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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
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 336 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 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

2012 Jetta SEL Premium is Awesome!!

By on Saturday, July 9, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, beautiful interior, great value"

Cons: "Might be higher maintenance costs"

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

"Bought the car used from a dealer. Former car was a Camry. As someone who enjoys driving I would definitely recommend this. The 5-cyl engine provides great power and the vehicle handles quite well, better than any sedan you'll drive for the price. Design, interior and exterior, is simple and smart - no unnecessary gadgets, everything you need minus everything you don't. The SEL Premium package includes a sunroof, alloy wheels, the Fender audio system, is bluetooth-enabled, and has built-in navigation. The seats are comfortable and overall the cabin is a pleasant place to spend hours on the road if need be. The trunk is huge - and when I bought mine it came with the VW Cargo system which is essentially plastic dividers with Velcro that you can use to hold groceries, luggage, etc. in place. It looks huge compared to my old Camry's trunk. As for gas mileage, 24 city/31 highway is advertised, but so far I have averaged nearly 33 mpg combined, while never getting less than 27 for a full tank, which I consider impressive due to my driving style. Overall I have absolutely no regrets about purchasing this car. For someone who wants a more dynamic and engaging driving experience, a few essential tech features, and a really nice interior, VW is the choice for you. Despite the diesel emissions scandal, their products are generally of a higher quality than other manufacturers and their gasoline vehicles drive just fine."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Love my car!

By on Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,400

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
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, solid, great price, low maintenance"

Cons: "It won't last forever :("

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

"In light of all the stigma attached to VW Diesels these days, I still love my car. I tested it two years ago and was able to successfully drive at 70 mph 1,083 miles on one tank of diesel fuel traveling from NC to NH. I probably had another 80 miles I could have driven on the same tank but I didn't want to chance it at that point. My Jetta is a safe, reliable, comfortable six-speed manual with amazing turbo power, a great moonroof and I truly 'got what I paid for.' The car is solid, holds the road well (I got 67K miles on the original tires!), doesn't require much maintainence other than the standard warranty and that covers most everything. I'm at 82K miles on the same set of brake pads and my clutch is holding great. VW makes a great car and although the stigma is here, I still stand with my car as a reliable purchase in 2013, value for dollar. I average 47 mpg city and 55-60 mpg highway. I don't like that I might be polluting the air more than needed but it's still a great car and I know that VWGOA will do right by the people and their cars. I am certain other companies have the same issues but just haven't been caught yet but who am I to judge? I love my car and I think anyone who wants a diesel and a stick should look at the Jettas, a roomy sedan with a sporty feel."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Best North American made Volkswagen ever!!

By on Sunday, July 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

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
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "The back seat is huge."

Cons: "NONE"

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

"Test drove 4 cars. Hyundai Sonata, Chevy Cruze, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta. The Jetta was not the best value in my book, but the lumbar support is what sold my wife on this VW. The ONLY problem we have had was a blown circuit for the trunk light. The dealer fixed it in 10 min. Only 1 recall in 3 years. In 35 years of buying cars, this is the best one. Plus, the dealer didn't bat an eye when we said we wanted certain options and a certain color. I do know that 125 mph going up Raton Pass is so quiet in this car you don't even realize how fast you're going w/ NO effort. If there was one thing I don't like about this Jetta, its the taillights. This is supposed to be a world-class car. But all Jetta's made in Mexico for the North American market have red turn signal lenses. They should be amber colored to be correct!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Jury still out - waiting for Dieselgate

By on Saturday, July 2, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,200

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This is our 8th VW, so yeah, I'm generally a fan of the way VW's drive, handle and go about daily chores. Long trips (44 mpg) or short ones (39 mpg), she's a great little outfit. Lacks some creature things, like backup camera, but generally a great rig. Waiting to see how "dieselgate" turns out before my final review and decision - do I keep it, or does she go?"

Great vehicle for the money!

By on Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable, big trunk, quick car."

Cons: "Could have more features come standard."

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

"I love my Jetta 1.8se. Bought it used with 26k miles and it has yet to disappoint me. Would be nice to have a touch screen come standard but I put one in myself. There are lots of little things VW could have done for a few more dollars such as standard fog lights and heated leather seats. Other than that it is a quality car that has handled extremely cold North Dakota winters beautifully. Has never not started for me!"

value is artificially low due to VP scandal

By on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"This was a wonderful car. Great handling, unbelievable miles/gal diesel. When I both it the resale was extremely high. Cars with 100k miles were still going for $20k, especially when gas was $4+. Thanks to the VW scandal the value of this car has plummeted. Thanks VW I paid a premium price for a car that you destroyed. Would I recommend this car. How do you recommend a car that you can not buy anymore."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

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