FEED - MotorWeek
Road Test: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
Goss' Garage: Protect your Paint
Tire Tracks: '69 Camaro Z/28
Quick Spin: 2018 BMW X3
Quick Spin: 2017 Jeep Renegade
Quick Spin: 2017 Callaway SC757 Corvette Z06 Aerowagen
Road Test: 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Engine: 1.8 liter
Torque: 199 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 7.4 seconds
1/4 mile: 15.8 seconds @ 88 mph
EPA: 22 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.7 tons/yr
Volkswagen has a host of big and even bigger crossovers hitting the market. But if you really don’t want to go “big”, and think that a compact all-wheel-driver would fill your needs; than may we suggest setting your sights on the Golf Alltrack. A 5-door wagon that is a true all-weather, all-road runabout.
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack follows a simple formula used by Subaru, Volvo, and even AMC’s Eagle if you want to go way back. Take a station wagon, jack up the suspension, make some form of 4x4 system standard, add a touch of exterior ruggedness, and voila; a fun little all-wheel-drive 5 -door that’s as easy to drive as it is capable. That’s the VW Golf Alltrack.
Like the Golf SportWagen that it’s based on, output from its 1.8-liter turbo I4 engine is modest, at 170-horsepower. But its 199 lb-ft. of torque helps it feel much peppier.
In the spirit of VW, a 6-speed manual transmission is standard; the option being a DSG automatic, also with 6-gears.
Things we’ve always praised about the Golf, including its super-solid feel, very little noise intrusion, and fun disposition, are all still here. Add in that you now sense you really can go just about anywhere in the Alltrack, and you’ve got a real winner.
We still think VW’s pop-out badge hatch release is brilliant, and were further impressed once we opened it up to find a very deep, unobstructed cargo space. There’s 30.4 cubic-ft. for filling up with stuff; 66.5 if you fold the seatbacks down. That’s just short of most compact crossovers; and much more than the typical subcompact utility.
As for the driver’s space, there are some special touches to help it feel a step above the SportWagen; including nicer materials and updated trim. It’s not SUV roomy, but there is adequate space to get comfortable up front, as well as more than expected room in back.
The touch screen interface doesn’t cut the edge as much as it once did, and the whole dash theme looks a bit outdated. For 2018, Alltracks gain an upgraded screen with more features.
VW still leaves plenty of manual controls however, and they all work very well.
More personality has been added outside. Now, we’d stop short of calling Alltrack truly rugged looking, but we very much like the brighter cladding over the usual black, as it helps it to look more outgoing, perhaps even classy; think remote country club, more so than back country. Ground clearance is up only 1.4-inches over the SportWagen, at 6.9.
And that does take away from the typical Golf handling experience somewhat. Body roll is not that much more pronounced, but we did experience a lightness to the rear that gave us pause at first. Until we realized that we were really flying through here.
So there’s no arguing, it remains highly capable; it just doesn’t have that nailed down feel we’re used to; perhaps we still had thoughts of GTI in our heads when we took to the slalom course.
While the engine is willing, there’s some hesitation at launch; as the car seems to be questioning your motives when you go full throttle. Once we got it rolling, we managed to hit 60 in a fine 7.4-seconds.
That same tardy feel exists in the transmission as well, really stretching out shifts. 15.8 was our best ¼-mile time, at 88 miles-per-hour.
We’d consider a 122-foot average stopping distance from 60 a touch long these days, but we did find the Alltrack to be very stable, and the brake pedal had a nice firm feel.
As for when the going gets rough, an off road setting has been added to the drive modes. It modulates traction-control and hill decent control to match rougher terrain. Together with the already capable 4Motion all-wheel drive system, you do feel kinda unstoppable.
On that note, active safety including automatic emergency braking is available.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an automatic Alltrack are 22-City, 32-Highway, and 26-Combined. For a slightly better than average Energy Impact Score of 12.7-barrels of annual oil consumption, and 5.7-tons of CO2 emitted.
With base pricing of $26,670, Alltrack is not overpriced by any means; but it is about $4,000 over a base Subaru Crosstrek, and about $2,000 over a 4Motion SportWagon.
