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2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Overview
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2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Review

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While many people prefer the rugged look and elevated ground clearance of a small SUV, there are still a number of drivers who prefer a traditional car-based wagon. For these few die-hard loyalists, Volkswagen builds the 2012 Jetta SportWagen, a midsize wagon based on the last generation Jetta sedan. As roomy inside as any Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, the 2012 SportWagen goes a step further by offering superior ride and handling, as well as the option of a very fuel-efficient 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel engine. In TDI form, the Jetta SportWagen earns an EPA-estimated 42 mpg highway (although most drivers report getting better mileage over time) with the manual transmission.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need more cargo versatility than a sedan can offer, but you don't want to give up sedan-like ride and handling, the 2012 VW Jetta SportWagen makes a great compromise. Fuel efficient with either the gasoline or diesel engine, the SportWagen won't make you cringe when it comes time to refuel.

You May Not Like This Car If...

A wagon is still a wagon, and some may prefer the cool look of the Golf TDI hatchback to the Jetta SportWagen's "soccer mom" image. Those who need better ground clearance and/or all-wheel drive might be happier with the VW Tiguan.

What's New for 2012

A new SE with Sunroof package is offered on both the gasoline and diesel models, while a Sunroof and Navigation package is available only on diesel-powered Jetta SportWagens.

Driving the Jetta SportWagen

Driving Impressions Although the 2012 VW Jetta SportWagen still rides on the old 2010 VW Jetta sedan platform, it is in no way antiquated or less fun to drive. As one would...

expect from a German-engineered car, the Jetta SportWagen is a great driver's car. The firm suspension keeps body roll to a minimum without impinging on a smooth ride, even over rough or broken pavement. The 2.5-liter engine doesn't deliver thrilling acceleration, but it gets the job done and returns respectable fuel economy. If you can afford the extra cash, go for the 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel. It has gobs of torque giving it GTI-like off-the-line acceleration, and it gets great fuel economy, with a projected highway range of over 600 miles on a single fill-up. Another advantage unique to the diesel Jetta SportWagen is its excellent DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) automatic transmission. The 6-speed DSG requires only a tapping of the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifter to deliver rapid-fire gear changes.
Favorite Features

2.0-LITER TDI DIESEL ENGINE
The Jetta's 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine promises to be the star of the SportWagen engine lineup. Impressive torque output suggests the TDI is quicker than the 2.5-liter gasoline engine in some instances, and VW reports drivers may see better real-world mileage than the EPA-reported figures of 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway.

6-SPEED DIRECT-SHIFT GEARBOX (DSG)
During stop and go traffic the DSG is a smooth shifting automatic. But when the road gets twisty, the DSG can be operated just like a manual transmission, only without the need to operate a clutch pedal.

2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Details
Interior

We've always been a fan of VW's interior styling, and the 2012 Jetta SportWagen is no exception. Smartly styled with high-quality materials and brightly lit instrumentation, the SportWagen's roomy interior feels almost Audi-like. A vast cargo hold behind the second row should please those who carry lots of gear or have large dogs. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the rear-seat accommodations, which are a bit snug in the legroom department. The 2012 VW Jetta SportWagen's vast panoramic glass sunroof covers both front and rear seats, allowing everyone inside to enjoy sunshine and fresh air. Sadly, many of VW's the best features, such as the Dynaudio stereo, power driver's seat adjuster and leather seating, are not offered on the 2012 Jetta SportWagen.

Exterior

Although it shares a nameplate with the Jetta sedan, the 2012 VW Jetta SportWagen still rides on the previous-generation Jetta platform. Its sloping hood, swept back headlamps and 2-bar grille are shared with the current Golf/GTI, but the similarities stop there. The SportWagen's extended roof allows for much more cargo storage aided by the factory roof rack. A wide rear liftgate allows full access to the roomy cargo area and is fitted with a rear defroster, wiper and washer. Available 17- inch alloy wheels help wake up an otherwise modest wagon design, as do the optional ground effects and 18-inch black alloy wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard features on the 2.5 S include a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, heated power mirrors and windshield wiper nozzles, heated front seats, air conditioning, rear wiper/washer, cruise control, keyless remote entry, 16-inch wheels, AM/FM stereo with a single-disc CD player and eight speakers, auxiliary audio input jack, side-curtain airbags, antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, and hydraulic brake assist. The SE trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, a 10-speaker Premium touch screen audio with 6-disc CD changer, MDI (Media Device Interface) iPod adapter, HD radio capability, and satellite radio with limited complimentary service. To this the TDI adds a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 115-volt rear outlet and a multifunction steering wheel with audio controls.

Optional Equipment

SE trims can be equipped with a panoramic sunroof, while the TDI SportWagen can be outfitted with the panoramic sunroof and navigation. 2.5 S and SE models offer a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic, while the TDI trim can be equipped with the excellent 6-speed Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG).

