VW unveils Golf 8 Estate & Alltrack


Volkswagen has unveiled station-wagon variants (ahem) of the Golf 8 and, even though the South African subsidiary of the Wolfsburg-based brand has sold estate versions of its compact premium hatchback before, the pair of newcomers are unfortunately unlikely to be offered in our market… and, arguably, that is our loss.

In Mzansi, the popularity of station wagons has waned throughout the past few decades. If our market’s rampant uptake of double-cab bakkies signed estate cars’ death warrant, the proliferation of compact family cars (SUVs/crossovers) was effectively the executioner. In his video review of the outgoing Subaru Levorg, which ultimately never came to our market, Ciro De Siena lamented the scourge of anti-stationwagonism.  

The R-Line treatment gives the Golf Estate a purposeful presence; not the tail-light designs, which are unique to the variant.

Would Volkswagen South Africa reconsider launching the Golf 8 Estate here if the brand produced a GTI version (there’s been an R model before, although, again, it never left Europe)? The newcomer certainly looks particularly attractive in R-Line trim… at 4 630 mm in length, the new Estate is 66 mm longer, by virtue of an extended wheelbase, but similar in width and height to its Golf 7-based predecessor.

Endowed by purposefully sporty bumpers (replete with GTI-esque fog lamp clusters on the Alltrack), as well as upsized alloy wheels, the newcomers resemble their 5-door hatchback siblings up to the B-pillars, from where the pair’s roofline slopes downwards towards the edge of the tailgate. A steeply raked rear screen and variant-specific tail-light clusters further distinguish them from their hatchback siblings.

When specified with Active Info Display, the Golf Estate's cabin feels tech-dominated. The brightwork's tasteful, though.

But whereas the Estate is a more practical alternative to the Golf 8, the Alltrack offers 4Motion all-wheel drive, extra ground clearance, subtle black body cladding. To put it in context, it’s a Hyundai Kona rival – but would it stand a chance against a horde of fashionable compact family cars in our market, however? Maybe not, but bear in mind all-wheel-drive is the exception, rather than the rule, at the top of the light crossover/SUV segment.

An extra 38 mm of rear legroom, plus a more-than-useful luggage bay capacity of 611 litres and a claimed 1 642 litres of utility space (with the 60:40 rear seatback folded) might sweeten the deal for buyers whose children are teens who are going through their respective growth spurts.

The Golf Allroad's hot hatch-like tyres and rims suggest it may never traverse anything tougher than icy- or mild dirt roads.

Volkswagen has further equipped the newcomers’ load bays with shopping bag hooks and tie-down loops, while 12V and 230V power outlets, an electrically-extending tow hook and a powered tailgate, which can be opened with a swipe of a foot underneath the rear bumper, are optional.

The Estate’s line-up of 3- and 4-cylinder turbopetrol and diesel engines will mirror that of the Golf Mk8 hatchback in Europe. Volkswagen claims the Alltrack can tow up to 2 000 kg (braked) up a 12% slope, but we'll bring you more details of the ranges' line-ups when they become available.

The newcomers are said to offer 1 642 litres of utility space with the 60:40 rear seatback folded.

Now the only question remains whether the Wolfburg-based brand is planning GTI, GTE (petrol-electric hybrid), GTD (turbodiesel) and R versions of its Golf 8-based station wagon. Autocar speculates that VW will be eager to leverage the reduced CO2 emissions of the GTE package and install that in the Estate. Would you be interested in buying a Golf 8 Estate (in either GTI or R guise) should they become available in our market?

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