AutoGuide.com gathered six of the most significant new cars for the 2017 model year for our annual Car of the Year evaluations. This year, our contenders are the Hyundai Elantra, BMW M2, 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Kia Optima, Ford Focus RS and Chevrolet Cruze. There was no hard price cap on this yearís entrants, but we tried to make sure none of them were extravagantly priced. We will release a new video on each contender every day leading up to Dec. 13, when we announce our winner. Stay tuned for our Crossover/SUV of the Year and Truck of the Year series, which is also coming soon!
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack
might be a difficult car to categorize (is it a crossover, wagon or compact?) but thatís one of the reasons it is such a good contender for the 2017 Car of the Year. It is the only vehicle of the bunch we also considered also running in our 2017 Utility Vehicle
of the Year evaluations and it is that type of versatility that makes it so impressive.
Hereís a bit of background on why this is such an interesting/confusing car: Itís essentially the same thing as the Golf SportWagen, except with a bit of a lift, some body cladding, underbody shielding, and all-wheel drive. To confuse matters even more, the SportWagen could also come with AWD, but to simplify things, the Alltrack is basically optimized for light off-roading.
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrackís standout feature is an off-road mode that changes the throttle mapping and enables hill-descent control for creeping down steep grades. Besides that, the powertrain is also a gem: the tallish wagon is powered by Volkswagenís refined 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder with 170 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. Combined with the six-speed DSG transmission, itís so smooth and responsive that it feels like it could have been taken right out of a luxury car.