Volkswagen Golf Alltrack vs Subaru Outback

Alltrack or Outback

Volkswagen is taking a step onto Subaru’s turf with the launch of the 2017 VW Golf Alltrack, and the hype is on. So I thought I’d line the numbers up next to one another and see how this new vehicle compares the vehicle it’s priced to compete with – the Subaru Outback.

This conversation starts with those three magical letters, “AWD.” In some parts of the country, like here in Michigan, all-wheel drive is sought after for utility during the snowy months. Both of these vehicles have it, and the new Sportwagen is a natural competitor to the Outback, a vehicle which has been a mainstay of the wagon/SUV crossover.

What makes this competition worthy of conversation is that the Alltrack comes in at a price point that will make it enticing for buyers in the segment. So lets take a look at how they compare, by the numbers.

VW Golf Alltrack S

2017 VW Golf Alltrack

MSRP: $26,670

Gas Mileage: 30 Hwy / 20 City

Engine: 1.8L Inline 4-Cyl.

Horsepower: 170 hp @4500 RPM

Torque: 199 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM

Head Room: 38.6 in

Total Leg Room: 76.8 in

Hip Room: N/A (Front Shoulder Room: 55.9 in)

Cargo Capacity: 30.4 cu ft / 66.5 cu ft with rear seat folded down

Subaru Outback 2.5i

2017 Subaru Outback

MSRP: $25,465

Gas Mileage: 32 Hwy / 26 City

Engine: 2.5L H-4

Horsepower: 175 @ 5800 RPM

Torque: 174 @ 4000 RPM

Front Head Room: 40.8 in

Total Leg Room: 81 in

Front Hip Room: 55.0 in

Cargo Capacity: 35.5 cu ft / 73.3 cu ft with rear seat folded down

Car for the Money

Price is where Subaru has always had an advantage compared to the other AWD vehicles available, and the Alltrack competes very well with the Outback here. A report from Automobile points out that that the MSRP listed above is for the 6-speed manual version. The dual-clutch model will go for $27,770.

The specs above are for the base models. What happens when you upgrade? For 2017, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SE model jumps up to $31,350. This gets you the panoramic sunroof (my achilles heel), push-button start and a Fender audio system.

The Subaru Outback Premium brings the price up to $27,695. That upgrade includes dual zone climate control, heated seats, a bigger touchscreen and some other tech goodies. For $32,000, just a touch over the Alltrack SE, you can take home the Outback 2.5i Limited. This gets you blind spot monitoring, remote start and a rear traffic warning system.

My Two Cents

This is a tough comparison to make. In terms of Subaru competitors, the Golf Sportwagen is more like the Crosstrek in size. Yet it’s priced to compete with the Outback, considering that as priced above the Alltrack base is going to be a thousand bucks more than the best Crosstrek trim.

As far as the numbers go, the Outback beats the Golf in terms of passenger and cargo space. On paper, the Alltrack should provide a more responsive driving experience.

If headroom is an issue for you, then these vehicles might give you a little bit of trouble. The average head room for a small SUVs was about 40 inches. The Outback comes in right on average, and the Golf falls two inches below average. As always, these are numbers and your true fit is going to depend on your body.

A lot of auto writers will make at least a little hoopla about off-road performance. Now, I happen to think that your average Outback and Golf buyers don’t care to do any more off-road driving than driving down the dirt road headed back to the holler at uncle Jim’s farm, or parking in the grass at the cider mill. For that purpose, both of these wagons are more than capable.

Have you driven either of these vehicles? Let me know about your experience in the comments below!

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