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VW launches off-road Golf Alltrack

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Following the proliferation of off-roaders large and small, more and more companies are offering standard cars with the option of raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive. This is exactly what Volkswagen is now doing with its evergreen Golf, the 'Alltrack' version of which is making its world premiere at the Paris motor show.

The German company has given its Golf Estate a dose of steroids, with butch body styling, jacked up suspension and four-wheel drive for extra traction on slippery surfaces – to create the Golf Alltrack. This bold new off-road estate will be available with four turbocharged engines – a 178bhp petrol engine and three diesels with up to 182bhp.

Most economical is the 1.6-litre TDI diesel, which returns official fuel economy of 60.1mpg and CO2 emissions of just 124g/km – low enough for £110 road tax under current rules. Acceleration is less impressive, however, with the car taking a lengthy 12.0 seconds to lumber to 62mph. Both economy and emissions are substantially worse on the Alltrack than the standard Golf Estate too – with claimed economy on this model down 12.3mpg and the 0-62mph sprint taking nearly a second longer – due to the power-sapping all-wheel drive system.

Next in line is the 2.0-litre TDI with 148bhp. This model returns 57.6mpg and emissions of 127g/km, though it offers much more sprightly performance, taking just 8.9 seconds to get to 62mph. Both the 182bhp 2.0-litre diesel and 1.8 TSI petrol shoot past the 62mph mark in a brisk 7.8 seconds, with the diesel returning 55.4mpg and emissions of 134g/km compared to 41.5mpg and 158g/km for the petrol. These two most powerful versions are only available with VW’s slick DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox.

Thanks to a 20mm increase in ride height, protective cladding around the side of the car and some underbody protection, the Alltrack should be able to handle mild off-loading. In normal use power is sent to the front wheels, though the car sends power to the rear tyres in a fraction of a second if it senses any loss of traction. The new car is also capable of towing up to 2,000kg.

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is expected to go on sale in the UK by summer 2015. Prices are yet to be confirmed.

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