By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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)
By Grandpa62 on Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
12 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Rick on Monday, September 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fast, fun and economical with plenty of cargo room"
Cons: "Rear seat legroom for adult passengers."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Great car, but a tad bit small when both boys grow to 6 feet tall by 13 years old. Back seat leg room is the only thing this wagen lacks. An all around reliable, economical, and sporty diesel with enough gadgets for anyone."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Domo on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had this car for two years and love it. Its affordable and has everything i need. Sunroof, touch screen radio, heated seats. I had a few issues with my bluetooth freezing while playing music but once the technology was updated to accomodate my iphone software it has worked fine. Plenty of room in the back for passengers, lots of trunk space and gets great gas mileage. I love the design of the car its sporty. I have the dark grey and it looks great and doesnt show dirt badly at all."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By platinum13 on Thursday, September 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "cool sounding 5 cyl, push button, rear seat room"
Cons: "no remote start, small navi, no power seat, bland"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"So far this car has really impressed me. This is my third MK6 the other two were TDI's and I have never had one issue with any of them. They are very roomy for a small car and offer better than EPA fuel economy. I travel often and at 80 miles an hour I get 31MPG/ At 70mph I get 34MPG. The down sides are the navigation is small, rear torsion beam, no remote start, no power seats, etc. It really needs more options which is what the 2015 Jetta should take care of. Overall I love the car. I typically only buy American vehicles but there is something about the VW's I love."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By TDI Fan on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fit and Finish, Road feel, driver feedback, MPG!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned all the common german brands and many of themm BMW, MB, Audi. I decided that I wanted to get something that had an amazing build quality as to fit and finish but more importantly fuel economy was of importance. I ended doing my research and landed on the Jetta TDI Sortswagon with sunroof and nav with an MSRP of $31,355. I can not say enough great things about this car!! It makes me smile when driving it. I am averaging 40mpg as a whole and it drives like a dream. The suspension is just plain amazing as to being compliant but not too compliant. I could go on and on but the bottom line its just a huge bang for the buck...I can not ding it for anything which is hard to say."
24 people out of 42 found this review helpful
By Frank K on Saturday, September 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,800overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fair price, great mileage & interior comfort."
Cons: "Still looking for one-I'll get back to you..."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My wife and I could see in the showroom that the 4-door Jetta had more rear seat legroom than virtually any car we've ever had, yet it has the smallest wheelbase. While snooping brands and dealers I stumbled onto the diesel version in internet reviews and the most eye-popping thing that jumps out at you is that the mileage numbers on the side windows you see on all new cars are UNDERSTATED for the Jetta. Our car is 30/41 but I'm reading and hearing from people that this car can get 50+ on the highway before we bought it. So with that and some other solid attributes going for it, we bought the diesel version. Our local driving number since buying has been at or near 40 since day one. And the new clean diesel is the most underappreciated option you will find on any new car lot in the USA. Much less long term maintenance, among other advantages. I'm still looking for something bad to say about this car. Well, trips to the gas station aren't as numerous as they once were, assuming you like shelling out $50 more rather than less often. One problem that diesel engines have had in the past is starting in frigid temperatures but the service guy told me that can be easily handled with gas tank additives available at auto stores. The interior is well laid out, and the standard rear back-up camera is a gift from auto Heaven. I shudder when I think of the money we've wasted on cars over the years that sadly lacked the overall quality and value of our Jetta. And no--I don't have a relative at the dealership and I don't own any VW stock."
31 people out of 55 found this review helpful