Subaru Forester vs. Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website

, Automotive Editor - March 15, 2017

Subaru has had the lifted, off-road-ready wagon game on lock for what seems like an eternity, but now Volkswagen is trying its hand in this segment with the new-for-2017 Golf Alltrack. While the Outback is Subaru’s most logical competitor to the Golf Alltrack, the Forester crossover may also find itself competing against the lifted VW for buyers’ affection.

Which one is the better buy: the Golf Alltrack or Forester? Continue reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Golf Alltrack & Forester »

What the Forester Gets Right

The Forester starts at a significantly lower base price than the Golf Alltrack – $22,595 to the VW’s $25,850 – giving buyers a lot of extra money in their pockets or room for plenty of options. The Forester also has an extra 2.4 inches of rear leg room and four cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats in place compared to the Golf Alltrack. The cargo gap gets even wider with the rear seat folded, as the Forester’s advantage jumps to 8.2 cubic feet.

The Forester’s base 2.5-liter four-cylinder matches the Golf Alltrack’s 170 horsepower, but its torque is short by 25 pound-feet. This engine does, however, return up to 28 miles per gallon combined, besting the Alltrack’s rating by two mpg. For those seeking more power, the Forester 2.0XT gains a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

While the Forester’s 1,500-pound towing capacity isn’t anything to write home about as a crossover, it easily beats the Golf Alltrack’s big, fat zero in this department – VW doesn’t recommend towing with this lifted wagon.

What the Golf Alltrack Gets Right

The Golf Alltrack comes standard with extra features that make it look and feel more upscale than the standard Forester. These include its 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, heated side-view mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-speaker audio system, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen.

While it can't match the Forester 2.0XT’s output, the Golf Alltrack’s optional dual-clutch transmission is a more engaging unit than Subaru’s optional continuously variable transmission. Additionally, the Golf Alltrack's handling, while not its strongest point, is superior to the Forester’s abilities in the corners.

Who’s the Volkswagen Alltrack Good For?

While the Alltrack loses to the Subaru Forester in key areas, it does have some features buyers may prefer. For example, its lower ride height while still maintaining some off-road capabilities may appease select buyers. The behavior of the Golf's transmission, with its snappier shifts and generally more tolerable behavior, should stand out among drivers averse to a CVT.

Verdict: Subaru Forester

The Forester has been around for some time, so it has the crossover game just about figured out. It not only provides an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance and a legendary all-wheel-drive system, but the 2.0XT model also has plenty of power and delivers a 6.3-second sprint to 60 mph. And all this comes in a crossover with plenty of room for passengers and cargo.

Take a closer look at the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack »

Take a closer look at the Subaru Forester »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website