In addition to the Golf Syncro, VW also made a version with high ground clearance, bull bar and a few other off-road accoutrements. The 4WD system in both was co-developed with Steyr-Puch, and the Country was co-produced with S-P. Only some 7,735 of the Country were built, making these pretty rare birds.
Why VW never saw the same niche that Subaru did is a question that I’ve often pondered. Maybe its reliability issues of the ’90s would have tainted that anyway. We’ll never know.
The Golf Country pre-dated the Outback by several years, VW probably looked at the Eagle and didn’t think they’d do any better. 20plus years later, when they debuted the AllTrack, they STILL didn’t raise that significantly over the regular Golf/Jetta wagon and have now withdrawn that as well.
Either go all in or don’t bother. Make a raised Golf Wagon, then also figure out how to add a wagon body to the Passat, raise that as well, and put them on the lots with the Tiguan and Atlas that now also has competition from Subaru’s Ascent.
In the meantime Audi has just re-introduced an Allroad based on the A6 wagon to keep the A4 Allroad company and probably pick up some sales from people that don’t want a Q5 or Q7. Mercedes I believe has their new E-class wagon debuting soon, also in raised Outback/Allroad-esque drag.
“…then also figure out how to add a wagon body to the Passat”
They never discontinued the Passat wagon in Europe.
I know but the US Passat sedan has nothing in common with the rest of world one.
I miss my 1998 Passat wagon. Great size, great seating position, great roadfeel and really good mpg at 31-32mpg. Bought it new and drove it to ~242,000 miles. Ate cv boots like candy which ment it ate cv joints like candy too.
Maybe this is not the case in the USA but Alltrack is still available here and competes directly with Subaru.
The Tiguan is already a raised MQB.
The Golf SportWagen Synchro is also available and I see them all the time in my Golf saturated neighbourhood.I I’d say half the SportWagens around here are Synchro and in my posh area, there are loads of Golfs around, with the Mazda 3 in close company. Manual transmissions are also common here. I actually saw a manual Corolla on the road here, a 2018. First one I’ve ever seen..
Not for much longer, any 2020 Alltrack and Golf wagons you see were produced last year and stockpiled for sale this year.
In the US, Golfs are around but not that common compared to Japanese or even American brands. I’ve never seen a Golf SportWagen in person. There are a few Tiguans around though. The trend of CUVs replacing cars seems to affected VAG more than most. On the other hand though Subaru Crossteks are everywhere. It might be because in the US VW has a reputation of being one of those cars you don’t keep when the warranty runs out.
Lots of Golf Sportwagens and Alltracks here in Calgary, even more so in cross country ski Mecca Canmore. My feeling is that VW has historically been more successful in Canada than the States. Having said that, the Subaru Outback is the “Canmore Cadillac”.
I would have been all over this in the ’80s and ’90s, when I was taking stock Golfs and SAABs down dry washes in the San Rafel Swell. But that Country looks so altered, so raised, that how much of the Golf’s handling and ride goodness would remain? The Quantum Syncro would have been a better choice for cargo, and I enjoyed that one for awhile. At the Country’s level of lift, you might wish you had that low boxer engine.
I don’t have the AWD, but I had progressive springs and struts (rear shocks) put in my ’00 Golf 9 years ago…..the ride height increased a tad (though I know this is not the same as higher ground clearance) over stock…even though springs do sag with age, the ride height of my car was noticeably increased, and has persisted (though the springs have probably sagged a bit in 9 years, they probably are a bit better in this regard than the OEM springs the car came with, and the age of the car, which was 11 years when I got the progressive springs and is 20 this year.
So much for “lowering” springs…guess I’m a contrarian (in more ways than one).
Like the mono-wiper…never saw one on an A2 VW…had one on my ’78 A1 Scirocco,
though I’d think you might want to keep dual wipers for an offroad vehicle if only for redundancy (mud and muck aren’t as big a deal on-road).