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#6

in 2009 Wagons

Avg. Price Paid: $9,618 - $13,279
Original MSRP: $19,075 - $27,165
MPG: 21 City / 30 Hwy
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2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers find the Jetta SportWagen to be a fine performer. It doesn't have much extra power, but that's not surprising in this category. However, it compensates with better-than-expected handling.

  • "Like its sedan counterpart, the SportWagen delivers a driving experience that is fun, controlled and unmistakably German." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The performance is decent, as the power train gives the car adequate power. But it really stands out for its excellent emissions rating. The handling isn't numb, either." -- CNET
  • "It is a testament to the designers that the SportWagen maintains the sportier-than-thou handling that Volkswagens are known for without sacrificing ride quality." -- Jalopnik

Acceleration and Power

As mentioned earlier, the Jetta SportWagen is lacking in power, but makes up for it with a variety of engine choices. This is especially true for the highly praised diesel engine. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that it gets a frugal 30 mpg city and 41 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 29/40 mpg city/highway with the automatic transmission. The 2.0-liter gets 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway with the manual and 22/29 mpg city/highway with the automatic. Meanwhile, the base 2.5-liter five-cylinder powertrain gets 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with the manual and 20/29 mpg with the automatic.

  • "The inexpensive 2.5-liter five-cylinder models are peppy, but not what we'd call scintillating performers. ... Although more expensive, the 2.0-liter turbo provides terrific performance, yet its fuel economy figures nearly rival those of the lesser 2.5. The 2.0-liter TDI diesel may be the best choice for the Sportwagen, promising good acceleration and terrific fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Driving home from Target with a load of soymilk, toilet paper and the assorted basic needs of a modern life the VW encouraged confidence with enough power available to get me from stoplight to stoplight without worrying I'd find a lead-footed cabbie in the spacious hatch. However, while trying to sprint up a long highway onramp I nearly ran out of room before having to give way to a Compact SUV." -- Jalopnik
  • "The car felt quick up to 40 mph, but that final 20 mph, up to 60 mph, seemed to take a long time." -- CNET
  • "Automatic transmission really puts a damper on the fun-to-drive factor." -- About.com

Handling and Braking

Critics are generally impressed with the ride and handling of the Jetta SportWagen. In a class not renowned for handling dynamics, the SportWagen has even been accused of being fun to drive.

  • "The taut suspension minimizes body roll and lean, yet delivers a compliant ride regardless of road surface." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Handling is very similar to that of the Jetta sedan. The steering feels responsive, but there is body roll in hard cornering and understeer, typical for this class of car. Despite the SportWagen label, this car works best for commuting and hauling. It's sprung more for comfort than sport." -- CNET
  • "It is genuinely fun to toss the SportWagen about and doesn't suffer from a case of the leans in heavy cornering. The steering response is wonderful, providing a level of feedback much higher than you'd expect from a car in this class." -- Jalopnik

Next Steps: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

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