Under the Hood

The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen's two engine options provide the car with two distinct personalities. The 2.5-liter 5-cylinder models are peppy, but not what we'd call scintillating performers. The 2.5-liter is clearly geared more toward a lower price point, good fuel economy and adequate power. The 2.0-liter TDI diesel, on the other hand, may be the best choice for the 2012 Jetta SportWagen, promising good acceleration and terrific fuel economy at a reasonable price.

2.5-liter inline-5
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 mpg (manual), 24/31 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbodiesel inline-4
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 mpg (manual), 29/39 mpg (automatic)

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2012 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 195 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Best Car Ever!

By on Monday, April 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty, Comfortable, Great MPG"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is Wonderfully Amazing... I got 41 MPG coming home. Seats are amazing and extremely comfortable and the handling of the car is stunning and provides inspiration. Have you closed the door? Well it sounds just like all other high quality cars. Close the doors on a Benz 350 ( My family has one) and the doors sound the same. No problems so far yet engine wise, though it is extremely powerful considering the class of car (Compact. I will buy another Volkswagen!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Best Car Ever!

By on Monday, April 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty, Comfortable, Great MPG"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is Wonderfully Amazing... I got 41 MPG coming home. Seats are amazing and extremely comfortable and the handling of the car is stunning and provides inspiration. Have you closed the door? Well it sounds just like all other high quality cars. Close the doors on a Benz 350 ( My family has one) and the doors sound the same. No problems so far yet engine wise, though it is extremely powerful considering the class of car (Compact. I will buy another Volkswagen!"

A beautiful car!/ very good mileage/Warm & cozy!!

By on Saturday, April 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Beautiful car! ...see review"

Cons: "no back seat warmers"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I'm thrilled with it! I do have to say it has not met the quoted gas mileage, at least not for us, however we are in remote area, mountainess,& so we cannot follow all the perfect conditions to get the maximum mileage. We are averaging 39 mpg. Despite the real mpg for us, this is overall a great vehicle. We've had no problems. We've received many compliments on this vehicle. It sure kept us warm this extra cold winter! (too bad back seat passengers don't get the warmed seats) Pickup is fantastic Fendall stereo is really nice. The regenerating hybrid is a marvel...we don't have to plug this one in to any electrical charger! Everyone loves the premium tire rims w/ fan-like design. We currently lease this vehicle, however we currently believe we will buy this one out & keep this one!"

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Great car -poor build quality

By on Thursday, April 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Beautiful, fast, great mileage"

Cons: "Poor build quality, lame sound system"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Love my SportWagen. Disappointed in the build quality - rattles, vibrations, loose components (heat shield, defective sunroof, the list goes on. Have owned the vehicle seven months and have been to the dealer ten times to fix stupid and annoying problems. My last VW, a 1996 Jetta GL was perfect right out of the box, was mine for eight years, never a rattle, squeak - just regular maintenance. I have spoken with other SportWagen owners, and they echo my disappointment in the quality. On the plus side, the SportWagen is a real head turner (Toffee Brown), comfortable, great diesel mileage. Only wish the Fender sound system had been available. Hoping Volkswagen addresses their quality issues. Love this car, but it will be my last VW product."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Perfect car, with a few minor caveats

By on Monday, March 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fuel economy, handling, comfort, fun to drive"

Cons: "HWY road noise, Nav system, needs better lumbar"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Love this car's design, economy, torque, and comfort. We have TDI model with all possible options. Only downsides to this car, in my opinion: Navigation system is non-user friendly, and HORRIBLE. Less intuitive than my 7 year old Garmin portable GPS. I would rate Nav system a 3 out of 10. I will replace the Nav with an aftermarket double DIN GPS in the future. Pano sunroof is awesome, but contributes to road noise. 17 inch VW premium wheels/OEM Continental tires contribute to road noise too. Even with our new aftermarket thicker side walled tires, still pretty noisy on most highways. Less highway road noise would be appreciated. Wish front seats had adjustable lumbar support."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Love my new 2014 GLI

By on Monday, March 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 750

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "geat price, fun to drive, geat gas milege, a blast"

Cons: "hard plastic doors, poor Nav"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I traded in a 2012 Jetta SE manual last week for the 2014 GLI manual with Autobahn/Nav. Love the car. Took a drive from DC to NJ and back in a single day this past weekend. Rained the entire way and had total confidence in the vehicle. Drove very well, great acceleratioon, great braking and overall fun to drive. Near the end of the trip, it started sleeting and snowing and I still had great control. No slippering of the tires and brakes were still dead on. My 2012 Jetta would have been all over the road, but the new GLI still had plenty of control. Still hate the plastic on the doors and the limited options for interior colors. Wish I could get the golf ball shaped shift know like you can in the GTI. Wish the Nav had more pizzaz to it (my wife has the sync system in the ford and it is pretty good, but love the Acura Nav system the best). Overall, a great car for the money. I was also looking at a 3 series and an A4, but decided on the GLI as it was just as good for much less $$. I am a father of two and having the saloon works great."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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