We’ve been waiting for quite a while now, for a true Subaru-fighter to emerge; and while this 2017 Volkswagen Alltrack certainly qualifies, and there’s a lot to like about it; many will find it hard to justify the step-up in price. Still, no Subaru delivers driver satisfaction like a Volkswagen. So, just like the rest of the compact Golf lineup, VW has done almost everything just right, setting on the right track for Alltrack.
Road Test: 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport
Goss' Garage: Tire Killers
Two Wheelin': Honda CB1100 EX
Motor News: 2017 L.A. Auto Show
Long Term Update: Kia Niro | BMW X1
Road Test: 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
In a city full of stars… our attention was drawn to the cars at the 2017 Automobility L.A. Or, once you get past all the hoopla of press days, the 2017 LA Auto Show!
More Porsches are sold in California than any other state, so, fittingly, at the LA convention center they introduced a new 718 Boxster GTS, and the 718 Cayman GTS. Among the highlights, horsepower rises to 365.
LA was also the first auto show for the 370-hp Porsche 911 Carrera T. The 'T' is for "Touring", the lightest car in the 911 Carrera lineup.
Porsche also showed the wagonish 680-hp Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo.
And, the 3rd generation Porsche Cayenne SUV.
Chevrolet wowed the top-down performance crowd with the 755 horsepower Corvette ZR1 Convertible.
BMW’s electric performance took center stage with the world premiere of the 369-hp i8 Roadster.
Mercedes-Benz showed up with an all-new CLS four-door coupe posing for its world debut.
And the wraps came off a sleeker 2018 Mazda 6.
Land Rover took luxury even further revealing the Range Rover SVAutobiography.
INFINITI arrived with the 2019 QX50, the first production variable compression ratio engine.
And the new Lexus RX350L adds a most sought after third row.
At Lincoln, the MKX gets a makeover including a new name: Nautilus.
Volvo arrived with the downsized but very upscale XC40 utility.
The biggest SUV making its debut was the 8-passenger Subaru Ascent.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler adds even more off-road capabilities.
Toyota is also thinking about outdoor fun in a small ute with the Future Toyota Adventure Concept.
A sporty name, but this time as a compact crossover, introducing the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
The subcompact-ute segment will also grow with the Nissan Kicks…and Hyundai KONA coming to the U.S.
While one of our favorites, the Kia Sorento gets fresh styling and features.
And that’s the latest from the City of Angels for this week’s Motor News.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 147 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 10.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.6 seconds @ 79 mph
EPA: 24 mpg city / 30 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 12.2 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.4 tons/yr
You could argue that Nissan played a big part in jumpstarting the whole subcompact crossover mania with their funky 2011 Juke. Well, I guess one entry isn’t enough, as they’re doubling down on that crowded segment with the Rogue Sport. Let’s see if this one jives just as well.
The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport may be small in size, but Nissan knows there are big sales to be had in the wildly popular subcompact crossover segment.
But, first things first. The Rogue Sport is not a smaller version of the compact Nissan Rogue crossover. It is actually a completely different vehicle. It’s our version of the Nissan Qashqai which is quite popular elsewhere, especially in Asia.
The imported Rouge Sport is 2.3 inches shorter in wheelbase compared to the Rouge, but a full foot shorter overall.
Its shorter stature, combined with the unimproved roads in many of its markets, translates into a rougher ride than the U.S. made Rogue. On the other hand, it’s size is perfect for scooting around crowded cities and fitting tight parking spots.
That’s where it shines most since in automotive lexicon, “sport” in the name mostly means a smaller version of something; as there’s not a strong amount of performance to be had in the Rogue Sport. Still, it feels solid and capable for a ute of this stature.
While different in design, the Sport still has a strong resemblance to big brother Rogue, from the aggressive V-Motion grille, to the swoopy hatchback-like rear with wrap around lighting. The body sides are more dynamic, as is the black cladding below.
Standard wheels are 16s, with 17s and 19s in upper trims.
Surprisingly, build quality inside is not quite as good as the Juke, and the materials make even the base Rogue look borderline luxury. But having said that, the Rogue Sport is far more practical than the Juke, with much roomier seating, as well additional space for cargo; 19.9 cubic-ft. behind the folding seatbacks, and 53.3 with them folded.
Gauges are simple and clear, just as we prefer them to be, and all but base trim gets push button starting.
Infotainment works quite well with a nice, compact, easy-to-master control layout and very responsive touchscreen, which can include Navigation. A basic backup camera is standard, with Nissan’s Around View Monitor available.
