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First Drive: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

Four-wheel-drive crossover good start for German maker's comeback.

by on Oct.07, 2016

The all-new 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack gives drivers the off-road capability they've been longing for in a small crossover.

The fallout from Volkswagen AG’s diesel test scandal has been blamed for the company’s woeful sales performance in the U.S. during the past year.

But while VW still can’t sell vehicles with diesel engines in the U.S., the VW brand also has been hurt by the huge shift that has moved more than 11 points of market share from the passenger car column of the sales ledger into the truck and utility vehicle column.

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It was as if Volkswagen’s product planners were preparing to play soccer when the game on tap was American-style football for which shoulder pads and helmets are required. (more…)

Is This VW’s Outback?

Will VW bring Passat Alltrack to the U.S.?

by on Oct.03, 2014

VW's Alltrack concept gets some SUV-style additions like better clearance, sill plates and wheel arch extensions.

Considering its rapid growth over the past few years, it’s hard to recall that Subaru was once a failing, third-tier Japanese brand that was giving serious thought to pulling out of the American market.

That all changed when the maker took its slow-selling station wagons, raised their ground clearance, slapped on a bit of cladding and rechristened them “Outback.” It marked the start of one of the U.S. auto industry’s most substantial turnarounds.

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Fast forward to 2014. Volkswagen sales have largely stalled after making some major gains earlier in the decade. The maker is struggling to figure out how to regain its lost momentum, promising to deliver new products that will be more in tune with the American marketplace. (more…)

VW Teases with Cross Coupe Concept

Production likely, but U.S. may not get another new VW model, the Passat Alltrack.

by on Nov.30, 2011

VW's Cross Coupe Concept reveals "the new face of future SUVs from Volkswagen."

One of the few foreign manufacturers to stage a presence during – or unveil any new products at – the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, Volkswagen rolled out two surprises for the assembled media masses.

The first to roll onto the stage will also be the first to reach market: the latest spin-off of the popular VW Passat platform, the new Alltrack.  But the maker also revealed a striking concept vehicle, the Cross Coupe, a senior official all but confirming it, too, will find a place in the maker’s global line-up.

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And, at the very least, expect its basic design to help reshape the maker’s current crossover line.

With its bigger wheels, increased approach and departure angles and upgraded suspension, the Passat Alltrack “closes the gap between the conventional Passat and VW’s SUVs) like the Tiguan,” noted product boss Ulrich Hackenberg, during a preview on the maker’s stand.

The new Passat Alltrack with VW's Ulrich Hackenberg.

The well-equipped crossover will come with a range of goodies, including leather-wrapped wheel and an optional navi package.  It’s got the familiar, cavernous Passat interior, here offering even more head and cargo space – with a rear cargo hold that handles 21.3 cubic feet of luggage – expanding to 61.1 cf with the rear seats folded down.

Four engines, two gas and two diesel, will be offered, including a 208 hp petrol offering and a high-mileage 138 hp turbo-diesel.

The Passat Alltrack was quickly followed by the Volkswagen Cross Coupe Concept – which appears destined to fill the niche just below the current Tiguan.

“We wanted to create a sense of understated performance,” VW design czar Klaus Bischoff said of the show car, with its sports car-like short overhangs and “condensed” greenhouse.  The goal was to give the Cross Coupe a feel “as if it were milled from a block of metal,” he added.

The front end features a grille whose crossbars now flow into the Cross Coupe’s xenon headlamps.  Look closely and you will see what Bischoff describes as “the new face of future SUVs for Volkswagen.”

But what about the concept itself?  Might it see production?

“Perhaps,” hinted the German giant’s CEO Martin Winterkorn.  The telltale smile and nod gave further indication that the Cross Coupe Concept is more than just a design exercise that will vanish from view once this auto show season wraps up.