Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000
  • 10 Best AWD Cars & SUVs Under $25,000
  • The 40 MPG Cars of 2014
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
Go

2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Overview
Share this page
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?

2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Review

By

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)

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?

2012 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 243 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Audi A4 performance for VW Price Tag

By on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Sporty yet practical, premium feel for less $$"

Cons: "Missing a few top notch refinements and features"

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

"I recently traded my high performance Volvo S60R for a 2013 VW GLI. I was hesitant because I had become spoiled by the Volvo's amazing power, luxury options and overall attention to clean design detail. I spent countless hours doing research and decided to test drive a few cars, the 2013 GLI being one of them. I was immediately impressed with the sporty feel of the GLI, the handling and tight road feel were right up my alley, and finding a manual transmission excited me as well. The small details like the red stitching, ergonomically friendly layout of instruments (typical VW) and overall "feel" of the car convinced me to make the purchase. I was surprised by the rear legroom in this car, it is HUGE compared to other cars I looked at. It has more room than the Mercedes E class! I LOVE this car and it is a JOY to drive every day. The only slight drawbacks are: * Small Navigation screen (that said, the "heads up" display in the center panel keeps your eyes forward) * Driver seat adjustments-- lacking lumbar support and the ability to raise or lower the FRONT of the seat itself, I tend to prefer the back of the seat low but the front raised for a more supportive feeling * Rain sensing wipers: I loved this feature on my 6 year older Volvo-- spoiled I know, but I suppose I will get used to it * Multi-disc changer: again, spoiled by the Volvo I suppose Overall, I'd buy this car again in a heartbeat. It is just the right mix of practical and sporty for me."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Not worth the price

By on Friday, November 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great gas mileage"

Cons: "Uncomfortable, hard to see, bad design, cheap."

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

"I purchased this car less than six months ago and I actually hate it! I have attempted to get another car and was told this car was worth almost $10,000.00 less than I paid for it. I did my research and I got a good deal based on the KBB ratings. I am livid with VW. This car is so uncomfortable to drive, it jerks when acceleration is needed quickly, like oncoming traffic. The NAV system is hard to use and clunky, sound system is only fair and the sun roof is built in such a way that the sun shines directly into your eyes when its open. The seats are hard, hard to adjust and cheap material. Visibility is poor as it sits so low to the ground. Also, the diesel engine hates the cold and creaks and squeeks all the time. The only redeeming quality of this car is the gas mileage, which is very good."

9 people out of 19 found this review helpful

In love with my Jetta

By on Friday, November 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

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
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "interior, quickness, price, sleekness, hands-free"

Cons: "sound system needs upgrading"

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

"I previously owned Honda's and Dodge's, this is my first VW. I must say I am very impressed with the Turbo engine, and the Connectivity features. This car is much more than I expected! My ONLY complaint would be that it doesnt have the smooth ride like my Dodge, but it is smoother than my Honda Civic. Between the gas mileage, the roomy interior, the clean sleek dash, the quickness of the engine, and the heated extremely comfortable seats, this is my all tie favorite car! Well worth the $$, and will probably buy another VW in the future!!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Love It :) This car is my Baby

By on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great Drive, Quiet, amazing Handling, Price"

Cons: "Leatherette is Required on an SE"

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

Her Name is Lucy :)

"I purchased this vehicle under Volkswagens First time buyer program at the age of 18. I Absolutely love this car. I highly recommend going with the SE over the S model and there are a few reasons to that. The SE comes with Leatherette seats (which I am not a fan of, but it helps resale value) as well as a higher stereo system, and cruise control! I priced out an S with cruise control (approx. $800 extra) an that was set me to get the SE based on price. Why not get more, for a little more right? Overall I have driven this car to South Dakota, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. So with that said she has seen all types of terrain. This car is a front wheel drive, but has no problem in the snow and rain or even in the mountains. Which was a major concern when I purchased the vehicle. As of right now, I don't know that I will ever drive another car that is not a Volkswagen. They really know how to make a car. The ride is impeccable. The road noise is non existent. The motor is so quiet sometimes I don't even know if my car is running."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Her Name is Lucy :)

vinyl seats cheap looking

By on Saturday, November 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,800

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "expected more quality for the price of this car"

Cons: "cheap vinyl seats"

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

"small things continue to need fixing, not as depending as toyotas I had for many years. Next car will be toyota again, not VW. Disappointed in quality."

6 people out of 14 found this review helpful

A Great Value For The Money

By on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, fun to drive, roomy, quiet, comfy"

Cons: "no temp gauge, prop rod for hood"

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

"I now have over 7000 miles on my SE and it drives great! The ride is firm, quiet and comfortable. On a recent trip to the coast we got 39-40 mpg on the highway. My highest mileage was 41.3 and I average 33-34 to and from work. Exterior and interior appearance is simple and functional. I'm not a big "whistles and bells" guy so this car was a perfect fit. The new 1.8T engine has plenty of pep The 6 speed Tiptronic is set up to keep the rpm's low but will get peppy as the gas pedal is pushed. Very roomy. Drives like more expensive car."

42 people out of 73 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
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?