In addition to being fairly spacious for such a small package, we found seating both in front and rear impressively comfortable.
Unlike many in the segment, including their own turbo-powered Juke, Nissan sticks with tried-and-true naturally aspirated power here.
A familiar 2.0-liter I4 outputs just 141-horsepower and 147 lb-ft. of torque; and being saddled with a CVT, only adds to its sluggish feel. Front-wheel-drive is standard, with all-wheel-drive available on all trim levels.
Indeed, anemic output and CVT trans are not on any car guy’s wish list. Our full throttle 0-60 run took a full 10.0-seconds. The ¼-mile, 17.6 at just 79 miles-per-hour. Engine noise was pronounced, sounding like a 2-stroke running on Red Bull.
The CVT does go through simulated shifts, which in daily driving keeps engine noise tolerable.
Our track impressions changed for the better on the handling course. Through the tight gates, there was decent grip and a very confident feel. Steering was a touch slow and on the disconnected side; but the Rogue Sport does what its told without much fuss.
That’s all thanks to a 4-wheel independent suspension with stabilizer bars and twin-tube shock absorbers; as well as Nissan’s Active Trace Control which uses selective braking to help pivot you around corners.
We had no issues with braking performance either. Stops from 60 averaged just 114-feet; with short, firm pedal travel, and on overall quality feel.
Basic safety systems are standard, but you’ll have to step up to mid-level SV trim to add Forward Emergency Braking, and top SL if you want Lane Departure Warning.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings with all-wheel-drive are 24-City, 30-Highway, and 27-Combined. For a slightly better than average Energy Impact Score of 12.2-barrels of yearly oil consumption with 5.4 tons of CO2 emissions.
Pricing starts at $22,380; about $1,000 over the Juke, but around 3-grand less than a Rogue. All-wheel-drive adds $1,350 more.
As hot as the Rogue has gotten of late, outselling even the Altima to become Nissan’s number one selling vehicle; a scaled down look-alike is a no brainer, even with the funkier Juke still in the lineup. The 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport is more of an economy-minded effort, but one that’s big on entry-level practicality. We think it’s right sized at the right time.
The totally redesigned 2019 Silverado is expected to use a combination of steel and aluminum to shed weight. Many details are still a secret, but we'll get those in Detroit in just a few short weeks, so stay tuned!
In MotorWeek Podcast 171, John Davis and the gang talk about MotorWeek's coverage of the 2017 LA Auto Show. Brian Robinson shares about his latest motorcycle tests. Plus, the panel talks about their favorite new cars, and they answer a viewer question about the EPA’s CO2 ratings for vehicles.
Road Test: 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550
Goss' Garage: Resto Radio
FYI: Full Service Gas Station
Quick Spin: 2018 Genesis G80 Sport
Quick Spin: 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive
Quick Spin: 2018 Ford Expedition
Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
Call us crazy, but even with all of the Porsche books we’ve read over the years, we can’t get enough of them. The latest to cross our desk is Porsche: The Classic Era by Dennis Adler. The first part of this book focuses on Ferdinand Porsche’s early years as a highly sought after automotive engineer who always dreamed of building an affordable sports car. But that dream kept getting put on the back burner due to other priorities, such as designing the Volkswagen Beetle, developing race cars, and yes unfortunately getting forced into engineering vehicles for the German war machine. So, it wasn’t until 1948, that the first Porsche 356 prototype hit the streets. The rest, as they say, is history. From there, the book fast forwards to the development of the 911, does a cursory look at Porsche’s racing cars, and even runs through some Porsche advertisements and literature. So, no matter how many Porsche books you’ve already read, you’re sure to learn something new from this Must Read.
Engine: 4.0 liter
Torque: 450 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
1/4 mile: 15.1 seconds @ 91 mph
EPA: 11 mpg city/ 11 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 30.0 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 13.7 tons/yr
The original Jeep was the first military vehicle that found widespread popularity in civilian dress. Then came the Hum-Vee, which also spawned GM’s hummer brand of over-the-top 4x4s. Still, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, or G-Wagen, stands apart. Now in production for almost 40-years, the “Gelandewagon” has long since left its military side behind, and become the pinnacle of Mercedes exclusivity.
