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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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 285 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Very good value

By on Monday, May 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Value to $$ for SEL is very good"

Cons: "Navigation weak"

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

"Trunk is huge so if hauling a bunch of gear or golf club sets, big difference vs. lots of completion."

Can't wait to get rid of it!

By on Thursday, May 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

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

"You don't have a clear view out of this car, it makes it dangerous to turn corners and change lanes. It's terribly uncomfortable for any length of time other than a quick trip to the store. It's awkward on wet roads and it attracts rocks so bad I think it throws them at itself. I have replaced the windshield 2 times in 2 years and it needs it again. Also the GPS guidance does not want to guide correctly. I have the keyless start and when the battery in the key gets weak it doesn't give you a warning just stops seeing the key. There is no other way to start the car. Cheapest oil change I've found is $70."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Not as happy as I thought I Would Be

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Rides a little rough"

Cons: "in shop twice in the 1st 8k miles"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"This car is ok. You better make sure you put in TOP tear gas because it will run rough and stall if you don't. They don't tell you this when you buy new. The 40k recommended service is very high priced at the dealer and was a surprise to me. they change the oil and service the car every 10k for the first 30k as part of your purchase but that 40k service is one seems unnecessary two my local service man did it for 25% of the dealer cost. I would not buy one again. Not very happy with it."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Comfortable, reasonable price, and fun to drive!

By on Monday, May 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, comfortable + spacious, good look"

Cons: "None... So far!"

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

"I traded in my 2009 Honda Civic coupe for a 2012 2.5 SE Jetta and I am very satisfied. So pleased to drive stick shift again and this car is actually pretty fun to drive; it is nice and spacious, but easy to zip around in. Super super comfortable as well, I knew my Civic had unpleasant seating (especially for a tall guy like me, 6'2"). Also thankful for the souped up radio that displays my calls and music from my smart phone; it's actually helpful and prevents me from wanting to mess with my phone to change music or answer/ dial out a call. I was a bit weary because I hear many people criticize and say VWs are foreign, unreliable, and junky in the US market. I think with most cars, the owner will be fortunate to do basic repairs and check ups to ensure longevity. Highly recommend this car, practical, affordable, comfortable, and not dull."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

We get higher mileage than the EPA estimates.

By on Sunday, April 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,400

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: "Great fuel economy."

Cons: "NONE."

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

"We liked the VW Jetta TDI with Navigation, we purchased another one. It is an awesome vehicle. Better fuel economy than a hybrid."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

the best sedan for the money in it's class

By on Monday, April 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "european build quality, price, gas mileage"

Cons: "the base 2.0 engine is underpowered"

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

"I choose the Jetta because of build, price and warranty (at the time the warranty was 3years with service), the handling is good and the engine keeps me with all city traffic. My mileage has been better than the epa estimate, and I cruise at 75 with no problem. As a previous VW owner, 65'Beetle and 77' Sirocco, I am just as pleased with the Jetta. In fact, the only other car that has been this balanced and reliable and has great dealer response was my 72' Datsun 510, which set a standard that has been hard to match. I plan to upgrade to the GLI or GTI in another year. I highly recommend the Jetta as a best buy for compact sedans. P.S. the Jetta has the same interior volume as the C class Mercedes-Benz."

23 people out of 42 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

Buying this car?