VOLKSWAGEN finally launched the Golf Estate Alltrack in the UK last December - almost a year after other manufacturers in the VW Group had launched their offerings on the same platform.
Surprisingly the Golf Alltrack is having to play catch-up with the Skoda Octavia Scout and the Seat Leon X-Perience, its sibling rivals.
Essentially VW has taken the popular Golf Estate and given it a macho makeover to turn it into the Alltrack.
As a result it is taller, has four-wheel-drive and boasts protective body cladding to protect it if owners want to take it onto the rough stuff.
It can be had in a variety of petrol or diesel engines and there is also a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.
The suspension has been raised to give the Alltrack the ability to cope with light off-road duties but this has not damaged the car's ride in any way and actually seems to have improved it.
The handling is also just as sharp and the four-wheel-drive system makes the Alltrack feel very secure in the wet. In more slippery conditions the Haldex clutch sends power to each individual wheel as it is required and it works very well.
This car came with the largest of the three diesel engines on offer, the 2.0-litre 184ps unit coupled to the excellent DSG automatic gearbox.
It offers loads of torque and refinement and delivers its power quietly and without fuss.
As you would expect, economy does drop down to a claimed 57.6mpg from the 67mpg of the front-wheel-drive only Golf Estate but the good news is that you will get quite close to that figure.
Performance is more than adequate with 62mph being reached in 7.8 seconds before topping out at 136mph. Emissions are 129g/km.
The cabin is premium quality and provides comfort for five along with all the latest features for your convenience and the latest in-car entertainment and communication systems.
The Alltrack is just as versatile as any Golf Estate and offers a 605-litre boot space that increases to 1,620 when the rear seats are collapsed to provide a flat loading bay.
Another nice touch is that there is a space-saver spare steel wheel provided instead of a useless kit that leaves you stranded in the event of a tyre problem.
Standard equipment in the Alltrack is generous and includes hill descent control, stop/start, full climate control, all-electric windows, folding electronic door mirrors with integrated indicators, a multifunction computer, misfuel prevention device, automatic driving lights, rain sensors and loads more.
You also get the latest in-car entertainment and communications system with colour touchscreen, sat nav and DAB digital radio.
The Alltrack also boasts all the very latest safety features and you can add larger alloys and a rear-view camera as well as other items from the options list.