Whether it’s our own Jeep and Hummer, Japan’s Land Cruiser, or Britain’s Land Rover, every developed country seems to have a battle-ready vehicle built to conquer both enemy territory as well as suburbia. For almost 40 years in Germany that role has been played by the Mercedes-Benz G-wagen, or as it’s now known, the G-Class.
As has always been the case with all of these military-inspired utes, the G-Class has become more-and-more popular, continuing to grow more user-friendly, with ever increasing levels of comfort and luxury.
But then every once in a while, engineers seem intent on proving that these leather-lined rigs are built for a lot more than just trolling country clubs or making a statement in the carpool lane. Thus, we get special versions like this 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4X4 squared.
It’s large, in charge, and towers over just about everything on the road. Yet despite the massive rolling stock, jacked-up suspension, and high center of gravity; steering remains responsive, and there’s very minimal wandering, even at highway speeds. Of course there’s not much sidewall flexing with these 22-inch wheels wearing 325/55 Pirelli Scorpion A/Ts either. Overall, it feels more tame and confident, than macho or overbearing.
Moving this behemoth around is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that delivers 416–horsepower and 450 lb-ft. of torque. It feels fantastically powerful, just adding to the assertive nature that this truck gives you.
We let it loose at our test track and hit 60 in just 6.5-seconds. For reference that’s over 3 seconds faster than the last Hummer H2 we tested. There’s enough low end grunt at launch to spin these 22s up a bit, but not enough to make it too difficult to get away cleanly.
Plenty of mid-range beef keeps it moving, while the 7G-Tronic automatic clicks through gears quickly and firmly. It’s easy to forget you’re riding so high off the ground, as the ¼-mile flies by in 15.1-seconds and 91 miles-per-hour.
Perhaps more impressively, the 4X4 squared will stop from 60 in just 112-feet. Pretty amazing considering it weighs an astounding 6,700-lbs.
But, on to what this thing is really all about, off road supremacy. Mercedes has taken the already capable G-wagen to the ultimate extreme, and it all starts with new portal axles.
The quick and dirty way of explaining what they are, for those of you who don’t read Crazy Offroad Vehicle Weekly; is the rear differential and axles, instead of being directly inboard of the wheels, are mounted much higher, up in the frame. And power gets down to the wheels through a set of gears. It allows for a whopping 17-inches of ground clearance; that’s about 10-inches over a stock G-class.
All three differentials can be locked, and while there is some electrical assistance, it’s nothing like a nearly automated Land Rover. Here, you pretty much take control of everything.
After two weeks of blasting around hill and dale in this beast, we found it hard not to be nervous about tearing up the terrain in this thing. But, it seemed to laugh off the worst we could muster around here. Our biggest test complaints come down to defaulting to eco power and comfort suspension every time you power it up, and the awkwardly low hanging rear bumper obviously done for compliance sake.
Once you manage the extremely high up entry, you’ll find nothing lacking in creature comforts. This brute is every bit a Mercedes-Benz; whether you’re talking about the quilted leather upholstery, climate-controlled seats, or features like navigation and onboard WiFi.
The boxy Bronco-ish body gets a lift of its own; while fender flares get serious extensions to cover all of that rubber.
And yes, Government Fuel Economy Ratings are as abysmal as you expect, 11-City, 11-Highway, and 11-Combined. Hey, at least they’re consistent. Somehow, we managed to eke out 13.3 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
The Energy Impact Score is about as bad as it gets too, burning through 30.0-barrels of oil every year, and emitting 13.7-tons of CO2.
By far, the worse numbers are the OMG prices. While you can get into a base G550 for $123,325, you’ll have to pony up at least $225,925 to get squared. Of course, you could build an equally capable Wrangler for half of that, but that’s not exactly the point of this rig now is it?
So, what is the point of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4X4 squared? Well, it’s a way for Mercedes-Benz engineers to showcase what the brand is capable of. And at the same time, if you can afford it, you get to enjoy their labor of love, on or off road, in one of the most insane vehicles we’ve ever driven.
Road Test: 2018 Audi A5/S5
Clean Cities: West Virginia Electric Charging Stations
Goss' Garage: Death Wobble
Muscle Car Memories: AMX
Long Term Update: Honda CR-V | Chrysler Pacifica
Road Test: Kia Optima Hybrid