High-mpg TDI engine; refined interior; comfortable seating and ride; responsive handling; good maneuverability; versatile interior layout; loading ease compared to utility vehicles
Volkswagen's Jetta Sportwagen models have changed very little into 2012, except for a few minor equipment and trim changes. For 2012, the Sportwagen SE and TDI models are now offered with a sunroof as a separate trim level rather than as an option, and a new top-of-the-line TDI model pairs the sunroof and navigation system. Also, sound systems in SE and TDI trims have been upgraded to include an iPod cable, satellite radio and HD Radio.
Base S and SE versions of the 2012 Jetta Sportwagen come with a 170-horsepower, 2.5L in-line 5-cylinder engine, while the TDI model comes with a 140-horsepower, 2.0L turbo-diesel 4-cylinder. The TDI engine is actually the quicker of the two engines, as it produces much more torque--236 pound-feet, as low as 1,750 rpm. This reduces the need for downshifts and brings a relaxed, yet strong driving experience. Gas mileage is also very good in the TDI--up to an EPA-rated 30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway.
Both engines can be had with a 6-speed manual gearbox, while a conventional 6-speed automatic is available on the gasoline engine and Volkswagen's DSG dual-clutch automatic is offered on the TDI. While either of the automatic options include Tiptronic manual control, the DSG is somewhat quicker-shifting and sportier in feel.
Across the Sportwagen lineup, this model lives up to its name, with an eager, nimble driving experience, including a responsive yet light electromechanical steering system and a fully independent front strut, rear multi-link suspension that's tuned on the firm side, yet with just enough ride comfort to keep passengers content. Four-wheel disc brakes provide solid stopping power, while electronic stability control, an electronic differential lock, and engine braking assist are included, as are front side airbags and side-curtain bags that cover front and rear occupants.
The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is based on the previous, pre-2011 version of the Volkswagen Jetta Sedan, and actually has a nicer, more lavishly trimmed interior than the newer, somewhat cost-cut Jetta Sedan. Most will prefer the interior of the Sportwagen, which has nice cloth upholstery on the base S or leatherette on the SE and TDI models, plus plenty of nice detailing and soft-touch surfaces.
In addition to seating that's supremely comfortable, there's impressive versatility and flexible cargo space in the Sportwagen. Adults will find enough space in front or in back, and the rear seatbacks are split 60/40 and fold forward flat for more space--in addition to the 32.8 cubic feet with the seats up in place. The cargo area also includes a cargo tray just below the main cargo floor, large enough for a laptop or several small items, and the rear hatch opens wide with a very low cargo floor.
Jetta Sportwagen S models come with quite an impressive lot of standard equipment, including Bluetooth hands-free calling, heated front seats, power windows and locks, cruise control, a trip computer and an 8-speaker sound system with auxiliary input. SE models step up to 15-inch alloy wheels, leatherette upholstery, an upgraded multi-function steering wheel and some upgraded trims. TDI models are equipped virtually the same as SE models.
Optional on both the SE and TDI models is a large panoramic sunroof and when packaged with navigation it's paired with 17-inch Porto alloy wheels and keyless start. The navigation system itself has a 5-inch touch screen with 2D and 3D views.
The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is one of relatively few wagon models that make an attempt to be rugged or SUV-like. That means it drives every bit like a Jetta Sedan, and has easier loading and a lower cargo floor than any crossover alternative. The Sportwagen also stands out for its superb ride quality as well as nice handling and maneuverability--with a turning radius of 35.8 feet.
That's all in addition to what truly makes this model special in the market: With the available TDI diesel engine, the Jetta Sportwagen can accelerate strongly, yet gets up to 42 mpg on the highway, without hybrid technology.
Vehicle Price: 20,965.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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