drove it. Then bought it, out the door in less than two hours!
I like a wagon. This one borders on boring, but I have always liked the understated but sharp lines of most recent VW/Audi’s. I would have given it an 8, but there is one angle where it kind of looks like a CUV/Minivan.
The interior is really nice as it is on pretty much any newer European car. It looks every bit as nice as my S3 inside, however the seats are garbage. They’re like fat people computer chairs. My mother bought a 2019 GTI SE with the sport seats, and that is what I’m talking about! I have been scouring forums for a set of GTI seats ever since.
It’s a little peppy, but nothing that will ignite your senses. Blows the doors off of my wife’s forester, but that is not saying much. However I’m planing to have it tuned in the very near future so the rating for this category will be higher for the long term review. APR+ gives the car another 70hp and keeps the ridiculous 6 year factory warranty.
It stops well. It also brakes for you which I tested with a cardboard box on my street. It’s worth mentioning that I did this with my seat belt off and the car launched me into the windshield when it stopped to avoid killing the box I setup...Dash cam audio *smack* “Ack, you fuckin’ dumb no seat belt wearing idiot”
Super smooth and quiet. Amazing highway MPG (I’m getting 36). It is a really comfortable car. Like all German cars but particularly VAG/BMW everything is in the right spot, buttons are labeled using logic, all of the windows are one touch...the little things. For a beige mobile, this is a really nice ride.
This car drives just like it’s non-wagon counterpart, really well. There are two really hard up hand right turns approaching my neighborhood. I always whip around them...no tires noise, minimal body roll, and even a little steering feedback. The rear end get’s a little squirmy around soft fast turns. I’m planning on fitting this car with the stock suspension from the Golf R to stiffen everything up without going overboard.
*as far as non-performance cars go
It’s a manual so that automatically get’s you 8 points in my book. What I now know as the “clutch delay valve” is present on a lot of cars, however I have only ever noticed it on VAG manuals. It’s an awful feeling, so the first mod I did was to remove it and bleed the clutch. It’s much better now, but it’s nothing special. Even the outfit tuning my car said that I would be looking at a clutch far sooner than I think. I’ll go with a single mass unit and a lighter flywheel. That should also deal with the rev hang.
My car did not come with the “Fender” audio system. However I added the OEM amp and sub (amplifies the speakers too). It now sounds as good as almost any aftermarket system I have installed.
This car came with almost all of the bells and whistles, car play all that jazz. Then I bought a Ross-Tech cable and customized all kinds of other stuff:
If the windows are down the will now close automatically if they sense rain.
Windows will go up and down with the key fob
I can use the key fob to lock and unlock the car with the ignition running
I have coded out the amber LED’s in the front headlights
I coded in a “gauge sweep” when your first start the car
The sticker on this car was just a hair over 34k. It had been sitting on the lot since February, I bought in July. So I knew there would be a little wiggle room, but this is the second best deal that I’ve made. I walked with it for $26500 and the 500 was only because I pre-purchased 4 annual alignments. Apparently its $500 for an alignment on cars with those lane keep sensors...
If you read the whole thing you saw that I mentioned a few mods that I have planned. I’m generally a no mod or very conservative mod guy, I’m not sure what it is about this VW but I want to change a lot on it and make it fast.
Thus far I have just slapped on some oem parts (splash guards, custom sun shade. etc). Obviously I’ve removed the CDV. I also had it tinted and pulled off all of the rear badges. I threw some wheel spacers on to flush up the wheels with the fenders. Next it’s getting tuned, after that a set of wheels (Forgestar F14's are currently leading the pack). I’ve bought up all of the cheap parts I need for the Golf R suspension. I still need the springs, and bushing kit.
This car is not my daily driver
I always thought of a dad car meeting two needs, baby taxi and daily driver...However my 1975 BMW is so fucking good that I drive it every day. It’s nearly been a year since I sealed the deal on it and I will go into greater detail about how it’s the greatest car in existence when I review it next month. So the Alltrack is baby taxi and road trips without the dogs.
Who was cut to get this car?
Teddy Redson, my second beloved ranger. I sold him for a screaming deal to my FIL. I offered it to him for $4000 and he gave me $4500 because he felt it was too good a deal, haha. I mention this because I have missed Teddy’s bouncy slow pickup fun, but I have not missed having a pickup. We’ve got the Alltrack and my Wife’s forester, both with roof racks. I do a lot of my own work on my house and “farm” and I have had no issue using either car to get all of the materials needed.