In a world dominated by crossover sport utilities, an all-wheel drive station wagon really stands out. For those looking for a family vehicle that isn’t a big beast, the Golf Alltrack is a great choice. With standard all-wheel drive, cargo capacity on par with similarly sized SUVs, and a sleek look, the Alltrack is compelling. Plus, for enthusiasts, every trim level of the Golf Alltrack has a manual transmission option.

The Alltrack is based on the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, which has a unique style that mixes both European and American estate/wagon elements. The SportWagen, however, does not have all-wheel drive and is a bit plainer in looks than is its sibling.

Following most of the current-generation Volkswagen styling, the Golf Alltrack has a thin nose with an understated grille and fast-paced design. The hood rises quickly to the raked windscreen before leveling off at the roofline. The lower portion of the bodywork rides high off the ground, an element that is accentuated by wheel well surrounds and a high beltline.

The overall design is classic wagon, with a sleek appearance and strong affinity for both style and versatility. Making the Alltrack one of the better-looking options on the market today, eschewing much of the bulkiness that accompanies most of the sport utilities against which it will be judged.

2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack: Interior

Inside, the Alltrack follows the Volkswagen penchant for austerity as a design element. This function-begets-form philosophy has made VW a love-hate relationship with some consumers. The sensible, but often plain, designs of the company’s interiors can throw some people off. Especially when they’ve become used to the flashy, bling-oriented designs of some competitors.

Getting past that, however, reveals that the VW interior is always functional and well-placed. Everything is easy to find, easy to operate, and comfortable. The larger-than-expected windows and small pillars mean excellent visibility for the driver and a feeling of more spaciousness for passengers.

The greatest downside to the 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is its back seats. They are more cramped than are some small crossovers, offering less legroom overall. For families hauling kids, that’s probably not a concern and it’s made up for with the cargo space offered in the Alltrack.

Cargo in the 2019 Alltrack is measured at 30.4 cubic feet behind the second row. Folding those seats down, which happens quickly thanks to the seat-release button in the cargo area, reveals a flat floor and 66.5 cubic feet of room. Parents will also like the easy-access LATCH anchors in the rear seating for child safety seats.

2019 VW Alltrack: Everyday

On the everyday, the Alltrack is a nice little ride. The manual transmission shifts smoothly and without fuss and adds a fun factor to the car that is often missed in today’s utilities. The infotainment is a bit simplistic at its base level, but voice controls and standard technologies like Bluetooth and CarPlay/Android for smartphones make up for this. The upgrade option adds a bigger screen for those who’d want that. That upgrade includes compatibility with Pandora, Spotify, and other internet radio apps. Satellite radio is standard in the Alltrack.

Getting into and out of the 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is easy thanks to its overall design and lower build. Seating is very adjustable as well. A downer is the amount of road noise that translates into the Golf’s cabin, especially on the highway, a result of the large windows and proliferation of hard plastics in the cabin. The noise levels are no worse than any other entry-level crossover, but are noticeable.

Our Assessment

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack comes well-equipped at its base level, the S trim, and that might suit many buyers. The other two trim levels, the SE and SEL, add a few things like better infotainment and wheel upgrades.

Because the Alltrack is so capable, however, we think even the base model is better than most other options out there. This Volkswagen has everything an active lifestyle car requires, including roof rails and ground clearance, without charging heavily to get them. We like the 1.8-liter turbo and the manual six-speed transmission for their fun factor and responsiveness. The dual-clutch automatic, however, is still a great option as well.

With a price tag of only $26,895, the 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is one of the least expensive family-ready sport utilities on offer. Especially for the equipment listed and the lifestyle it promises. For about $30,000, the Alltrack can be extremely well-equipped for those needing a bit more tech in their experience.

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is one of the best small family vehicles we’ve driven this year.