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2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

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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 304 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Worst car I have ever owned!

By on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,665

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Price."

Cons: "Most unreliable car I have ever owned."

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

"I had previously owned a 2007 Jetta Wolfsburg edition which I bought used. I loved that car. It saved my life when I had an accident where I was rear ended on the highway and slammed into the car in front of me. Thats why I decided to buy another one. I bought the 2012 new and it has been a headache from day one. The check engine light has been on more often than its been off. Its always something with the emission system too that's never covered by the warranty. Last year I needed an alternator and the part to replace it came in to the dealership broken. When I inquired how a brand new part could be broken the woman in service told me it happened all the time. I believe the parts used by VW are inferior and cheap. I think that's how they were able to get the price point down when they redesigned the Jetta in 2011. I will never buy a VW again. I'm going back to a Japanese make."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

A "Midsize" Car For the Price of a Compact

By on Friday, August 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,800

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
8/10

Pros: "Audi acceleration and handling for the poor man."

Cons: "Long term reliability is yet to be determined."

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

"After driving a larger car with a V6 for a while, I decided to give VW a spin again (I had a 1985 Golf just out of college). The 1.8 TSI engine does not disappoint. The handling is best appreciated at higher speeds. At lower speeds, it is pretty standard handling for a compact. I am hoping that the reliability holds up. So far no problems whatsoever. The 2015 Passat with the same 1.8 TSI engine is rated as the most reliable mid-sized car available right now, so things should be decent. Here's hoping. I love driving this car on the Arizona highways. It does what I tell it to do, and I can easily blow by other compact cars, and a good number of six cylinder models. Merging into traffic is never a problem. The engine is fast AND quiet, and is content with 87 (recommended) octane gas. By the way, I owned the 2.0 8 valve engine (known as the 2.slow) for six months. I HATED it. The exhaust system was LOUD, and it basically required me to turn off the A/C every time I was getting onto the freeway because it had no kick. I'm getting around 30 mpg all around with the A/C going all the time. I suspect the mileage may jump up a bit once winter rolls around."

Best handling SUV and trailers well

By on Saturday, August 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Definitely more fun than any suv I have driven"

Cons: "It could use a little more clearance"

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

Fla camping

"I have had many cars and 3 Toyota 4-runners (great trucks but 16-18 mpg.) The Vw TDI wagen has as much cargo area, carries 2 17 foot kayaks and if set up properly (rear air bags and electric brakes) is an incredible tow vehicle for my 1500 lb pop up. (I get 30 to 33 mpg trailering.) When not trailering I get 42 to 44 consistently on hwy and 37 around town. The car has plenty of power (including trailering) and in the mountains (Ga and N.C). I always had stick shift cars/trucks. The DSG is very close to the control of a stick (without clutch pedal) when you need it (trailering and in the MTS.) The only problem was an A/C compressor (fixed quickly by VW.) I never have trouble finding diesel fuel and I travel all the time. Gas buddy is my friend. I considered and drove the new Outback but the CVT and the lack of power in the MTS was a deal breaker for me. A fun vehicle that I enjoy driving every time I get in the driver's seat."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Fla camping

Love the car, but I miss shifts with the manual

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great mileage, handles well, atteactive"

Cons: "Manual transmission leads to stalling"

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

"Really good car. Handles well, great mileage, feels solidly built, attractive for a wagon. The only downside, and the reason I am selling it is that I bought the manual transmission. It is fun, but despite growing up with stick shifts, I am still missing shifts from time to time, and this can be frightening, like when it happens in an intersection. Switching to a Golf with the automatic."

16 people out of 32 found this review helpful

GLI with triptronic transmission.

By on Monday, July 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Neat car."

Cons: "High test gasoline"

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

"Having driven many cars & trucks with manual transmissions,I was hesitant about going for an automatic transmission. To my surprise I find the triptronic when in manual mode is a manual without the clutch! Same speed limitations in gears as a manual, really liking this transmission."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

4th Volkswagen I have owned. 2nd GLI I have owned

By on Sunday, July 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "everything"

Cons: "sub-woofer rattles in trunk"

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

"Love every Volkswagen I have ever owned, always fun yet efficient and has lots of room for whatever I need to take with me. Highly recommend any Volkswagen to everyone, especially the Jetta GLI."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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