2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Review
Though the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta gets panned for its cheap-feeling interior, the 2012 Jetta SportWagen earns praise for a cabin that’s upscale and practical.
For the 2011 model year, Volkswagen changed the Jetta sedan to make it more affordable. The result was a cabin that was larger, but also felt cheaper. However, VW left the Jetta SportWagen alone – a move most test drivers praise. "Jetta sedan and wagon parted company for the 2011 model year, and we prefer the ‘old-school’ Volkswagen feel of this car to the enlarged and somewhat cheapened sedan,” writes Consumer Guide. “It's also roomy, comes with many laudable safety features, and boasts a high-quality interior.”
Reviewers like the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen for its refined and roomy interior, but they love it for its sporty, German-tuned performance. The SportWagen isn’t some impractical hot hatch, however. It has more cargo space than the GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox small SUVs do. Also, standard leatherette upholstery on all but the base model may seem like a luxury touch, but reviewers say it makes clean-up easy when compared with wagons with cloth seats. Most test drivers also love the optional diesel engine, which gets great highway fuel economy. All in all, reviewers agree that if you want an upscale, practical and engaging wagon, the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen needs to be on your shopping list.
Other Compact Wagons to Consider
The 2012 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is one of the more affordable wagons in the class, but if you want to save even more money, consider the Hyundai Elantra Touring. Though it isn’t as fun to drive as the SportWagen is, the Elantra touring has more standard features, including iPod connectivity and satellite radio. The Elantra Touring’s powertrain warranty is also much longer than the SportWagen’s. It lasts for 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Though smaller in size, the Mini Cooper Clubman is a good option for shoppers who want zippy performance. The Clubman beats the gas-powered Jetta SportWagen’s fuel economy ratings, but keep in mind that it’s also much smaller. Decide if you prefer more space or value great fuel economy and performance before springing for the Clubman.
Details: Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
The 2012 Jetta SportWagen is available in three trims: S, SE and TDI. The TDI trim features a 2.0-liter engine that runs on diesel fuel and has excellent fuel economy ratings. The S and SE trims have a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. An automatic transmission is optional on the S trim, but standard on the SE trim.
- "Any Jetta SportWagen is a Best Buy, but our favorite is the frugal TDI. It boasts fuel economy similar to many gas/electric hybrid cars while being remarkably quiet and fun to drive." -- Consumer Guide
- "With its upscale cabin and sophisticated ride, the Sportwagen looks and feels like a German luxury car." -- Edmunds
- "If a sport utility or crossover is not in with the social crowd you hang out with and you are worried about gas prices, I don't think you can top the diesel-powered Jetta wagon. It would make me think again about the purchase of a hybrid, given the outstanding gas mileage and lack of added complexity in the Jetta." -- MarketWatch