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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.
Volkswagen has revealed its updated Golf, set to go on sale in Europe in 2017 and in the U.S. in 2018.
Outside there are a few minor changes, but the real updates are happening to the infotainment system, which gets new, bigger screens, not that you even have to touch them now that youíll have gesture controls.
Thatís right, you too can live the dream of the future and pretend youíre Tom Cruise in Minority Report. The generation 7.5 2018 Volkswagen Golf allows you to operate the carís gadgets by waving your hands like a conductor. So far, gesture control systems have been the reserve of the fanciest of luxury cars, but Volkswagen wants to be the first to offer the system in the compact class.
Not everything will be touchlessly operable, though, so new, bigger screens (up to 9.2 inches) are being added to the Golf, which do away with the physical buttons of the current generation. Instead, everything will be done through the touch-sensitive tablet-like screen in the center console.
Information wonít be limited to the center console, though, as Volkswagenís Digital Cockpit will replace the conventional, analog dials (speedometer and tachometer) with digital versions.
Our readers mean the world to us, and we want to make sure your opinions are heard.
Help AutoGuide.com by voting for the 2017 Readerís Choice Car of the Year and have your say on which new cars this year should be given top honors.
In addition to the overall Car of the Year award, there are seven other categories where you can vote for your favorite, including Truck of the Year, Sports Car of the Year, Green Car of the Year, Utility Vehicleof the Year, Luxury Car of the Year, Luxury Utility Vehicle of the Year, and Exotic Car of the Year.
And just to make sure you guys know youíre appreciated, if you vote in this yearís awards, youíll be entered in a contest to win a free set of tires.
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