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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 327 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

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

Good car for small family

By on Sunday, May 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Family fun vehicle"

Cons: "Need more cupholders"

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

"In the two years we have the car, it has been reliable and yet, very roomier inside. Only one thing that lots of Jetta's owners have issues is the lots of plastic material used on dashboard, seem a poor quality, it is a German car, should be presentable to our customers. Yes, its not an expensive car but, the fact that use to much plastic, customers are trying to get more accent and comfort in a car rather than something cheaper. But our experience with the car in terms of safety, breaks, acceleration response, etc, we were impress. We recommend this vehicle."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Good Car

By on Monday, May 09, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Interior hard plastic materials"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I've owned this car for almost two years and I love it. It isn't the best car on the road, but it is fun to drive and feels well built."

4 people out of 12 found this review helpful

I love this car. Exciting and fun to drive.

By on Thursday, April 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Lots of pros."

Cons: "None so far."

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

"Sporty. Quiet. Great gas mileage driving conservatively, 30 - 40 mpg. Handles extremely well. Great get up and go when you need it or want to drive aggressively. Solid and well built. Bought new 1 year, 1 month ago with about 12K miles on it. No problems so far."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

very good (but not great)

By on Friday, March 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great mileage, reliability, interior wearproof"

Cons: "maintenance costs, dumb transmission"

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

"2011 Jetta TDI is my third VW, and the best so far. Outstanding mileage is the reason I bought it, since I took a job with a 30 mile each way commute. Have had only one repair not covered by VW or warranty since I bought it with 18000 miles in 2012. Had one catastrophic fuel system failure (state mandated biodiesel blend here in Illinois chewed up the high pressure fuel pump, covered by VW, would have been about $5000.00 . YIKES!) but no other major repairs. One "check engine" light was a dead glow plug. That's it. Many people talk about the reliability of Toyota and Lexus, but having the transmissions go bad on a Camry and an RX300 both between 90 and 95 K miles, I think this VW is doing very, very well in comparison. The body is rock solid after 92000 miles other than the driver's door which has always closed with a hollow sound, where the other three doors close with a solid sounding "thunk". MPG consistently exceeds EPA standards. When/if the EPA mandated fix for emissions come through, the mileage will likely drop. I'll miss the 52 mpg on the highway, but I shouldn't complain if it still meets or exceeds what was advertised on the window sticker. Maintenance costs are HIDEOUS for this car/engine. Transmission fluid change every 40K miles runs about $400. Speaking of transmission, the DSG can't go at low (think bumper to bumper crawl on the commute) speed without jerking. Yes, it's an automatic that drives like a manual - a manual driven by someone who doesn't know how. However, it has been trouble free. If I had a do-over, I'd get the manual. Summary: Great mileage, good reliability, meh transmission, comfort and performance for the long commute."

10 people out of 12 found this review helpful

First vehicle purchase on my own, NO REGRETS!

By on Friday, February 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Quiet, fun, sleek, great gas mileage, fast"

Cons: "expensive to repair"

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

"I traded my 2002 PT Cruiser for this vehicle. I purchased it used, previously owned by a rental company. I got an AMAZING deal on it and could not resist. It's sleek and sexy, drives smoothly and quietly, and I feel I can rely on it for years and years to come. Since gas prices are so cheap these days, I can anticipate paying less than $50 a month for gas. The turbo charged engine is really convenient for someone living in a busy, traffic-filled city that needs to take the interstate to get to work. This vehicle has the luxury look and feel without the luxury price. Plus, not many people have these (as far as I have seen) so you won't feel like a clone."

5 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Great Car, Better Value

By on Friday, February 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 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

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

"For those looking for a car under $30,000, look no further than the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta GLI. The Jetta GLI is a testament to automotive engineering and value. For less than $30,000 you can have a brand new car with a 2.0 liter, four cylinder engine that pumps out 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. That engine rivals its V6 counterparts in terms of power, speed, smoothness and efficiency. The optional automatic 6-speed dual clutch transmission changes gears faster than any human can, and with little to no shift shock. Pair that with the 2.0 liter engine and you are in for a drive that will keep you asking for more. If that alone is not enough for you, drop the gear selector into Sport mode, and hold on tight. Sport mode opens the throttle, stiffens the suspension and holds shifts to higher revolutions per minute; all leading to an exhilarating drive. Moving on to the interior, the Jetta GLI comes standard with leatherette that feels just like real leather. The material and build quality of the entire interior is second to none compared with the rest of the class. The common areas you would touch are all soft and cushioned, with the tough plastic reserved for only the most hidden or untouched areas of the interior. Every movement you make in the car, whether it be changing gears, turning your lights on, or even just using your turning signal stalk, is soft, smooth and luxurious. The luxurious and sporty feeling does not end there. Volkswagen really outdid themselves with the power driver’s seat they installed. It is firm, yet supportive, with side bolsters that hold the driver in place. It is a wonderful seat to sit in when driving such a fantastic car. Volkswagen’s standard infotainment system comes with a seven inch touch screen and very easy to navigate buttons. The combination of touch screen and buttons allows for any user of any age to navigate the infotainment system. Your first six months of owning or leasing your car, you get free Sirius XM satellite radio. However, with Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to play music from your smartphone, you won’t even need it. Additionally, you can connect your smartphone through Bluetooth and make phone calls through the infotainment system. The Fender sound system that comes standard in the Jetta GLI is incredible. With crisp highs and booming lows, you can’t ask for much more from an entry-level sedan. Aesthetically, the Jetta GLI is classically conservative, yet aggressive at the same time. New in 2016, Volkswagen incorporated a honeycomb lower grill and changed the fog lights to make the front bumper more aggressive. They also added aggressive side skirts and reconfigured the rear bumper to accommodate the standard chrome-tipped exhaust pipes. When looking at the car, it is impossible to miss the stunning standard eighteen inch twin spoke wheels. Include the standard LED taillights, and optional LED headlights and you have an incredible looking car. All around, the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta GLI has many incredible features for an entry level car. From a roaring engine, to an artfully crafted interior, to a stellar infotainment and sound system, all encompassed in an aggressive and beautiful exterior, the Jetta GLI is a fantastic automobile. Anyone looking in this price range should look no further than “Das Auto.”"

13 people out of 20 found this review helpful

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