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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.

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
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 296 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Out of 28 new cars I have owned this is best!

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "such high quailty materials, no 1 handling"

Cons: "might be a bit pricy"

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

"No better mileage vehicle around, 600 mi before fill up. Sweet handling, tons of torque, high quality inside and out. Note to VW: you got a winner with the car and the TDI, don't mess with it!"

8 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Most impressive car

By on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "A drivers car with the benefit of economy."

Cons: "Would have liked power seats"

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

"Other than a nagging problem with the DSG transmission early on, the car has consistently impressed. The transmission problem was resolved under warranty and is but a memory. The fuel economy is outstanding and has only gotten better with the engine broken in. Highway mileage has increased from 38-40 mpg when new, to a range of 40-46 mpg. I replaced the stock tires rather early on, to Michelon pilots, and noticed an increase in the sure foot feeling of accurate steering and control. The driver position and seating is a good compromise of side bolsters and enough padding to make long trips comfortable. For the money, this is the best car I've owned, and would recommend it without hesitation."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

we love our Volkswagen

By on Monday, June 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

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: "everything is just good about it smooth ride cool"

Cons: "front B seats a little to small"

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

"my wife loves her Volkswagen its a daily driver it's comfortable and give her about 38 to 40 miles a gallon believe it or not its real good on gas on the highway real dependable we haven't had any problems with it we just love it"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Horrifying

By on Friday, June 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
1/10

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

"Volkswagon has the worst customer service. The MTA is better since you already know what you're coming up against. If you need to service your car, prepare yourself for disappointment and receiving lack of education."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to Drive"

Cons: "Nothing"

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

"June 1ST I purchased a 2015 VW Jetta SE 1.8 Turbo w/Connectivity and Navigation. Heated seats/Bluetooth/Moon Roof/Rear Camera Graphite Blue w/Black Interior. This Jetta replaces a 2014 Toyota Corolla "S" Premium. I love the Jetta in fact the 1.8 Turbo has a lot of get up and go plus the torque is an added bonus. Since I have only had the car for a short time I am extremely pleased with performance and cabin space. I plan to keep this car for a long time. The Toyota Corolla purchase was not a good choice for many reasons. The biggest negative was the CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) Very noisy. I like how well the interior switches light up at night. Very easy to see and use. Bluetooth activates quickly. I drive 46 miles round trip to work each day. At present I can't give an accurate fuel economy rating. I would highly recommend this car. Comfortable and a blast to drive."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Good, reliable, no-frills car

By on Monday, June 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Handling, gas mileage, reliabilitity, VW"

Cons: "Technology, lack of standard features,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I have had my Jetta for 1.5 years now. I still enjoy driving it and it is certainly reliable. I have not had one mechanical problem. It also survived just fine in the 2014-2015 Maine winter. My biggest complaints are in regards to the instrument panel and radio display. The panel is very bland to say the least and the display's response time (i.e. how long it takes the system to recognize I just changed the radio station) is slow. It acts like technology from 10 years ago. In an effort to stay within my budget I sacrificed Bluetooth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, alloy wheels, and heated seats. Even still, for a car that cost about $22,000 I think this trim level should have Bluetooth, better technology, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Overall, if you are looking for an affordable compact car that provides a European and classy driving experience, this car could suit you well."

2 people out of 3 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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