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2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Makes U.S. Debut at New York Auto Show

Rugged Golf wagon finally reaches America, and with a stick.

Volkswagen will introduce the 2017 Golf Alltrack at the 2016 New York auto show, and it will come standard with the automaker's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and additional ground clearance compared to a standard SportWagen. The Golf Alltrack is based on the Golf SportWagen and will be go on sale this fall. Volkswagen originally showed the Golf Alltrack as a thinly disguised concept at the 2015 New York auto show, but it took until now for the model to reach production-ready status.

The key change versus a regular Golf SportWagen is that the Alltrack rides 0.8 inch higher, giving it a total of 6.3 inches of ground clearance (a Subaru Crosstrek, by comparison, has 8.7 inches). The Alltrack also gets all-wheel drive, whereas the SportWagen only powers its front tires.

"We heard from dealers and customers that they wanted to see a Golf SportWagen with the all-terrain capability that comes from an all-wheel-drive system," Joerg Sommer, vice president of product marketing and strategy at Volkswagen of America, said in a statement. "We are excited to introduce the Golf Alltrack to meet the active lifestyle needs of our customers."

Many of the other specs for the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack match those of the existing Golf hatchback and SportWagen. Under the hood will be a 1.8-liter turbo-four shared with the Golf TSI and Golf SportWagen, producing 170 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include Volkswagen's six-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox or a six-speed manual, the latter of which will be available at a later date. The car's all-wheel-drive system stays in front-wheel-drive mode by default to maximize fuel economy, but can send 50 percent of the drive torque to the rear wheels for better traction when it detects wheel slip. Like the Golf SportWagen, the Golf Alltrack has 30.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the split-folding rear seats, which expands to 66.5 cubic feet of room with the seats lowered.

Key design elements that distinguish the Golf Alltrack from the standard Golf SportWagen include unique bumpers, body cladding, wheel wells and side sills, and a honeycomb grille. S and SE models comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels while the range-topping SEL grades comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, matte mirror caps, and silver roof rails. Inside, leatherette upholstery is standard and the Golf Alltrack also receives a unique brown leatherette option.

The Alltrack also includes Volkswagen's newest infotainment system, with a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a standard rearview camera, and VW CAR-Net App-Connect connectivity, giving owners the ability to link their phone with car via Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and MirrorLink. The Golf Alltrack's drive mode selector includes an Off-road mode, which adds hill-descent control and optimizes the car's traction control system for unpaved roads. The car's instrument cluster also displays a compass, steering angle, and altitude when driving off-road. The Golf Alltrack will also be available with a full suite of active safety features including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous forward emergency braking, lane assist, and front and rear park distance control with park assist.

Pricing will be announced closer to the arrival of the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack in dealers this fall. Expect a small premium over the Golf Sportwagen, which runs from $22,445 to $30,285.